How to Create a VIP Community

To cut through the noise, you need to stand out and offer C-suite professionals something unique and desirable. Welcome to the VIP Community.

Jon Barkworth, Just Global VP of Strategy, explains why offering something unique is the sweetest way to win over the C-suite. 

In a marketplace where everyone is vying for the attention of C-suite professionals, what can you do to stand out? Those organizations that are poking their heads above the parapet and offering something original and attention-grabbing are ticking that all-important box of ‘getting noticed’. From having to do more with less, to being bombarded by every company out there that wants a slice of the action, the C-suite has never been under so much pressure.

Be bold, be unique

So, if you want to grab their attention and engage with the C-suite in a meaningful way, you’ve got to offer something that’s really different – unique even and of immense value that they simply can’t get anywhere else. Unique content. Unique experiences. Unique networking opportunities.

Does that sound like an impossible ask? It needn’t be. It just requires some serious coming together of minds to work out some basics, to begin with. First off, we need to work out how they consume content. What do they prefer? Short-form or long-form? And when do they consume it? Traveling, at home, on the way to the office, on a coffee break? Capturing their imagination is essential in order to get your message across.

Make them feel special

That’s why we’ve started working with some of our key clients to get them thinking about the above, and exploring how they can create a VIP Community for their most important and influential clients. Gone are the days when we all worked in offices all the time, and you could ring up the high-spending CMO at one of your top accounts and invite them out for lunch. If they’re working from home, and are based a long way away, the incentive to make them travel into town needs to be greater than a one-on-one business lunch – no offense.

What’s going to make them get over their inertia, and out into the real world of B2B marketing? The opportunity to meet like-minded people as a starter for ten. And creating a VIP Community will make them feel special, and offer them something different enough that they simply can’t refuse.

Choose a venue that fits the bill

A prime example of this was an event that we partnered with TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) on – a roundtable event for c-suite professionals within the utilities industry. This was the organization’s first in-person event since COVID, so had to be special enough to pique the interest of, and gain traction with, a select, time-poor group of individuals. Given the focus of the event, we suggested one of London’s most iconic landmarks as the venue – the recently renovated Battersea Power Station. And perhaps most importantly, the event connected the audience with the venue and perfectly tied in with the energy theme. The event was a huge success, with all the attendees having a fantastic time, and TCS getting the people they needed to round the table.

Although the event wasn’t geared around attracting a huge amount of people, it worked. Quality over quantity was the order of the day and proof that creating a VIP Community needn’t cost the earth. It should, however, be viewed like any other marketing activity – if you’re going to do it, you need to do it properly.

Avoid a hard sell

Another organization we worked with to create an exclusive in-person event is Send, which was part of their #SummerofLoveUnderwriting campaign. Securing a prestigious venue was key, which is why it was agreed that Wagtails Rooftop Bar in London would be perfect. Send’s goal was to bring together prospects and key CXO customers, and were thrilled that over 80 attended. There were no speakers, and no hard sell – it was purely a networking event that fitted perfectly with their target audience, given underwriting is a tightly-knit community where everyone knows one another and works within a one-mile radius of The City of London.

Take back control

In addition to offering something unique to prospects and clients, there are other valuable reasons for creating a VIP Community as well. It allows you to become less reliant on other media channels and puts the control into your hands. As you own the data from creating a VIP Community it provides you with a vehicle for delivering ongoing communications as well. Not everyone will come to every event, but it’s like being an Amex platinum cardholder or part of a frequent flyer program. If they feel part of a community, they’ll be happy to receive comms.

Make your budget work

Creating a VIP Community is achievable with whatever budget is at your disposal. The most important elements are uniqueness and desirability. Once you’ve nailed those, you’re more than halfway there. We’ve started exploring how we can develop VIP Communities with two of our most prestigious clients and are excited about their progression.

To find out how we can help you create a VIP Community, please contact the team, so they can devise the best solution so you can achieve your goals.

Jon is a highly experienced, commercially focused B2B marketing leader and trusted advisor with a track record of deep audience insight, strategy, digital marketing transformation, and creating award-winning and performance-focused campaigns for global organizations. 

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