News number one: in Italy there is an industry, very healthy and always in countertendency, with a turnover of 3 billion and 600 million euro per year, up 2.6 percent compared to 2015. It is direct home sale, just depicted by a survey carried out by Format Research on behalf of Univendita.

News number 2: last weekend I had the opportunity to work behind the scenes of the National Sales Day with which Vorwerk Folletto annually awards the Best of Italy, terrific salesmen (and saleswomen), able to sell something like 1,371 units per year (average: five per day, copyright Mirko Bertoncini, First of Italy in office). If you please.

What is the link between these two pieces of news and digital communication? There is a link actually, even if you don’t see it at a glance. It is the uncommon attention that companies operating in direct sales dedicate to their employees, thus knitting the best practices that tie every successful business to both motivation and encouragement of human resources.

Human beings, people, our – or rather, your – employees are the pillars of every business venture. And with that, let’s dispel some myths of digital communication.

Wow Effect: when a corporate event turns into a show

Being aware that I would display a conflict of interest if I talked in glowing terms about the “wow effect” of Folletto’s annual convention, I will just say that we could talk about Top of the Mind Awareness, which means such a level of excellence that you could hardly separate the corporate event from the great TV show.

In short, suffice it to say that this year’s event, modulated in two award nights, was conducted by artists like Fiorello, Alessandro Cattelan, Cristina Chiabotto, Rossella Brescia, Ale & Franz… (the list lasts long), outlining a festival that has nothing to envy either to Sanremo’s one or to Hollywood’s Academy Awards.

It is not the first time that I participate in the annual convention of Folletto and, in the many years I have spent as a journalist in the events sector, I have seen lots of special events. Yet every year this convention leaves me stoned… A spontaneous and uncontrollable «Wow» climbs my lips every time I see, initially only on paper, the agency’s project (this time it was by Merlo Spa), and then again when I get to the site and witness the scene at last, and over and over again so many times when technicians turn the lights on and the show takes off.

Now if Folletto always manages to surprise the experts it doesn’t simply mean that it’s achieved its wow effect – as if it were a target in itself -, but above all it means that the amazement of those who are not accustomed to these events will be indefinitely multiplied until literally leaving the participants speechless – i.e. the famous “human resources” for whose reward the event was created.

Back to basics: putting people at the centre

Isn’t this, therefore, the reason why these human resources make such great performances? In other terms, isn’t this the reason why door-to-door or party-plan selling companies get constantly growing turnovers, despite the crisis for which Italy has been complaining since almost nine years? I think it is. Clearly.

Certainly direct sales don’t have cyclical characteristics, yet they are driven by the sales force’s desire to excel. And here we should go to brush up on the principles of motivation written in the thirties by Elton F. MacDonald, the man who invented the incentive in the United States.

Marketing, in short, is not everything. And even less can be web marketing, mostly if one interprets the digital world – as many unfortunately do – as a tool for low cost communication or marketing. Being digital, social and projected into the future doesn’t mean forgetting the key element that turns a good product into a very successful one: the people who work in the company.

Engagement is not only digital

I keep on quoting Folletto, because as I know it right from the inside I have cognizance of what I say. It is a modern, constantly evolving company, giving especially in recent months a strong acceleration to its ability to keep pace with times. And anyone who sets foot in it just can’t help noticing its atmosphere of great dynamism.

Folletto continuously hits home runs even in marketing communications, with strategies that are sometimes so modern as to become real trailblazer (just think of partnership of values ​​like the one with Fiorentina, or of brand reputation campaigns like “Folletto. Think clean”, or even of the use of social media for both brand awareness and retargeting, as well as of the revolutionary digital recruiting initiatives currently under development.

In short, it is clearly established that Folletto knows how to put to use all the levers of marketing and communications so that they get to support sales. Yet, year after year, it increases its efforts to personally meet its employees and thank them with something really striking and experiential.

Why? Because there is a strong awareness that the economic success of a company always depends on the people who work there.

How many invest in live communication?

Meritocracy, constant support, listening, timeliness in responses, attention, engagement and incentive to do better and more are all things that must be personally made, intertwining real and sincere human relationships. That is, investing time and money in live communication events that put the “man” at the centre of corporate strategy.

How many Italian companies do it? And how many if we exclude those working in direct sales?

Here, let a few questions then…

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