I just attended a hip holiday party last night here in San Diego, in our historic Gas Lamp district. It was put on by a number of marketing, advertising, and PR associations jointly, which brought a crowd with some nice cross-pollination. The event was on two-levels of a swank club.
As I went upstairs, I noticed an area near the back bar which was roped-off with velvet ropes and looked very luxurious. It was obviously a VIP area, and there was a sentry at the entrance to it with a list of names to allow through. A few minutes later, I spotted a few ladies with yellow wrist-bands they were trying to put on; these would allow them into the VIP area.
Me: “Hi there. I noticed you have some of the VIP wrist-bands. Out of curiosity, what did you do to get those?”
Ladies: “We don’t know! They were given to us when we picked up our badges at the front door.”
Hmm, I thought. I will check back with them on this later. Party continued, great time had by all.
This morning, I was corresponding with one of these ladies by email. I asked her if she ever found out why they were issued the wrist-bands.
Her response: “I have no idea how we got into the VIP area! But it made us feel special.”
I am glad she and her friend received special treatment. However, that treatment was not a very good use of money for the organization granting it if the recipient doesn’t know why! The organization could have made the most of this opportunity by sending out a note ahead of time, letting the VIPs know they were in for a special evening and telling them why they were selected for this privilege. At the very least, a note or comment at the door would have helped. Ideally, someone from the organization could have wandered the event, personally thanking VIPs and letting them know why there were chosen.
It is great to treat your best customers well. But it is potentially a waste of marketing money if they don’t know why they are getting special treatment!
(Photo credit: Eraxion)