It used to be that you went to events to collect leads. Nowadays it's not about leads and exchanging as many business cards as possible; it is rather about relationship building and experiential marketing, whereby a consumer is immersed directly in a brand experience.
In today's highly competitive business environment, companies are aware of the fact that they have to work hard to find new clients, and harder to retain their existing ones.
One of the most powerful ways to connect with an increasingly selective consumer audience is to interact with them at events. Nothing can replace engaging with current and potential consumers in person. The need for face-to-face communication remains as strong today as it has ever been.Quality of consumer interactions
Events, from roadshows to personal customer gatherings, upgrade the quality of consumer interactions and provide a unique opportunity to build meaningful working relationships. A multi-sensory experience in a dynamic and intimate environment cuts through the information overload that people are faced with and leaves a memorable impression.
Another characteristic of events is their ability to reach the right audience, motivated to attend for their own objectives, while they are in the appropriate frame of mind — ready, willing, and interested. Consumers are instantly engaged and a relationship, as well as a connection to the brand, is formed.
Expert marketers choose to use events to tell a story about a product or brand and inspire people not only to take action themselves but to become word-of-mouth advocates. The power of word-of-mouth cannot be underestimated and research shows that face-to-face marketing achieves this best. Events undoubtedly increase brand awareness, product knowledge and brand loyalty, yet their very nature makes them perfectly poised to build relationships.Building trust
Building relationships requires the building of trust. Ultimately trust will be developed and tested over time, but the sincerity that can only be conveyed in person goes a long way in forging a trust-based working relationship, something that is rare and is esteemed by customers.
When one interacts with consumers at an event, one is able to fully listen — one of the fundamental aspects of any relationship. Email and phone conversations, no matter how poignant or regular, don't allow one to assess the other's body language, expressions and subtle nuances that one-on-one contact allows for. Events are a refreshing chance to meet prospects in a professional setting, listen carefully to their requirements, gain insight into their personality and challenges and explain one's unique selling proposition.
Meeting contacts personally also offers a clearer indication of whether it is a suitable fit and you get a sense of whether it's worth both your time to pursue a relationship in the first place. Simplified
When focus is there from the start, post-event following-up is simplified. When one concentrates on building useful relationships instead of just numbers and volume, following up with others is straightforward and pleasant. There are less people to contact because you've already spent time sharing ideas and one will have something significant and interesting to say, based on the previous chat.
With the world becoming increasingly electronic and impersonal, event marketing is more relevant than ever, with the benefit of intimacy that face-to-face encounters yield and their unique ability to reach, connect and make connections with audiences. While technology has its myriad advantages, it cannot outperform event marketing when it comes to establishing genuine relationships — the foundation of any company's competitive advantage.