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October 17th, 2007

Don’t Let Anyone Tell You Otherwise, In-Person Still Gets the Job Done

Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport … remind me again why I’m here?

Don’t get me wrong, I like Oregon, and Medford is a nice place, but it’s not one of the top 10 cities (or, let’s be honest, 20 or 30) that come to mind when you think of where you’ll end up on a tech media tour.

Portland? Maybe. Seattle? Sure, especially if you’re a software or e-commerce vendor and want to catch the eye of the local 800lb gorillas. But Medford? You’d be better off calling the remotely located journalist, analyst or influencer instead of traveling in and out of municipal airports without any direct flights to your next stop, right?

You can — but you’d be doing your public relations program a huge disservice.

Yes it may happen one day, but it’s going to be a long while before technology replaces the importance of face-to-face meetings. I’ve had clients in the video/videoconferencing space over the years and I admit I’ve sold my share of, “with XXX service, you don’t need to kill yourself on a red-eye flight to New York or Tokyo.” After 9/11, I also remember believing that these technologies would finally flourish as people thought twice about traveling when they could pull off get-togethers using the latest virtual meeting platform. That may in fact have been the case for some, but I know people who never stopped traveling for the simple reason that they wanted to sit across from their audience, look them in the eyes, read their body language and react accordingly.

Making the effort to see someone in person also sends a strong message. People like Michael Arrington may yell at you for sleeping on their front porch, but they hopefully still recognize the effort and will let you make a pitch. This is even more the case the more remote the location.

People you visit in San Francisco, New York, Boston, Seattle, Chicago and Washington, D.C. know you’re probably meeting with other folks during the same trip. But who else are you going to be meeting near the Medford airport? The other journalist living on the banks of the Rogue River? There could be dozens of tech influencers in the Rogue Valley for all I know, but it takes a little extra work to get there — and that means something when you sit down and tell your client’s story. If nothing else, you’ll know what engages the audience and what doesn’t. You’ll get to shake a hand and pound the table to make a point. You simply can’t replace that.

So that’s what I’m doing in Oregon, and I don’t mind it one bit. I don’t mind a successful meeting with good people in a beautiful place. And if you think I’m wrong, hey, that’s great. It means the security line at the Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport will be one Valley geek shorter, and you’ll wonder why your PowerPoint-delivered story via Polycom fell on deaf ears.

Filed in Media, Public Relations

Add Your Comment1 Response to “Don’t Let Anyone Tell You Otherwise, In-Person Still Gets the Job Done”

db on October 18th, 2007 at 9:04 am

I think the technical term is facetime. I’ve found that the best relationships in the business world need some facetime. Even setting up some lunches at tradeshows helps. If you’ve been casually dealing with someone over a few months and you know they’ll be at the same event make the effort to arrange something in advance.