accreditation.jpgThe UK has seen a rapid economic downturn in 2008, with things looking even bleaker in 2009, as a result of the ongoing credit crunch that is negatively impacting customer confidence. Retail footfall is starting to rapidly diminish, consumer confidence has slumped to levels not seen in nearly 20 years and the disposable income of households has dropped dramatically.

Whilst this paints a less than positive picture for retailers and manufacturers, IMS believe that they have the knowledge and expertise to help both at the point of purchase. This is because IMS remain at the forefront of the field marketing industry when it comes to providing intelligent solutions that drive sales, improve customer satisfaction and ultimately maximise return on investment.

As proof of this IMS are the first agency in the UK to receive the DMA Field Marketing Best Practice Accreditation. They are also the winners of the 2007 award for ‘Most Innovative application of Data/IT’ at the Field Marketing Awards. These achievements are testament to IMS’ high quality operation and service provision.

IMS have witnessed a rising upturn in business enquiries over the past six months, despite the fact that tough economic trading conditions on the High Street have begun to bite. This is as a direct result of clients turning to marketing campaigns that can offer a clear and definable return on investment. This is where field marketing stands out over other marketing activities.

During times where consumer confidence is low and they are forced to be more economical with their in-store purchases, effective field marketing at the point of purchase is absolutely essential. Retailers can utilise mystery shopping to continually improve customer service levels and identify potential training requirements in either retail outlets, call centres or even online through ongoing mystery shopping evaluation.

“Retailers should ensure that they build engaging and long lasting relationships with their customer,” says IMS Sales and Marketing Director Laura Holden. “When disposable income is low customers will be more selective when it comes to choosing where they make their purchases. If a retailer has excellent customer service levels then they will subsequently improve their base of loyal customers, so will benefit from increases in repeat business.”

For manufacturers, field marketing drives brand awareness and sales by using effective auditing, merchandising and POS placement. As a Best Practice field marketing agency IMS are primarily concerned with enhancing the performance of manufacturing clients at the point of purchase. The importance of this can not be emphasised enough, especially taking into account that 70% of purchasing decisions are made at the point of purchase. Add to this the current economic climate and without field marketing support companies will suffer a negative impact on sales.

“For manufacturers, improving their on-shelf availability with merchandising and POS placement support will benefit them in two ways. Firstly, it will result in their products having maximum visibility on-shelf. Products will be even more prominent and have a higher risk of sale if they are supported by promotional POS material and are merchandised effectively. Secondly, it may lead to consumers switching to the manufacturer’s product if they are unable to find their usual brand due to competitors not using effective field marketing support,” states Laura Holden.

When manufacturing clients work together with IMS and provide sales data (such as EPOS) for analysis, IMS can then provide ROI models that demonstrate to clients how effective (and thus justifiable) their budget has been.

“In a jittery marketplace, where under-pressure budgets are being further squeezed, field marketing should be viewed as essential due to its unique ability to prove a high return on investment, and assess sales against spend,” says IMS Commercial Marketing Manager Richard Ford.

IMS believe that investment in field marketing by both retailer and manufacturers will continue to increase – possibly to unprecedented levels as the credit crunch looks set to continue into 2009 – at the expense of other marketing disciplines and vehicles which are unable to justify a budget with the same accuracy, or to the same levels.

Among the decision-makers, the buzz word has changed noticeably in recent months from ‘awareness’ to ‘sales’. This tipping of the balance clearly plays to the strengths of the innovators in field marketing who excel at ensuring every pound of client spend goes as far as possible – achieving returns on investment as high as 20:1 in some cases.

IMS are eager to speak with organisations in both retail and manufacturing in order to demonstrate how they can maximise their sales at the point of purchase during these uncertain times.

To contact IMS to find out more about how field marketing can help your business, please contact us on 0870 701 0866 or at

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