Field Day Leverages an Uber-Style, Human-to-Human Marketplace for Local Marketing

Field Day is a Street Fight Thought Leader.

When Alex Nocifera started Field Day in 2015 as Local ID, the startup was focused on collecting data about local markets and streamlining it into corporate-ready insights to help multi-location brands optimize franchise marketing and operations.

Local ID would pull information from Weather.com, InfoGroup, and similar sources to help corporate localize franchise strategy based on location-specific factors such as weather, events such as political marches, and seasonal opportunities like back-to-school.

Field Day could have stopped there. Local marketing is infamously time-consuming in an otherwise real-time, data-driven world, opening up a major opportunity for data companies able to provide actionable local insights at scale.

But Field Day’s early days coincided with exciting times for the gig economy. Uber — where the company’s current COO, Jim Hustead, hails from — and Lyft were taking off. TaskRabbit, DoorDash, and others were replicating the model in other verticals. Surveying the on-demand market, Nocifera, Field Day’s founder and CEO, had a hunch about leveraging the energy of Uber-style marketplaces to not only provide multi-location brands insights about local markets but also help brands conquer them — with the help of the locals who knew the markets best.

“The gig economy was starting to take off, but there was no one doing last mile marketing in this programmatic way,” Nocifera said. “Brands don’t have the bodies … we supplemented with Field Day ambassadors.”

What Field Day does

An Uber for local marketing, Field Day connects brands, including current clients Panera Bread, Blaze Pizza, Equinox, and about 50 others, with “brand ambassadors”: locals who speak to the brands’ targets in their home neighborhoods in order to increase awareness and drive adoption.

In the pre-Covid world, Field Day’s brand ambassadorship mostly took the form of canvassing. For example, an Equinox ambassador might go door to door, speaking to their neighbors in New York about signing up for the gym. The model provides flexible work for ambassadors and savvy sales reps, as opposed to robocalls or outsourced workers halfway around the world, for brands.

“We have lots of moms, lots of students,” Nocifera said. “You make $20/hour where you take a message to the streets for a brand, and at the same time, the brand is now getting a face and a human to take their story directly to their targets.”

Covid tested the Field Day model, forcing the startup to rethink how it would build local connections without the possibility of the face-to-face conversations on which it had previously staked its brand. Ultimately, the company transitioned from focusing on in-person canvassing to phone calls. After a serious setback in the early Covid days, it is now doing more business than before the pandemic.

H2H marketing

Call it H2H marketing — a human-to-human approach in a marketing sector increasingly dominated by automated text messages and template emails. Field Day claims H2H is making the difference for its clients’ outreach efforts.

Nine out of ten phone calls by Field Day brand ambassadors result in a conversation of 30 seconds or more, Nocifera said, and five out of ten lead to the ambassador getting the target’s email address.

Then, the marketing technology end of the company kicks in. Field Day sends an automated message on the brand’s behalf and imports the target’s information into the brand’s customer relationship management system. That allows the client to assess which ambassadors, and what approaches with what kind of customers in what areas, are generating results. It also equips brands to measure the lifetime value of customers recruited by ambassadors, a proof point for Field Day’s value-add.

Nocifera stressed the distinctiveness of the local, human-to-human nature of the marketing Field Day powers.

“This isn’t an impression,” he said. “Someone’s having a 30-second-or-more conversation … based on local, based on empathy, and based on human-to-human outreach.”

Recent and future endeavors

Lately, Field Day has been tackling the labor shortage by empowering brands to run recruitment campaigns. For example, an ambassador might attend a high-density event such as a concert or soccer game where she will hand out flyers advertising employment opportunities at the company.

Another initiative, Sensorial, is emphasizing the tactile magic of the post-vaccine period, when in-person marketing can foster experiences again. Executing campaigns for brands such as Smoothie King, Field Day will provide samples to targets responsive to its brand ambassadors.

Today, Field Day, based in Venice, California, has about 30 employees and 3,000 brand ambassadors. Its executive team, led by Nocifera, who previously founded two venture-backed companies, also includes former Uber, Starbucks, and Kitchen United players.

For now, the company is pairing the energy and uniquely human capabilities of gig economy marketplaces with the insights of local marketing data. But other revenue streams, such as a predictive analytics engine driven by the learnings of thousands of local marketing campaigns, could power Field Day’s future.

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Joe Zappa is the Managing Editor of Street Fight. He has spearheaded the newsroom's editorial operations since 2018 and compiled the daily newsletter since 2016. Joe is a journalist who has written widely about technology, business, and politics. You can contact him at jzappa@streetfightmag.com.