In the February 28, 2008 issue of DMNews, the "Gloves Off" section entitled "Could agency pitching move online?" featured opposing points of view on the topic. Joy Schwartz states her primary point with this comment.
One word sums up why online pitching by ad agencies will never replace in-person pitching: chemistry.
Bear in mind that Ms Schwartz does not say that Online sales activity will not be a part of the agency pitch process. Only that online will not replace the need for personal face to face interaction to close the business.
Opposing this perspective is Pierre Bancale's article in this same section. "Yes, online pitching will dominate, because the whole world is going online."
Mr. Bancale even criticizes those who prefer personal contact when making working relationship decisions with this statement. "...the number of those who prefer living in a limited environment becomes smaller every day." So I guess Mr. Bancale thinks that those corporate decision makers wanting face time combined with phone conversations somehow live in a "limited environment." Give me a break!
His statement implies that salespeople who build relationships between companies are doomed to extinction. One could draw the conclusion from his statement that this need for human contact, that has existed for millennia, will somehow disappear in the face of the almighty Internet.
To be fair, Mr. Bancale does not say flat out that the online agency pitch will replace the need for face to face interaction, only that it will dominate. And that the old process "...must change." He further emphasizes this with his closing remark, "The world has changed, indeed."
It is just this type of hype that makes online worshipers fail miserably when it comes to earning the respect of CMOs and their bosses.
We do indeed need online expertise. But most of all, we need wise marketers who have the experience and understanding of how people process purchase decisions.
When you look at the information in these articles, how do you react to it? What is your perspective on these authors' statements? Is the Internet replacing the need for human contact? Or is the precipitous growth of social media a reflection of the symptom that many people are starving for human interaction and see the Internet as the second best way to get it?