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Marketers must get out more

What a tyranny our email inbox exerts over us! We decide there are people we need to meet, events we need to attend, products we need to see, and at the last minute we cancel them in preference to sitting in the office answering hundreds of little electronic messages.

Yet we all know that the best way to do business is to meet people, and the best way to select products and services is to see how they work in the outside world. The Internet is a great resource for drawing up a shortlist but when it comes to investing the company's money, we'd better be confident of making the right choice.

It's my view that an hour at an exhibition is worth a day of surfing the web. It remains the only forum which uses all the senses; you can see the products in reality, touch them, listen to expert advice, smell the atmosphere and the coffee, ask as many questions as you want and get the answers there and then.