By Lisa Shackelford
Recently, I attended UB Partners Day as an exhibitor. I was able to meet many new prospects and also reconnected with several of our current clients. After the exhibition concluded, I left the convention center feeling excited and energized, and it seemed that the other exhibitors and attendees shared my feelings.
Clearly, face-to-face marketing events, such as expositions and trade shows, tap into our emotions and minds in ways that cannot be done through other marketing methods. There are several ways that face-to-face marketing stimulate the human mind and create positive associations to a company that could only be made by meeting the people behind the company in person.
- The complete experience of attending a trade show creates a feeling of curiosity and novelty in attendees. The stimulation from the displays, meals, speeches, networking, etc., encourages attendees to think differently, which opens their minds to retaining new information. The stimulation experienced during a show is cemented into an attendee’s memory, much more so than other communications from a company.
- Being around other people creates a positive emotional experience. Emotions are contagious, and the extensive networking that occurs at a trade show spreads positive feelings throughout the audience. As a result, these positive emotions are attributed to the representatives of the companies that sponsored the show, and to the exhibitors and attendees.
- When potential clients meet with exhibit staff in a group setting, their stress level drops significantly. Physically, this is due to a drop in the level of cortisol, a stress hormone, as well as in increase in the release of “feel good” chemicals, such as Dopamine and Oxytocin. A positive experience at an event influences the potential client’s image of a brand and begins the process of building a business relationship.
- Relationships that begin in person are easier to build and eventually become stronger than relationships that began through other means. Relationships are facilitated much better at in-person events, since the attendees are joined by a common interest. Relationships begin not just at an exhibit, but also at meals, keynote speeches, networking events, breaks and workshops. Trust is being cultivated during these interactions.
The full benefits of face-to-face marketing are not necessarily realized in one meeting, but rather develop over time. Since businesses are social structures and work within greater communities, face-to-face marketing builds a social network among businesses that cannot be achieved through any other marketing methodology.