Velvet Rope Marketing (Part 2)

Velvet Rope Marketing (VRM) is much more than a loyalty program. In a loyalty program, anyone can sign-up and collect points. In a VRM program, it is the brand that decides which customers are eligible for the differentiated experience. Many companies have a loyalty program, but very few do VRM. By missing out on deepening relationships with their best customers, they are losing out on opportunities to increase their profits – because Best Customers can be many times more valuable than the median customers.

So, what can companies do for their Best Customers? Here are a few examples:

  • eCommerce: Give 3 free exchange opportunities to best customers; Design a special page based on customer preferences – combination of things they like, new season/ launches, offers
  • OTT: Ask best customers for preferences to recommend for the following week; Give early access or preview (music, tv shows, movies etc.)
  • Retailer: With data on items that the best customer searched for but weren’t available at the time, retail stores can give them the first chance to buy those or similar items when in stock; give offers for items similar to customer’s previous purchases
  • Multiplex: Predict what best customers are likely to order and place in the cart/ offer an easy buy option
  • Manufacturer: Give privileged opportunity to buy a new collection from company/brand or even design new products

Another way to think is along the three dimensions of Exclusivity, Envy and Access – as outlined in the book “The Velvet Rope Economy”.  Here are some more examples of differentiated service examples:


  • Get premium samples free – from wishlist and new launches
  • Get a special page designed based on preferences – likes, new season, offers
  • Get notifications on topics of interest
  • Participate in product co-development
  • Cancel tickets or orders without loss


  • Pre-book a slot based on visit patterns, etc; get an assigned concierge
  • Get free exchange opportunities
  • Pick their own seats in advance (flight, theatre etc.)
  • Order service/product before arriving on-premise
  • Preferential treatment from customer service; first-in-line always


  • Get invited to media events celebrating the brand’s loyal customers, to get first-look at products
  • First opportunity to book an order for limited edition apparel
  • Offers for orders similar to previous purchases
  • An earlier opportunity to buy tickets for upcoming events

Which brings us to the key question: how does one identify Best Customers?

Tomorrow: Velvet Rope Marketing (Part 3)

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.