Are you still relying on face-to-face marketing or are you totally caught in the virtual web?

While the debate rages on regarding which is the most effective, a lot of us in marketing continue to work at helping our clients strike a balance between the two avenues, both of which are effective routes to achieving sales goals.

Whenever the next new thing arrives in the business world, there’s invariably a tendency to toss the baby out with the bathwater, but often people come to realize that integration and partnership between the old and the new is the best approach. This is especially true with such powerful approaches as personal interaction on the one hand and the unlimited possibilities of virtual communication.


The strength of face-to-face, in-person communication can be most successful in forming the initial bond, establishing trust, maneuvering through complex negotiations and driving a decision. This is why a study by Meeting Professionals International (MPI) found that in-person meetings converted 40% of prospects to customers and saved 28% of established business from being lost. A Forbes survey in 2009 found that face-to-face meetings with clients and prospects were overwhelmingly preferred over virtual meetings for persuasion (91%), engagement (86%) and decision-making (82%).


Yeah, yeah, that’s all understandable, but you still can’t beat the flexibility, time- and cost-savings of virtual marketing. You can drag the pool of prospects at any time of day or night, lure them to your website, educate them on the basics and maintain a continuing presence in their virtual life for very few shekels. The yield may be lower, but it’s cheap.

The two approaches should be complementary, not competing. Let each one shine at what they do best. Let the live person engage with charm, tailor solutions in response to feedback, foster trust, form a professional bond, process feedback, inspire, etc. and use the virtual events, the web and social media to maintain visibility, announce new products, keep a dialog going, reach far-flung markets, provide a reservoir of reference data, etc. all while you’re asleep in your comfy bed or playing Angry Birds. The two make great partners.

And now a word from our sponsor

It’s interesting to note how well these two valuable approaches converge in the tradeshow and event world. By bringing together a group of targeted prospects through print and virtual communications, the expense of time- and labor-intensive face-to-face marketing is substantially reduced and the business-to-client contact is extended for months — the best of both worlds at 1/3 to 1/2 of the cost. Yay.