For marketers and advertising agencies, living in a digital age has made life easier. No cutting and pasting boards for client presentations. No waiting for the overnight package or courier with changes from the client, or to send out for film (yes, that used to be done!). No driving or flying to meet with clients for strategy sessions or presentations. Digital files, email, phone and video conferencing have all but replaced these. Yet, there are still benefits to meeting with clients in person. Below we discuss common ways to interact with clients or customers and why they can be so helpful.
Event Marketing and Trade Shows
There was a time when critics predicted that trade shows would soon be extinct. However, a recent survey shows that the majority (80%) of marketers believe live events are critical to their company’s success. Plus, an overwhelming majority of C-Suite executives (87%) believe in the power of live events and plan on investing in them more in the future. Events give buyers and potential clients something they can’t get anywhere else: personal, hands-on experiences for learning and discovery. Exhibitors get the unique opportunity to stand in front of a customer or potential customer with their undivided attention and deliver their message to someone who is eager to hear it.
Face-To-Face Client Meetings
Hiding behind one’s phone or other technology is not uncommon these days. There are many people in business life as well as personal life who would rather text, email or leave a voicemail. However, having an in-person meeting with a client or potential client can be invaluable. Let’s face it, marketing is a people business. There is no substitute for a direct meeting to get to know someone and to help build a positive relationship with them. Face-to-face you can better capture people’s attention, engage them in the conversation, discuss things more in-depth, and get feedback immediately. Productive collaboration happens best when you’re in the same room. When pitching business, you are twice as likely to move a prospect into a customer in-person. We all know it’s much easier to say no in an email or over the phone. Plus, back and forth discussion and negotiation is faster and easier - allowing you to get to yes, faster and easier.
Inviting clients to events is a great way to continue to get to know them in a more casual environment and show your appreciation for their business. Just like business meetings, client events strengthen relationships and build trust. These events should be fun and energizing, and they should definitely not be about business. No sales pitches or shop talk that takes over the conversation - especially when there are a number of different clients attending. They can, however, open up new opportunities in the future from introductions or more business from current clients.
Snyder Group recently held our own client event, a Fall Fiesta cocktail hour at our offices. We’ve held this event for several years each fall and it’s a great opportunity for us to bring together client’s from various industries, from manufacturing to municipalities, who we provide marketing services for business to business and business to consumer. In addition to good food and beverages on our porch (with a great view of the Norwalk river), we usually include some form of activity or entertainment to break the ice and get people involved, such as an origami/paper cutter, play-with-your food artist, wandering musicians and photo booth.
Workdays at a marketing agency are busy. To drop things and visit a client, or take a few days to attend a trade show, or take time off to plan and execute a client event can seem like a waste of valuable time. Yet, as we’ve seen, there’s no substitute for person-to-person human interaction, on a personal level and in business.