Rapid developments in technology over the last 20 years have led to the value of human interaction being examined. The question of machines replacing us is more than ever a recurring one but the growth of online marketing was never really a threat to our channel. Of course, the new channels proved challenging in the beginning due to increased accessibility, but over time, the investment in these platforms has grown exponentially. Brands are now spending more and more to be in an increasingly crowded online space and not gaining the returns that Direct sales can guarantee them.
A few years ago, we began to discuss the future of our industry and we came to the realisation that there would always be a need for people to have human interactions and that we had two important selling points: Simplicity and impact. It’s important for people to realise that Face-to-face is about consumer education, not just selling.
If we take a look back to when the telco and energy industries first deregulated, the vast majority of consumers didn’t change providers, not because they didn’t want to but mostly because they didn’t know how to. When something is new, it can seem too complicated or time consuming to try it, the benefit of face-to-face interaction is that you can educate consumers as well as sell to them. This can have a huge impact on new markets.
In the end it all comes down to the consumer’s perception of your brand : distant and cold or close and likeable. Think about how you wish to be perceived, as another vague billboard or online ad, or as a friendly face. Melissa Niles wrote in The Bottom Line: “Little by little, Internet and mobile technology seems to be subtly destroying the meaningfulness of interactions we have with others, disconnecting us from the world around us, and leading to an imminent sense of isolation in today’s society. […]Ten texts can’t even begin to equal an hour spent chatting with a friend over lunch. And a smiley-face emoticon is cute, but it could never replace the ear-splitting grin and smiling eyes of one of your best friends. Face time is important, people. We need to see each other.”
This applies to everyone, not just your friends. Face-to-face interaction is proven to provide us with a sense of well-being and comfort. Two feelings that could be associated with your brand by investing in face-to-face as a customer acquisition channel and a mean to communicate with said customers!