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The Value of Face-to-Face Marketing in a Virtual Age

by Rob Murphy  |  
September 20, 2011

In this article, you'll learn...

  • The benefits of face-to-face and virtual marketing
  • How to combine face-to-face and virtual efforts to maximize results
  • Effective strategies to apply before, during, and after tradeshows

The popularity of communicating virtually—whether via email, instant messaging, LinkedIn, Twitter, or other social media channels—has had a significant impact on the speed at which information can be obtained.

Virtual communication has also led some marketers to question the role face-to-face communications can play in building a brand.

However, the need for face-to-face interaction has never been more important. According to a report from Meeting Professionals International (MPI), 40% of prospects converted to new customers via face-to-face meetings, and 28% of current business would be lost without face-to-face meetings.

The reality is that both face-to-face and virtual marketing are essential components to any company's communications strategy. Here are some benefits of both approaches, plus an example of how they can be combined to maximize return on investment.

Making the Case for Face-to-Face

Whether considering a tradeshow, proprietary event, or a mobile tour, face-to-face interactions provide significant business benefits. At its core, face-to-face engagement creates a personal connection and builds trust between a company and its target audience. Giving a warm handshake, carrying an engaging conversation, and getting to know customers and prospects on an individual level can help form stronger, more meaningful, and more profitable business relationships.

Several research studies support that point. For example, in a 2009 EventView study of senior executives in sales and marketing, 62% chose event marketing as the discipline that best accelerates and deepens relationships.

Face-to-face meetings are also more conducive to achieving certain business objectives. According to a 2009 Forbes Insights survey of 760 business executives, face-to-face meetings were preferred in cases that have a fluid decision-making process, requiring the give-and-take typically needed for complex decisions and sales. Among the business attributes and outcomes, face-to-face interaction was most critical for persuasion (91%), decision-making (82%), and candor (78%), the study found.

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Rob Murphy is the chief marketing officer of MC2, a global exhibit and event marketing company. Check out the eConnections Digest blog and find MC2 on Twitter (@MC2experience_ and @MC2_FastTrak) and Facebook.

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  • by Doug Hartley Tue Sep 20, 2011 via web

    Very glad to read this article and agree that both face to face and virtual marketing is needed. I wonder how the statistics in this artice would be if a similar study was made in Asian markets. My guess is that face to face effectiveness would be higher. Anyone know of any studies or have observations

  • by greg flakus Tue Sep 20, 2011 via web

    Great article, in light of the finding today that said 31 percent prefer texting.

  • by PrasantaShee Wed Dec 27, 2017 via web

    Face to Face meetings are good. However, not always feasible. To communicate with overseas clients and business partners, web video conferencing or virtual meetings is a very effective medium. Tools like R-HUB HD video conferencing servers, WebEx, GoMeetNow, gotomeeting etc. are used for the same.

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