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Field Day brings marketing to streets for franchises


Plenty of Field Day’s on-the-ground marketers are young college kids, ready to spread their enthusiasm. The brand has also found interest among diverse groups of people, including stay-at-home moms.

It’s never been easier to drown while surrounded by life rafts. This isn’t the plot of some grim Titanic remake, but an assessment of the countless marketing options for franchisees. With more available PR channels and tools than ever, this plethora of choices hasn’t made it any less daunting to market a location that could use more eyeballs. A new company has added yet another choice to the small-business marketing catalogue, but is doing it with boots-on-the-ground efforts from young, high-energy gig-economy workers.

With pricing far below most marketing campaigns or ad buys, Field Day can deploy a single person or a phalanx of energetic marketers to canvas events, visit other businesses in the area and do any other form of in-person PR to build foot traffic, create buzz ahead of a grand opening or tell a local customer base about new products or offerings. Avoiding the “we’re the Uber of…” crutch, Field Day CEO Alex Nocifera said this fresh-faced approach is the culmination of his 15-year career working with massive brands from Panera Bread to Walmart.

“I’ve fallen in love with what we’re trying to disrupt,” he said. “If you’re a brand trying to get your message out there, it’s really hard to tell a story these days.”

Using the example of a Panera in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, Nocifera said with at least 25 companies in a three-block radius with a high propensity to order food, this would be a prime opportunity for that location to build catering sales within walking distance.

Estimating that there are 10,000 employees in the immediate vicinity, Nocifera hypothetically asked what’s the power of walking in the door of these firms and handing them a stack of coupons or an offer tailored for their employees. In the old days, of course, this was called canvassing—and this old fashioned idea is seeing a rebirth in this era of hyper-connected anonymity.

“It’s the oldest form of advertising,” Nocifera said. “We are really a very funky, unique amalgamation of data enterprise software, the cloud and then good old grassroots marketing.”

In the years since the company’s founding in 2015, Field Day found that its gig workers stick around longer and are happier employees with even more flexible working hours. Employees are free to carry out the work at a time of their choosing—within reason, of course. On the client side of the equation, Nocifera and his team have found fruitful fields in the franchising space.

On-the-ground awareness

In the southwest suburbs of Kansas City, multi-unit Schlotzsky’s and Cinnabon franchisee Bart Hastert is enthusiastic about the results he’s seen from Field Day, especially in juicing the community ahead of his newest location opened down the road in Olathe.

Beyond that recent grand opening, which was a success that outperformed other openings he’s done, Hastert also used Field Day staffers to specifically promote catering, an area of growth for Schlotzsky’s as a whole.

The brand’s director of off-premises operations, Brenda Thibodeaux, said shifts in consumer behavior are encouraging more companies to cater meals and snacks for employees, which Schlotzsky’s is encouraging with a big focus on growing the off-premises side of the business.

Spending just $1,000 for a three-day Field Day event, Hastert said the service “almost seemed too inexpensive for what they were promising,” and he was delighted that the results matched that first impression.

“You could look online to see what the plan is, where their person is going, where they went, contact names and follow-up names,” he said on what he received after the three-day stint. With that information, he could pick up the rest by following up with those contacts and, in best-case scenarios, converting them to catering contracts.

For franchisees considering a similar project, Hastert urged them to be sure they’re ready for the onslaught that he’s seen from multiple gig-based promotions in different markets.

Schlotzsky’s corporate has also been pleased with the results, but Thibodeaux said the brand isn’t mandating Field Day to its franchisees. Instead, it’s opting for a lighter approach of letting franchise owners know the service is available should they want it.

“We really want to make sure it’s customized,” she said. “Our field marketing managers have really been driving this, and Field Day’s given them the tools to support additional market awareness for our franchisees … and it’s different for them to talk with and to offer the franchisees other than print or e-blasts or social media and digital.”

Nothing against print, I’m sure.

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