Embracing AI: Transforming Field Marketing In Retail

At CROSSMARK we’ve always prided ourselves on rapid adoption and implementation of new technology so we’re excited to share our plans on leveraging the ongoing revolution in AI.

In the fast-paced world of consumer retail, staying ahead of the competition has always required more than just good people, an eye for detail and a passion for service (although those are still pretty fundamental).  It also requires the ability to leverage the best of the current day's technology. I’ve been in the industry long enough to see developments like smartphones and 3g, then 4g now 5g internet coverage revolutionise how things are done in store by retail reps.   No more sending out large paper based audit forms for people to fill in (yes, I am that old), send back and then get manually data entered……..Unilever Laundry Audits!  At least three people out there will read that and groan with recognition…

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll know that there’s only one major technology talking point at the moment, artificial intelligence (AI).  Depending on where you get your news, opinions range from AI will bring on a technological golden age revolutionising everything to all our benefit or lead to the wholesale destruction of the human race in a way not dissimilar to the Terminator franchise…..or something in between.

At CROSSMARK we’ve always prided ourselves on rapid adoption and implementation of new technology so we’re excited to share our plans on leveraging the ongoing revolution in AI.  While fully autonomous robots may be a way off, we believe there are numerous ways to use this new technology to enhance our field marketing services and deliver unparalleled value to our clients.


AI in Retail: A Game-Changer

Artificial intelligence is no longer a futuristic concept; it’s a present-day reality transforming industries across the board, and retail is no exception. From personalised shopping experiences to inventory management,  checkouts that recognise and scan products in your trolley to product recommendation engines, AI is already making waves. But how exactly is it reshaping field marketing?


Revolutionising Reporting and Analysis

One of the most significant ways AI is already impacting our business is through the transformation of our reporting platforms. Gone are the days of laborious data entry, delayed reporting or reliance on the business intelligence team to pull and analyse the data.  With AI integration into our reporting platform, users can get summaries of field activities and query the data in any way they want, not limited to the structured questions and data.  This won’t only make getting reports quicker but also make them more personalised and insightful.

 Imagine this: your sales team just finished a day in the field, and by the time they’re back, you already have a detailed report highlighting key activities, performance metrics and even recommendations for improvements, all without any human intervention. That’s the power of AI at work; making data work for you, not the other way around.


Our AI-powered reporting platforms aim to streamline the entire process, from data collection to analysis. Here’s how;


Real-Time Analysis & Personalised Reports

 Once the data is collected, AI can analyse it in real-time. Not only do you get the results in real time but you are able to interrogate them in real time as well. You can type and get an instant response to questions like: ‘How did my activity go this week?’  ‘What worked better / worse than last time’ ‘ what are the areas I need to focus on to improve my compliance in store?’ ‘ what are the key reasons for non-compliance in this store / retailer / channel?’ Reporting how you want it, when you want it, assessable online through any device.


Harnessing the Data Lake

Across our business and that of our clients we’ve been sitting on a treasure trove of data, a vast data lake teeming with information on retail outlets, compliance patterns, display info,  sales patterns, and consumer behavior. With AI, we can now dive into this data lake and extract valuable insights faster and more accurately than ever before. Whether it’s benchmarking current activities against previous campaigns, similar work in the same categories, or even specific stores and geographies, AI does it all with a click of a button.


Here’s a closer look at some of the ways that we currently harness our data lake and plans for the future:


  • Data Integration:  Our AI systems integrate data from various sources, including point-of-sale systems, CRM platforms, and market research reports. This comprehensive integration ensures that we have a holistic view of the market and our clients’ performance.

  • Advanced Benchmarking: AI allows us to benchmark activities against a wide range of criteria. For example, we can compare a client’s current sales figures with their historical performance, similar campaigns in the same category, or even industry averages. This advanced benchmarking provides context and helps identify areas for improvement.

  • Predictive Analytics: Our AI tools use predictive analytics to forecast future trends and performance. By analysing historical data and identifying patterns, we can predict future sales trends, customer behaviour, and market shifts. This foresight enables our clients to stay ahead of the curve and make proactive decisions.

  • Anomaly Detection: AI excels at detecting anomalies and outliers in data. If there’s a sudden drop in sales or an unexpected spike in returns, our AI systems will flag these anomalies and alert our team. This early warning system allows us to investigate and address issues before they become significant problems.

  • Sentiment Analysis: By analysing customer feedback and reviews, our AI tools can gauge customer sentiment towards products and brands. This sentiment analysis helps us understand customer preferences and identify potential areas for improvement.


Quality Control on Steroids

Identifying trends and issues before they escalate is crucial in maintaining the highest standards of service. AI allows us to monitor and analyse quality control processes in real time. Spotting patterns that might indicate potential problems or areas for improvement becomes a breeze. Think of AI as an ever-vigilant watchdog, ensuring that we consistently deliver top-notch results.


Smarter Decision-Making

AI’s ability to analyse compliance and retail data alongside sales and distribution figures means we can make smarter, more informed decisions. It’s like having a crystal ball that helps us determine where and when to visit stores and what actions to take to maximise return on investment (ROI). By leveraging AI, we ensure that every field visit is strategically planned to drive the best outcomes for our clients.


Geographical and Demographic Insights

The future of AI in field marketing looks even brighter. We are working towards integrating geographical and demographic information into our AI models. This will enable us to tailor our strategies even more precisely, ensuring that our activities resonate with the right audience in the right location. It’s all about driving sales and awareness in the most efficient way possible.

At CROSSMARK we’re harnessing similar AI-driven strategies to revolutionise field marketing. By staying at the forefront of technological advancements, we’re not just keeping up with the industry; we’re setting new standards.

We believe that Artificial intelligence will transform the landscape of field marketing, and at CROSSMARK we aim to be leading the charge. By integrating AI into our day to day operations, we’re delivering faster, smarter, and more effective services to our clients. The future is bright, and with AI by our side, we’re ready to tackle any challenge and seize every opportunity.


So, here’s to the future of field marketing—powered by AI, driven by innovation, and focused on results. Cheers to smarter decisions, better insights, increased sales and happy clients!