In the digital age which we find ourselves in it’s very easy to get the feeling everything can be done via email, phone-call or over a GoToMeeting or Skype call. You’ll see a lot of content on this blog about the virtues of Marketing Automation and Personalisation. When these tools are used correctly you can give potential customers and clients a highly personalised experience. When you use Social Selling correctly your client will feel like they’re buying from a person rather than a faceless business. But does all of this completely replace face-to-face meetings?
The answer is simply that it shouldn’t. There is no better way to get a feel for a client or customer’s motivation, character and enthusiasm than in a face to face meeting. For many businesses this may not be viable but equally for many, especially B2B, this has until recently been a completely necessary part of working out a deal or closing a sale. Naturally there are downsides to face to face meetings, they take more time and will often require you to travel. One of the reasons many small businesses prefer digital alternatives is to keep costs lower and save man hours.
A trend that has been changing lately is that Marketers and senior figures in many businesses have finally started to try and measure the Customer’s Experience. Personalisation and Marketing Automation goes a long way to increasing customer satisfaction. This in turn helps with Customer Retention. Many businesses you deal with won’t even be aware of Marketing Automation and many of those that are won’t want to rely on Digital methods entirely.
The key phrase that has been used over the past couple of years is ‘multi-channel experience.’ This means engaging with your clients via multiple mediums and platforms. Engage with them at their own speed and where that engagement is met with a positive reaction. Across Social Media, via email, in person and at events. Utilising personalised data collected via your other Marketing processes you can give your prospective client highly targeted content. Continue to do this throughout your relationship to retain that client and cross-sell.
It can be hard to get feedback about your Marketing process, it’s naturally a difficult subject to broach via email or online. Making the client aware of what you’ve been doing might not always be the best thing and equally getting people to respond to feedback requests can be difficult at the best of times. Face to face meetings allow for informal chat, an opportunity to get feedback and a feel for how the client is feeling beyond simple typed words on a screen. Marketing Automation allows you to gather a vast amount of quantitative data but often it’s not quite so helpful for getting that vital qualitative data that can drive your Marketing into areas simple numbers cannot.
Ultimately in the Digital Age we have a lot more options available to us, hopping in the car and heading down the motorway isn’t necessary half as much as it was 10 years ago. However we shouldn’t allow complacency with the power of all things digital to let us forget the power of meeting someone, shaking their hand and really sizing them up in person.