There is a myth that face to face marketing is retiring and we are moving on to bigger and better things. Face to face marketing includes everything from live events, seminars, outdoor events, trade shows, and conferences. The younger group, known as generation Y , or those born between the 80’s and early 90’s, highly depend on technology for not only work but personal relationships as well. The rise in people’s need for technology to function has led others to believe that meeting with clients for face to face marketing is not necessary anymore and has become a fossilized tactic. So what is the point in wasting money to meet with clients if it is an outdated tactic?
The point is that meeting face to face is absolutely effective and vital to building strong relationships with clients, or anyone for that matter. People who are wrapped up in the virtual world still have a strong desire for personal relationships, which is what they try to falsely attain through technology. All relationships are the same, whether it be a business related relationship or a personal relationship, they all need to make that face to face connection. By using technology you almost lose that relationship, the more people see someone the less likely they are to treat them poorly. So, this goes both ways, each individual who is engaging in face to face interaction will mutually treat one another better, which leads to better business. People have bought into this myth that face to face interaction is no longer important and have begun adapting to technological alternatives. But, face to face marketing has and always will be effective; it is a strategy that best fits our descending economic status.
A study released by UCLA stated that an astounding 93 percent of communication effectiveness is determined by non-verbal cues. This means that if you are communicating via e-mail, texting, etc. you are losing 93 percent of your intended message because it is not as effective on the target. Somewhere within this 93 percent of nonverbal communication it is a good idea to take advantage of eye contact. Making eye contact with someone, especially when relating to business, is important in the sense that it shows honesty and credibility. The more eye contact you have with someone, the more they are willing to trust you. Companies certainly want to do business with someone they feel are trustworthy, most notably during difficult times. Face to face marketing needs to have little promotional content and a lot more useful information so that the customers walk away knowing a lot more about whom you are and what you do rather than how much something costs. You need to take it back down to the basics, because people do not want to be wooed into buying something. One of two things will happen if you spend all of your time exuding promotional content, either they will become defensive and in return ignore anything you have to say, or walk away with something that they will later regret buying. Neither of these scenarios can benefit your business long-term.
All of this information is relevant to the trade show industry in that they are not dying out as some may think. Trade shows are notorious for their face to face marketing strategy, which is true but exhibitors can be inventive in how they utilize this strategy. Trade shows are generally a way for exhibitors to get to know some current or potential clients. Trade shows are also a great way to show off new products. Or if you offer services then your clients absolutely want to know who they are working with. Putting a face with a name is always a positive. This is backed up by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, who pronounces that 76 percent of attendees at a trade show rate face to face interaction with potential vendors and suppliers as extremely important in performing their job. As well as, 86 percent of exhibitors at trade shows who rate face to face marketing as being very important.
But there are some disadvantages to face to face marketing that come as a package deal with today’s harsh economy. Fuel prices are rising, cutting into traveling funds, and people are working longer and harder to keep businesses afloat. But, the economy does not have to get the best of anyone; companies can have great turn outs at a trade show, or any event, without having an enormous amount of individuals actually at the show. If you do have an enormous amount of attendees that’s great, but if not, your event can still be successful through word-of-mouth. Even if a company extends invitations to an event to any number of individuals, then all who received an invite will acknowledge your credibility and expertise. This lets others know that you are willing and ready to get out there and talk face to face about what you have to offer. First hand experience of a product awards knowledge and understanding of your company and how it works. Even if a few individuals attend your show and you present your material in a memorable manner, they will tell another person about your show and you can potentially generate an entire line of business. According to recent research, done by Jack Morton Worldwide, people exposed to live marketing on average tell 17 others about their experience. So, if you can get your message across to 5 individuals who find your show interesting you potentially have gained an actual 85 people who are interested in your company and what you do.
Society’s need for technology can be turned into a constructive characteristic for face to face marketing, but particularly for trade shows. People are using “virtual worlds” or social media more and more everyday. There are numerous amounts of social media programs which you can use to your advantage. Since these technologies have made their stamp in our society, why not work with it? Social media marketing can be tied into your face to face marketing as well. If you encourage attendees to visit your company’s twitter account, facebook account, etc., they will recognize that you are up to speed with current trends and still value that face to face connection at the same time. Customers like to have options, and giving them the option of using a virtual world or a face to face meeting is a great strategy. Social media is not too far fetched from face to face communication as emails and such tend to be. Social media still allows for your client to see exactly what is going on, you can post videos, or have live feed on your website of your booth at the show. You are also able to instant message chat on some social media programs, which still gives you, as the exhibitor, the opportunity to answer any questions someone may have instantaneously.
President and CEO of Apple Rock Displays, Eric Burg, says, “In tough times you have to been seen as a trusted business partner,’ he also says that “it’s been proven through studies and research that cutting back during a bad economy quadruples the effect of a downslide. You become nonvisible.” Apple Rock Displays has done everything in its power to stay visible and they are charging on full force. Apple Rock offers event exhibits, trade show displays, permanent environments, and has been in the business for 21 years. They have managed to keep Eric Burg’s strategy in play throughout their years, which is to recognize the importance of face to face marketing. Face to face interaction has fueled Apple Rock’s credibility and trustworthiness.
Businesses need to stay up to speed with today’s technologies, but keep old values at the same time. Face to face marketing values interpersonal relationships and gives your client the trust they crave. It is time to get inventive and think of current ways to keep individuals engaged during a face to face interaction. Attention spans are short and if you can show the client, in the short amount of time you have captured someone’s attention that you are trustworthy and all about business then you have achieved success. Face to face marketing has come full circle; it was out and has now been shoved back in by the economy. This time around companies may realize how highly beneficial face to face marketing is for business.