Today I wanted to give some examples that reflect on how, in this era of hyper-communication, it is increasingly difficult to get positive results from something we commonly do: e-mailing invitations to trade fairs. Here are two stories.

A small luxury-goods company re-vamped its corporate image: new brand, new website and investments in all the coordinated communication including a stand in the most important trade show in the world for their industry. A job well-done by professionals. Before the fair, a newsletter was sent to everyone with a personalized e-mail invitation to the main buyers to inform them of the new image and the new collection. The post-event results? No one answered, no one at the fair noticed the new look and no new contacts were made at the fair.

A similar experience was had by a winery that, after years of waiting, was finally given a space at the Vinitaly fair; again, their industry’s most prestigious venue. Great expectations were had but, at the end of the fair, very few new contacts were made.


Let’s analyze the numbers. There was a total of 1,500 exhibitors at the first fair and, according to the trade professionals, a buyer can view the collections of an average of 6 or 7 companies a day which means visiting a maximum of 35 exhibitors over the course of the fair (assuming they stay for the duration). In other words, 2.3% of the exhibiting companies. The numbers relative to Vinitaly are even more ruthless considering that the exhibitors there number more than 4,000! It is not difficult to imagine that almost all the exhibitors of the two fairs sent newsletters and e-mail invitations to buyers in the days leading up to the fair. The overall result will almost certainly be a clogging up of their inboxes.

He’s a personal experience I had. A month ago I published a book about exporting for small businesses and a local newspaper dedicated a rather extensive article to it. The result was that only one company called me in addition to some friends who congratulated me.

The moral is that the era of hyper-competition in which we live has created the phenomenon of hyper-communication. We are all targeted by huge amounts of e-mails, messages, news, posts, etc. Some call it information inflation. Since the advent of digital marketing, everyone has jumped headlong into the various channels it offers because they are easy to use and – apparently – cheap. Perhaps the time has come, however, to re-evaluate the other means of communication that we abandoned. For example, the traditional invitation to the fair by post (snail mail), maybe even with the name of the person to whom it is addressed written by hand. There are surely young buyers who have never had the experience of receiving a letter with their own name handwritten on the envelope; this might spark their imagination and intrigue them