Face-to-face marketing is certainly not dead, and it is certainly something that all marketers should keep in their marketing arsenal. It is all about connections and places marketers and their service offerings directly in front of targeted audiences through informational events structured around their interests. There is nothing like interacting with potential customers through face-to-face marketing when trial is crucial to a sale. Face-to-face marketing can be used in a variety of ways to meet a variety of objectives however, its essence is interaction and without creating a sense of theatre, interest or incentive to respond, it will not succeed.
At its core, face-to-face engagement creates a personal connection and builds trust between a company and its target audience. A warm handshake, engaging conversation and getting to know customers and prospects on an individual level can play an important role in forming stronger, more meaningful and profitable business relationships.
Face-to-face marketing has evolved over time and it is now the number one business-to-business marketing medium. The business world has been radically changed and improved upon by the advent of electronic communication. E-mail, websites, blogs, PDAs, and cell phones allow efficient servicing of customers. This trend allows fewer client support personnel to serve more clients easier and faster.
Another reason why face-to-face marketing is still relevant is because of the opportunity to see firsthand, the offerings of various suppliers. Through this medium, a buyer can get an up-to-the-minute overview and detailed information needed within a brief period, for instance at an event from a seller’s perspective, if they are at the right event, they have the opportunity to efficiently expose their offering to a very high percentage of the prospects in that segment.
The best use of face-to-face marketing is for product testing and trial, provision of specific and timely information, marketing in the specific vicinity of activity or to generate response through the web. Face-to-face marketing can be very rewarding if it is well targeted, positioned and offers the consumer a reason to interact and respond.
In a recession, this activity can be very cost effective. It is historically very difficult to get people to trial purchase a product. If you can give them a sample of your product then they are likely to make that trial. However, once they have tried it you need to give them a reason to purchase: maybe a voucher or competition. Another great beneficiary of face-to-face marketing can be the internet. It is an inexpensive way of generating traffic to a website as long as incentives are used.
Marketing and selling to customers should be fast, easy, convenient and satisfying. Keep your customers happy, listen to them and keep yourself updated on what they really think about your products and services.
In a time-poor world, customers are increasingly fed up with companies that waste time, make them wait, keep them on hold, make them stand in line, etc. Premium customers expect instant service, rapid help, total commitment, expert advice and 100% delivery on promises.
The future is about personal relevance, information and revelation as you become a consumer’s guide along their journey of life
In order to make face-to-face marketing work, here are some steps:
The Plan: Have a well-defined plan of what you want to do, what you want customers to get from their experience, and how you will deliver. A good plan underpins everything.
Pick the right opportunities: The right show or event will make all the difference. Start by asking your current customers what shows or events they go to and why.
Have a great presence: The right trade-show booth or graphics help customers understand who you are, what you do and why they should care. A great presence also includes having the right people work the event.
Follow up and evaluate: Manage and measure your results. A good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is essential. A plan for fast follow-up on leads and inquiries is vital.
Have a good partner: A good plan poorly executed is no plan at all. Find a good partner that can help with all the thousand little details that face-to-face marketing presents.