One of the great benefits of technology for creative agencies is that it has eliminated geographic barriers when it comes to where we can work with clients. Most of my agency’s clients are in other parts of the country—places like the West Coast, Florida, Virginia, Massachusetts, etc.—well outside of our location in Connecticut.

When it comes to working online vs. in person (either by phone or through personal meetings), there are mostly pluses, and just a couple minuses.

From the edutainment marketer’s perspective there are many advantages to working online with their agency:

First, it saves time—lots of it. You don’t have to leave your office, spend time traveling, or interrupt your workflow to head to the conference room.

Second, it is great for reference/record keeping. Working online eliminates the need for keeping notes since the email chain is a history of the project from beginning to end.

Third, it can be more thorough and detailed than a live conversation. That’s because you can take time to read, process, and reflect before responding.

Fourth, it saves money. Everything from delivery charges (because layouts, proofs, and images can be transmitted electronically rather than shipping them) to travel expenses are eliminated, improving the bottom line without sacrificing the quality of the product or service.

Fifth, it streamlines projects and keeps them moving. You don’t need to wait for a face-to-face meeting to present designs, get approvals, see printer’s proofs, etc.

Sixth, it gives more flexibility. When corresponding via email, you can work as late, or begin your day as early, as suits your needs – you aren’t trapped in a 9-5 workday. You can alert your agency to an upcoming rush project or last minute changes no matter what time of day/night you find time to reach out to them.

The end result: Working online greatly increases efficiency and productivity.

There are a couple of disadvantages to working online instead of in person:

First, agencies are all about relationships, and it’s a little harder to develop a relationship working strictly online. That’s because working online can replace the personal contact. You don’t get to know your client/vendor as personally as when you spend time with them in person, which can make you feel less connected to them.

Second, the body language cues are missing. There’s no way to read tone of voice or a facial expression when working through email. It’s easier to “read” each other in person, when you can see a smile, frown, wink, and body posture.

The end result: Working in person can strengthen relationships.