The party season is upon us! Companies everywhere are busy organising harvest festivals and Christmas parties. But a crematorium is not an appropriate venue to host a party, not even for Halloween!
We think the invitation process is the single most underrated marketing tool. Use it right and you will succeed- use it badly and it can go horribly wrong...Read on for a real horror story!
Everyone's a Party Planner
So your company is hosting an event. It's going to be a Big Party: an Annual Ball, an Investors' Dinner & Gala, an Outdoor Sports Day or something like that. A Party Committee is installed well ahead of time, to plan and deal with the practicalities.
The Devil is in the detail
Let's design stuff
In phase three things are starting to come together. It's time to create the invitations! This is when marketing and the graphics department want to get involved. It is, after all, a matter of corporate identity and visual representation. An advertising agency is called in, they create and present several versions until the perfect one is produced.
The party can never be a success if the logo on the invitation isn't surrounded by at least 16 white pixels, according to the visual guidlines, right? The final decision is made between classy mail-delivered invitations or swift and smooth e-mail delivery.
Frankenstein's mailing list monster
Phase four: time to gather a list of invitees. It is a Frankenstein's monster consisting of various parts from mailing lists, old spreadsheets, more or less up-to-date CRM-contact lists and the bosses' little black book.
Finally, it is time to invite. Just as somebody is about to push Print or Send, somebody else chips in: "But who should the invitees RSVP to?"
"Oh well, the intern can handle that dreadful task. Just put his/her email and phone number on there." And off the invitations go!
If this is how things go down at your office, watch out! You might end up inviting your most important people straight to the crematorium. This happened a couple of years ago in Karlstad, Sweden.
A local parish sent a party invitation to over a hundred members aged 75 and up. The guests were asked to RSVP by telephone, but thanks to a tiny typo their phone calls were directed to the local crematorium. The mishap made the local paper, Nya Wermlands-Tidningen. They quoted the embarrassed Reverend: "One digit in the phone number was wrong".
Invitation and attendee registration are, at their best, an integral part of the visual communication process. At their worst...well, you see my point. An invitee who decides to RSVP "Attending" is always positively charged and full of expectation. Preserve that positive charge, don't incinerate those expectations in the crematorium!
The best way of doing so is by making sure your invitees have a quick, easy and accurate way of RSVP:ing and registering for your event.