The Best Impressions Are Still Made Face to Face
You...we...can write brilliant news releases, columns, white papers, Tweets, blog posts, sales letters and direct mail campaigns. We might have pedigreed designers creating scorchingly good campaigns (what would the kids today call them—“sick?”). We might print on amazing substrates and use cutting-edge specialty effects.
But despite all of our exquisite, second-generation communications, nothing can match the impression we make—or hope to make—face to face.
Whether it’s for social relationships or business ones, I contend we have our best shot at building rapport when we meet someone in person.
Speaking for myself, here are examples of how chance meetings made a huge difference in my business:
After a gentleman with a British accent asked a speaker a question at one of Printing Industries of Northern California’s annual buyer conferences, I introduced myself to him. Robert McClements is an executive with PrintYorkshire. We chatted for a long while. Within months, he invited me to Leeds to speak at a conference.
As a speaker at the New England Direct Marketing Association’s (NEDMA) annual conference, I mentioned to staff members there that I was looking to hire event management help for our upcoming conference in Chicago. NEDMA’s staff referred me to a volunteer who was working for them that day. Marcia’s been with me ever since—and what a valued colleague she’s turned out to be.
At a print management dinner hosted by PINE, I sat next to a print company CEO whom I’d never met. We became professional friends, and he hired me to coach his new print sales reps and also to do some writing.
At the Printing Industries Association of San Diego’s print buyers’ conference in San Diego, several people introduced themselves to me. “You must be Margie,” was the common ice-breaker. “You look just like your cartoon.”
They’re all subscribers of my “Margie’s Print Tips” column. It was like we were long-lost friends.
Speaking of my cartoon, had I not been invited by Xerox to an educational event at the Gil Hatch Center a few years ago, I’d never would have met Jeff Moores, the artist responsible for my cartoon as well as a second one I commissioned for this year’s PBI Conference. The cartoon Jeff created for me gets more interest than anything else associated with me.
Most of the time, I make a better (and lasting) impression when I meet someone, as opposed to communicating with them by other means. Probably the same goes for you. It’s why we shouldn’t do all of our business development and relationship building sitting at our desks.
With that, I invite you all to attend our 6th Annual Print & Media Conference this September in Chicago. We’re co-locating at McCormick Place with GRAPH EXPO 2011. We’ll have our own ballroom, Sponsor Center and breakout sessions over two days on the Sept. 13-14.
Register online at www.printbuyersinternational.com. Meet over 100 print and media customers who influence marketing campaigns. Attend any of our 16 sessions and listen to audience comments and questions. It’s a chance for you to understand the challenges print buyers and marketers face and what they think about the future of print.
Here’s a gift: take 10 percent off your registration fee with “PI,” a special Priority Code I created for you.
Getting out to mingle with people in our field will yield richer opportunities for lasting impressions than any other form of communication. You might make new friends and/or meet new customers.
Attending events is social networking of the best kind. Anything could happen.
Long regarded as a print buyer expert and trade writer, Margie Dana launched a new business as a marketing communications strategist with a specialty in printing and print buying. She is as comfortable working in social media as she is in traditional media, and now she’s on a mission to help clients build customer communities through carefully crafted content. Dana was the producer of the annual Print & Media Conference.
Although she has exited the event business, Dana is still publishing her Print Tips newsletter each week. For more details and to sign up for her newsletter and marketing blog, visit www.margiedana.com