With improvements in technology and social media, communication in business has been transformed, writes Linda Endersby. But recent research reported by the Wall Street Journal states that 90% of conversations still take place offline, and - as the channel has long known - word-of-mouth is the strongest marketing tool.
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Events that Matter, a corporate events management agency based in Surrey, agrees that holding a live event where you can meet clients and suppliers in person is still the best way to communicate your brand.
"People buy from people - nothing's changed there," said Owen Hills, director of Events that Matter. "Events are arguably the most 'real' experience of your brand and provide a fantastic way to communicate your points of differentiation.
"Creating an experience for clients, suppliers and resellers that is memorable, enjoyable and informative and integrating this into your overall marketing activity can be crucial for success," he explained.
Meanwhile, research by Regus, which provides flexible working spaces, backs up the importance of key events to find new customers while telemarketing and direct marketing are in decline.
"The remarkable thing about today's society is that for all our vastly enhanced ability to connect, whether via Twitter, Facebook, video-conferencing etc, it's easy to end up feeling quite lonely, said Steve Purdy, UK managing director at Regus.
"You can get to a stage where you choose who you speak to, screen out the rest, and operate to a great extent by virtual means - networking becomes so selective that it ceases to work as it should. This is exactly the same in the business world but fortunately it seems that firms are acknowledging this and giving 'real world' networking the true attention it deserves," he explained.
The Events that Matter team say that to create an event that engages with its attendees and achieves the greatest ROI, you should focus on the key aims and targets of your marketing plan, so that your event ties in with your marketing objectives.
Measurable goals, which can be reviewed after the event, should be set to check the success and benefits of your event. Feedback from attendees is also crucial for the review stage to ensure events can be continuously improved upon to make the most of the personal contact experience.