Last Word: High standards are the main route to success

Field Marketing Council chair Alison Williams says delivering quality work to clients is vital if the industry's stature is to continue growing.

The Field Marketing Council, part of the DMA, is the industry body that is striving to develop, maintain and raise the status of the field marketing (FM) industry. The main objectives are to raise the standards of practitioners and increase the awareness, understanding and acceptance of FM in the direct marketing (DM) arena.

This year we have changed the approach somewhat, and the FMC committee now operates within two separate working parties. These are made up of committed field marketers from many different companies who want to see the industry grow and gain in stature.

In light of so many newcomers to the industry, many rising out of agencies with different main skill sets, there is a danger that the standards of work in FM will fall. This means there must be a focus on recruiting members, driving through best practice and industry standards and ensuring adherence to these. This is the best route we have to protect clients by managing their expectations and delivering quality of work.

One of the results of FM not being recognised (or understood) by academics, and not being taught in universities, is that the understanding of what and how to achieve good quality FM is unclear to potential recruits to the industry as well as clients. To this end we are very pleased to be part of the MSSSB (Marketing and Sales Standards Setting Body) initiative whereby the standards for good FM are being defined - then NVQs will become available in field marketing, making a route to qualify field marketers.

This will also mean that people working in FM can be assessed by a fixed standard, and their careers mapped more easily.

We plan a conference this year, and will support other industry events, while our PR committee will be striving to promote the FMC and FM and how they relate to the DM industry. We wish to see awards that will reflect the high standards of achievement in both experiential and strategic work so that the best pieces of work rise to the top and gain recognition.

Communication with our members is crucial, so that they are informed and aware of the issues affecting them and the industry, including employment law, compliance, best practice, codes of conduct and more.

It will be a busy year, and we all hope fruitful and productive. We would like to see yet more growth in FM and a wider recognition of a DM that offers so much to the clients and their consumers.

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