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As the executive of an independent marketing company, I am always on the lookout for ways to save time and get the most for our money. Just to clarify, I am on the bandwagon with social media, have the latest mobile technology, have from day one implemented cloud-based CRM technology and even use the remote meeting service WebEx, however, I still make sure that myself and our sales team make every effort to meet clients in-person from time to time.
In a recent article about event marketing in BtoB, the importance of in-person meetings and events was touched on as being related to event marketing. In the past few years, companies, from event organizers to travel companies, have continued to see decreases in the amount of money that companies are spending in events and travel. With improved technology combined with a tougher economy and increased travel costs, there is most definitely an argument for keeping a grip on travel expenses, however I have to agree with the article that relationships are “easier to build and ultimately stronger when forged in person.” Exchanging that business card, having a conversation at the coffee break and of course a few drinks at sponsor events create an environment that allows one to discuss more than why their widget is so much better than the other thousand widgets out there.
The article also referenced a research case from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration website called, “The Future of Meetings: The Case for Face-to-Face,”, which presents approaches to determining when an investment in large-group, face-to-face meetings and events will have the greatest impact.
According to the study, face-to face is the best approach in the following business situations:
1. To capture attention, particularly when you want to initiate something new or different.
2. To inspire a positive emotional climate, as a way to catalyze collaboration, innovation, and performance.
3. To build human networks and relationships, realizing that information can increasingly be shared virtually whereas the greater value is in people networks and relationships.
While the information has larger events in mind, it is relevant to many areas of business travel and is worth a look.
For our company, we will continue to utilize our entire arsenal to reach our partners and potential clients. Travel and face-to-face meetings are an integral part of our strategy and we will continue to sponsor events such as Portada’s Latin American Advertising and Media Summit.