globalHMA is a digital agency. We work with automated marketing systems, build websites and digitize everything. We are always connected with at least one, if not two, devices at a time. We set up WebEx meetings with our clients. We send close to 500 emails a week collaboratively. We check-in to flights from our phones. We use apps like Around Me, Feedly or GasBuddy to determine our next stop. We live, we breath, we are digital.

However, there is one piece of us, one big, fat BUT that is not digital; one giant slice of the past that undoubtedly found its way into the digital age, slipped right past the mobile frenzy and into the here and now. Face-to-face meetings. From culture to body language, meeting in person is a necessity that will continue to play a role and lend to the success of an agency.

We see that the digital age has attempted to find ways around the face-to-face: videoconference, FaceTime and Skype to name a few. These tools still do not completely make up for that welcoming handshake or discussions over lunch. You can discuss projects and scopes on the phone until the sun sets, but that’s not where you’ll find the meaningful connections that are needed to maintain such working relationships created with long-term clients.

Yes, it’s exhausting to travel to other cities or countries, stay in hotels, get too little sleep and drink too little coffee. (I don’t actually drink coffee, but a point is a point.) However, the cultural insights gleaned, not only in terms of the geographical location, but also of the clients themselves are priceless. The peek into the day-to-day of a client is a gift, a gift often tossed aside with the usual excuses (too far, too costly, too busy).

Aside from the cultural perks, we also find working face-to-face with our clients creates a stronger working relationship. When you can see, hear, feel or experience what the client wants, you can provide a more complete final project. You have a better understanding of a client’s goals and can more accurately define the scope of projects. The ability to sit across from someone in a meeting, read their body language and actually work with them can bridge the gap between a short-term client and a long-term one.

So, whether you’ve booked a 7 a.m. train ride to the city or a 9-hour flight, always remember, these are the trips that count. globalHMAers are always up for a road trip, cross-country adventure or flight around the world. Just ask, and we’ll be there toting our Wilbur bud chocolates and a few suggestions for the next best app to test.