Face-To-Face Marketing: A Post-Brexit Opportunity?
Keith Austin, CEO at EMS discusses the opportunities brought about by the changing economic climate, and the shift towards face-to-face marketing strategies in the latest summer edition of C&IT.
While the uncertainty of Brexit has subdued some markets, we’ve actually seen a ‘get on with it’ approach by a large number of UK businesses, as many begin to look further afield than Europe for new opportunities.
Of the regions sparking renewed interest from UK businesses, the US and Middle East are quite clearly leading the way. With the US market, there has long been an appetite for British tech, ranging from new medical devices to innovative VR-oriented technology. As for the Middle East, this is an area arguably in the midst of an industrial and digital revolution. Development has been catalysed thanks to major monetary investment, making the region ripe with opportunity for UK businesses.
Where face-to-face comes in
Looking ahead, how businesses interact with these markets will be key. In a world where personal interaction has become increasingly rare, with digital media and new technologies dictating how businesses now communicate with customers, there is still real value to be had from face-to-face interaction. Indeed, businesses are increasingly recognising the value in going the extra mile for customers - sometimes using less than traditional methods to do so.
Face-to-face marketing is a strategy that places the onus on businesses getting out there and promoting themselves to potential customers through direct – often personal – communication. The benefits for businesses, being the chance to create more engagement and leave a lasting impression. And, post-Brexit? The opportunity to make stronger connections with potential new customers.
Entering the Middle East
Taking a closer look at the Middle East, this is a region that places huge emphasis on face-to-face communication in business etiquette, over and above email or phone contact. For businesses looking to make the most of the opportunities presented by its fast-growing markets – they need to invest a face-to-face strategy. We ourselves recognised the region’s potential over a decade ago, but before we even set up shop, we spent a lot of time running events across the region to spread awareness of what roadshows can do for a brand, which doubled as a productive opportunity to connect with key decision makers and create business leads.
Since then, we have seen first-hand the appetite from businesses to enter the region. Just last year, international manufacturer of medical and safety technology, Draeger, came to us with an ambition to grow their presence in the Middle East - strengthening customer intimacy through a face-to-face approach. To achieve this, we put together Draeger’s first ever tour of the region – creating a mobile showroom that gave visitors the chance to interact with Draeger products, and participate in thought-provoking workshop sessions.
As the first roadshow agency to establish a permanent presence in the region, we’ve been able to act as a gateway for those businesses looking to capitalise on its opportunities for growth.
Born in the USA
And, it’s not just in the Middle East where face-to-face has its merits. The roadshow format was practically born in the US, made easily accessible by the land-locked nature of the country with no international borders to cross. Now, we are increasingly seeing major US-based brands and businesses adopting the roadshow format in the UK, seeking to further utilise the power of face-to-face marketing.
The UK and US have always enjoyed a special relationship, and moving into the post-Brexit era, there has to be a real opportunity to rekindle this connection with an enhanced trading relationship.
Working with agencies
The move towards face-to-face marketing is not something that has just been recognised by us, as other creative agencies are increasingly viewing this as an effective channel to meet their own client objectives and briefs. As such, this has completely changed the way we work with other agencies. Our technical expertise and knowledge of new markets enables us to deliver on their big ideas, so in turn they deliver for their clients.
What’s clear, is that the opportunities brought about by face-to-face marketing can and are enabling businesses to grow overseas, even in times of uncertainty. If anything, the situation has spurred many businesses to act on growth plans sooner rather than later, recognising this as an opportune moment to establish themselves in new markets.