How To Organise A Great VIP Night For Customers
Customer VIP nights are an important marketing tool to increase and maintain the loyalty of your key customers.
Customer VIP nights are particularly useful if you’re launching something new, have some ground-breaking news to share with customers or if you simply want to bring people together for some fun and networking.
These types of events are also a great way to create some social buzz about your company in the weeks leading up to your event, and on the night of the event itself.
Planning your VIP night
Be clear what type of customer VIP event you want and the purpose of the event.
Is it for a children's product or service?
Do you want VIP children to attend? Ideally you need to hold your VIP children's event during school holidays as, unless they are aged under 5 years, the kids are likely to have school sports or birthday parties on weekends.
It needs to be during daytime if they're under 12, and be a location that holds enough interest for parents or their guardians to attend.
You may need to find a venue that provides changing table facilities for babies, sufficient pram space and is child-friendly, meaning no stairs and no decks opening out onto water. Poolside spaces are off-limits too.
If it's a VIP night for teenagers you will need to make much more effort with your decorative event themeing or risk ruining your entire brand.
Are you launching a new product to your VIP customers?
Then you need to build an idea around your product.
How could you add visual drama for potential media coverage, which in itself, the idea that the news will be televising the event, will make your guests instantly responding with a "Yes!" they're attending?
Just think of the massive TV exposure Virgin Brides received with Richard Branson wearing a lacy gown to launch his bridalwear company in 1996.
Everyone remembers the launch; fewer realise or even care the dress company closed in 2007.
Is your VIP night to build and expand your network?
You can use your VIP night to consolidate your position as an industry leader, letting your suppliers meet each other.
At an industry VIP night, your guests will want to meet other suppliers and names in the industry and will willingly wear name badges to find out who's who in the zoo.
Even your name badges will reveal if it's really a VIP night. A white paper sticker with your client's name scribbled in black marker does not equal a "very important person". Will you invest in decorative lanyards worth keeping?
Have you got staff who can introduce your key suppliers to each other? Your night will go very well indeed if your attendees can develop future business relationships. Perhaps you could ask your most important guests who they'd like to meet.
One easy-to-implement idea is to put coloured dots on the name badges to define certain groups which makes it easy to see who does what type of service from a distance.
And for the love of God, please make your name badges typeface large enough to read!
Is your VIP night a thank-you for your special customers?
Firstly, how are you determining who's special? Is it your highest-spending customers? Are you inviting people you'd like to become one of your clients?
If you segment your customers into tiers, are ALL tiers being invited? Should they be?
A "gold" tier client will feel far less special if they discover the party is full of "copper" and "silver" level customers. And the "lower-tier" customers will feel slighted if company representatives ignore them in favour of the higher-spending clients.
Your guests WILL talk about why they were invited so make sure it's there's a common reason ie they all use Product XYZ v2.0.
How are you thanking your VIP customers?
Is your venue choice and catering provision going to be enough of a special thank you on its own? Will you provide goody bags, door prizes and/or treats?
This is a perfect time to offer mini-samples of your products, a catalog and a yummy treat to take away.
Whether it's a sit-down dinner or not, everyone loves a good guest favour.
Why not use your imagination and give them guest favours that match your VIP event theme, branding or industry area. For example, the Discovery Network treated its guests to solar system lollipops.
Enjoyed this? Discover what you need to consider including in your VIP customer night budget.