A VIP Program of One: Rewarding Customers & Driving Revenue

Greg Zakowicz, Senior Commerce Marketing Analyst

Greg Zakowicz, Senior Commerce Marketing Analyst

Author Bio

Greg Zakowicz is a senior commerce marketing analyst at Oracle + Bronto. With more than 10 years of experience in email, mobile and social media marketing, Zakowicz knows the retail industry and its challenges, staying on top of the latest trends by leveraging deep insight into the marketing spectrum. His subject matter expertise stems from his experience in providing commerce marketers — including numerous Internet Retailer Top 1000 clients — with in-depth analysis of their marketing programs, recommendations for improvement, best practice support and implementation guidance and execution.

Zakowicz is a frequent webinar speaker and presenter at ecommerce events, such as Fashion Digital New York, SIA Snow Show and ROI Revolution Summit. He has been published by top retail and marketing publications, including Power Retail and Inside Retail, and is a regular contributor to Bronto’s Commerce Marketing blog. You can follow him on Twitter at @WhatsGregDoing.

Two customers are standing next to each other (stop me if you’ve heard this one). Let’s say you have $20 in services/products and you can anonymously give it to one of them. Which person would you give it to? Umm, the person to the left!?  Now imagine the person standing to the left has never bought anything from you, and the person to the right has bought from you 4 times in the past 6 months. Now who would you secretly give the money to?

As you all know this is the basic premise of a VIP program; treat your best customers like they are your best customers. But let’s face it, VIP programs can be difficult to create and manage. Just because they can be difficult to manage doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to target your best customers differently. Let’s talk about one easy way to start doing this. We can do this together, but first you’ll need a few things:

  • Two promo codes
  • Two discounts
  • One piece of construction paper
  • Red and green marker
  • Stamped envelope

OK, got everything? Great, let’s start.

Define your best customers

Are they those who have a high AOV, total dollars spent or have made a certain number of purchases over the past X months? Be sure to evaluate your customer base and determine the group of buyers that you would like to group as VIPs. For the sake of this example I am going to choose something simple and say those who have made X purchases over the last 12 months. Go ahead and create a segment of people who match these criteria.

The next step is to do what you have always done.

Create your promotional message

Find the spot in the message you would normally include your promo code and discount text, and insert dynamic content. Here you’ll use your two different promo codes and your two different discounts. For those who are in your VIP segment use the better promo code and discount. For everyone else use your standard promo code and discount.

By using very simple dynamic content you don’t need to spend time creating unique messages for each group, and the dynamic rules are not so complex that they’ll be a time suck.

Hint: Don’t forget the subject line and CTA preheader. You can make these sections dynamic as well but be sure to have these match the appropriate promo and discount. Use the same criteria as mentioned above. Easy, right? If you want to call attention to the fact they are receiving a unique offer feel free to let them know they are considered a VIP here.

Finally, with the leftover items on the project list draw a picture of a flower on the construction paper, slip it in the envelope, and send it to me here at the office. I could use some office decorations!

So there it is MacGyver, a simple way to treat your best customers differently without requiring the time and resources to run and manage a dedicated VIP program. VIP messages like this, although quite simple, can definitely help strengthen the relationship between brands and their customers. And as you probably already know messages that use past-purchase data are generally more successful than regular promotional messages. Give it a try, measure the results, and have fun!

Greg Zakowicz
Marketing Strategist at Bronto