What happened to real face-to-face interaction?

Sometimes the lure of high tech in-booth communications has blurred the goal of face-to-face marketing – quality communications that accelerates the sales cycle. Exhibitors are adopting computer based e-detail systems using PC’s, tablets and now iPads. In doing so, they forget that these high tech tools have the same role as a piece of collateral material. They are the support to reinforce the verbal message, not the message itself. One wouldn’t just hand a piece of product literature or a PI to an attendee vs. have a dialogue with a booth visitor. The objective of a booth interchange is to find the attendee’s need and then fill that need with a solution. We have seen where exhibit staff are challenged to complete a specific number of interactions per hour with a minimum dwell time and are measured on their per cent of completion vs. how many qualified leads are generated with actionable next steps agreed upon with the attendee. The results change – exhibiting becomes a numbers game of flow-through without regard for the qualify of the information generated. Generating qualified leads with low cost is lost in this model. This approach also changes the dynamic of learning. Our studies have shown a direct link between new learning and inclination to seek out the exhibitor for a future solution. With just flow-through there is little learning. Don’t pass up the chance to use the newest in technology, but remember the goal – face-to-face marketing, not face-to-computer-to ……….

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