Last night was excruciating. A local business group held its annual celebration to honor its members.

Although the tables were set for 50, only 14 people — including the band — showed up. I stayed til the bitter, depressing end because the band was playing so earnestly for the dribble of a crowd.


This is a business group with a robust membership. This member celebration has been a popular event over the years.

Fail #1: 

The event was planned around the VERBAL replies of members who said they “might attend” or bring a friend.

Fail #2: 

The email invitation did not have the DATE and TIME of the event in the subject line or first paragraph.

Fail #3:

The email invitation did not state which DAY OF THE WEEK the event was. Since it was a Thursday — an unusual night for a big celebration — the message should have been explicit that it was a week night.  

Fail #4:

There was no automated way to RSVP. I find that attendees take an invitation more seriously when they have to reply through a professional-looking interface. In addition, a confirmation email that integrates with the attendee’s calendar is helpful and allows people to set their own reminders.

Fail #5 (and most important!!) 

Where the HECK was PRINT??? 

This one really should be Fail #1 when you look at it from the member’s point of view.

Whether the invitations were professionally printed or not, there needed to be SOMETHING in print — and in the mail — to members.

A printed invitation…………

  • Shows respect and care. It underlines that members are honored.
  • Conveys courtesy. It acknowledges that members are busy and need an extra touch.
  • Is just common sense. It can hang on the wall and remind the member of his or her obligation.
  • Is memorable. The act of opening, unfolding, touching, sniffing… that process goes far beyond what a digital invitation can achieve. 

Need I mention that a printed invitation in this case would have gotten the results the organizers wanted?

Are you a member of a group that has decided print is too expensive or too inconvenient? Stand up and remind everyone of this fact:

Without members, the organization wouldn’t exist. Print is essential to keeping members informed and included.

Too bad print wasn’t invited to the party.

sandy_hubbard_printmediacentr Sandy Hubbard is a marketing strategist for printing companies that are in extreme growth mode and outgrowing their current marketing program. She helps printers evaluate options and quickly deploy to gain competitive advantage. Find Sandy on Twitter at @sandyhubbard every Wednesday at 4 PM ET assisting #PrintChat host Deborah Corn @PrintMediaCentr with the liveliest and most entertaining printing chat on social media!



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