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Face to Face Interaction in a Digital World


By: Kerry Branon, Group Account Director

When we think of tradeshows and expos, many of us think: been there, done that. And yet, we keep attending — obviously there must be some value here. These mega marketing events generate more conversations, leads and sales than you might expect. Why are they so successful?

One reason might be that tradeshows provide a fading alternative to the constant onslaught of digital communication: face-to-face interaction. When was the last time you met your client, prospect or vendor in person? For many of us, the answer is too long ago.” The next major expo could be your chance. Your presence shows brands, colleagues and competitors that you’re in the game and care enough to be there.

As my colleague Kristen Levine often says, nothing replaces in-person meetings and shared dining experiences to get to know your contacts on a deeper, more personal level. She and I took advantage of one such networking opportunity last month at SuperZoo, one of the largest pet retail expos, which takes place each year in Las Vegas. Being on the floor enabled us to meet with current clients, partners and prospects including Vetoquinol USA, Tomlyn, Healthy Pet, Morris Animal Foundation, Dog TV, WellPet, Best Friends Animal Society, Petmate, P.L.A.Y., Merrick Pet Care, Champion Petfoods, Nestle Purina Petcare, American Pet Products Association and many others. We solved outstanding questions, brainstormed and aligned on campaign ideas, generated content, expanded relationships, and increased our overall collaboration. We accomplished all of this in two days because we were in the same place at the same time. It may sound simple, but even with all the new communication tools at marketers’ disposal these days, the effects of a little face time can be profound.

Another benefit of attending trade expos is staying up to date on the latest trends and previewing new products before they hit the shelves. Check out this sleek, modern cat furniture we found at the baubau booth. The customized modular walls are created using molded industrial felt. It’s like an interior urban playground for the feline in your house. We talked with both the Chief Designer and the Senior Sales Manager and were super impressed with their ideas, attention to detail and quality. We came away impressed, inspired, and educated, and we weren’t the only ones: There were more than 10,000 attendees including national and international distributors. The word on the street is there were more than 15 representatives from Wayfair alone checking out new products.

The next time you consider attending a tradeshow, remember face to face interaction with clients, prospects and vendors is invaluable and cannot be replaced by digital communication. And you never know which tip, trend, or tactic might inspire your next successful campaign.

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