Surprise! Face-to-Face Communication Still Most Effective

Posted by Paladin on July 03, 2019

From Greek rhetoric, to Gutenberg, to Gmail: the “Innovation” of Communication

Human beings have been communicating face-to-face for hundreds of thousands of years. It is simply our natural means of expressing ideas. The ancients honed face-to-face persuasion into a fine art. Written language developed early, but literacy was a luxury of a special caste of scribes and scholars. The communication revolution started with Gutenberg’s printing press 500 years ago which enabled everything from the Protestant Reformation to the Enlightenment. Marconi gave us radio almost a century ago, and television soon followed. The Internet as a civilian tool has been in use for around a quarter century and is the relative newcomer. Humans are acclimating to the newer forms of communications, but old habits die hard.

The Medium and the Messenger Matter

A Yale University experiment comparing phone calls, mailers and face-to-face interactions found only face-to-face communication affected voter turnout. It’s reasonable to assume that TV and Internet ads would fare as poorly as other forms of non-face-to-face communications. An ideas42 study of wide-ranging socio-economic and behavioral experiments concluded: soliciting charitable donations is most effective if done in-person. The University of Tennessee did an experiment comparing door-to-door canvassing for charity. They found that blondes were 23% more productive than their equally attractive brunette counterparts. So, the messenger seems to have a significant impact on the reception of the message.

Sometimes the Old Ways Aren’t Old; They’re Timeless

Why would there be any benefit to exerting all the time and effort to use face-to-face communication with prospective customers? Despite rapid technological change, customers are biologically hard-wired to receive that face-to-face message. Our brains haven’t yet fully acclimated to other forms of communication. You can only reach certain prospective customers by in-person communication, since they consume content in such a way that they filter out traditional marketing. These cord-cutters elect to only view commercial-free entertainment – or use technology to avoid online marketing and advertising, such as tor browsers, VPN, adblocking extensions, etc. The number of such prospective customers is not a majority, but their numbers are growing.

To maximize your effectiveness you must confront these market realities. Email, search engine optimization or any online marketing is cost efficient. This is due to the wholly automated nature of these tools. However, they can’t necessarily convert individuals who never thought of or heard of the product or service into a paying customer. Face-to-face communication could be the key to those conversions.

When working with a home remodeling company, or other residential service, your client or employer should absolutely include “non-traditional marketing” (e.g. events and door-to-door canvassing). Although, with millennia of history, we can’t think of anything more traditional than face-to-face communication! Uniquely positioned, door-to-door marketing targets a crucial segment of overlooked and underserved individuals. It can identify pain points and frame it for the prospective customers in a way that they can be moved to an intent to purchase services and products that are simply not available in any other form of communications.

What Face-to-Face Communication Means for Marketing

Do not underestimate persuasive message delivery by a marketing professional coming face-to-face with prospective customers. However, at the same time, don’t consider it a panacea for all marketing ills either. Working in concert with the traditional marketing, events and canvassing can make for the most effective marketing campaign. Just imagine it from the targeted prospects’ perspective: they are in the milieu of all of the traditional marketing, and then they come across an affable and friendly marketing rep. Friendly, human interaction is increasingly preferred to the barrage of boilerplate, faux-personalized indirect marketing efforts. How many magnitudes more likely do these leads become paying customers? We think you can see the self-evident value of face-to-face marketing.

So if the desired result is to generate more leads, and more sales, there is a place for the brand awareness effects of indirect marketing. However, nothing quite beats the innate intimacy of face-to-face communication.

Knowing how to utilize the full spectrum of communication is key to marketing success. So is utilizing everyone on your team. Claim your free copy of Paladin’s latest white paper today!

Posted in: Communications, General, Marketing

Post a comment