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Prognosticators at the beginning of this century predicted that the communications revolution and increasing use of digital media would slowly diminish participation in face-to-face events such as trade shows and conferences. The difficult world economy was to have hastened this decline.
In fact, the opposite seems to be true. We noted, for example, that the annual CES conference in Las Vegas set an attendance record last month. Many CMOs recognize that in-person events are an important marketing channel; and as a result, they have increased such investments as the economy improves. One could argue, quite convincingly, that social networking and digital content actually motivates people to congregate and enhance online relationships. Savvy decision-makers with scarce resources may be more likely to allocate money and time for participation in such events.
All of us understand there is no substitute to looking someone in the eye, shaking hands, reading body language and observing other behavioral clues. Indeed, it’s not a stretch to say that making such connections is an important part of drip marketing and building sustained relationships with prospects. Events requiring a physical presence are of course more expensive than creating content and sending emails, but the benefits can be huge.
We offer some practical suggestions on how to use social media to enhance the effectiveness of in-person events:
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