By Jonathan Dolding, Head of Marketing & Events, Let’s Do Business Group
Despite economic trials and the emergence of new media, the value of face-to-face marketing endures. Just look at some of the opportunities on offer across Sussex – business breakfasts, lunch clubs, sporting occasions and exhibitions to name but a few.
In today’s modern age of technology, businesses have been able to utilise a multitude of new communication channels but the value of face to face communication cannot be underestimated, given that many of the county’s networking events attract dozens if not hundreds of business people.
Whilst harnessing technology and new media is fundamental in effectively reaching their markets, businesses must also plot and plan which face-to-face channels offer the best return. Last week I was witness to a Bcc faux pas, where 471 email addresses were displayed in the Cc field and the sender sung his own praises about the services he offered. What followed was dozens of reply all emails with boasts, counter boasts and the odd opportunity to buy a surf board and cast iron fire grate. It was all light-hearted in the end. What was missing from the string of emails was credibility and the opportunity to build personal relationships – though someone did suggest a picnic with spam sandwiches.
As an exhibition organiser, I would of course say that exhibitions offer a competitive advantage over alternative face-to-face options, as they give like-minded people the chance to meet with their peers, share knowledge, discuss new ideas and build credibility in person, creating a forum where buyers can see, feel, touch, taste and present their products and services.
With the rise in more impersonal marketing channels and social media approaches, exhibitions become more important than ever as human interaction is what exhibitions deliver more cost effectively than any other promotional channel.
If used properly and planned well, exhibitions are a powerful medium because they target an audience in one convenient place. They offer exhibitors the chance to influence motivated buyers and time-deprived decision makers who are often seeking immediate solutions to their business challenges.