In the U.S.A. alone, Valentine’s Day related sales are expected to exceed a record breaking $20.7 billion. Brands – big and small – flex their marketing muscles during this holiday to romance their customers and grow revenue.
Here are five strategies that drive engagement and sales during the Valentine’s Day gift-giving season.
It’s Not Just About Hearts and Chocolates
Jewelry, candy and flowers top the list of commonly purchased gifts for Valentine’s Day, totaling over $10 billion in sales. The straightforward strategy is to stock up on these products. But how do companies that don’t sell romantic products or gifts capture some of the Valentine’s Day market?
By knowing what consumers are typically looking for, savvy marketers are using their campaigns to provide alternative gift ideas.
BirchboxMan, a monthly subscription service for men’s grooming supplies, launched a better-than-chocolate campaign for a previous Valentine’s Day – a subtle attack on traditional Valentine’s Day gifts. This year they published a compilation of gifts “that he’ll actually use”, again encouraging the consumer to go beyond the traditional gift options.
Influence Shoppers with User-Generated Content
Social media referrals convert sales: 71% of consumers are likely to buy an item when it is recommended on social media. Engaging customers and influencers to create content, posted with a branded hashtag, increases traffic to your brand. Since 25% of search engine results go to user generated content, this can have a tremendous impact on sales.
MeUndies invited couples to don matching MeUndies sets and post the pic on their social media channels with the branded hashtag #matchmeundies. This campaign strengthened their brand profile through playful and authentic customer photos. The brand also saw increased demand for their product.
Valentine’s Day Is Not Just for Couples
Not everyone celebrates Valentine’s Day. In fact, almost half of consumers don’t. This segment can still be engaged to shop during the holiday. Singles will spend an estimated $1.85 billion on themselves on Valentine’s Day. Self-care and ‘gal’-entines, spending the holiday with other single girlfriends, are trending Valentine’s Day alternatives.
Deliveroo conducted market research that showed 1 in 4 people would rather spend Valentine’s Day with their friends, and that 37% of couples said they would welcome a third person joining them for dinner. The resulting ‘third-wheel’ campaign resulted in great media coverage, with the video going viral.
Over 50% of web traffic is via mobile devices. In-app activity will increase 20% leading up to Valentine’s Day and almost all last-minute orders will be via a mobile device. Brands that do not take advantage of the Valentine’s Day e-commerce peak by creating powerful mobile consumer experiences will miss out.
Savvy marketers who are taking a multi-prong approach to drive mobile sales are:
1. Making sure that the mobile experience is as good as it would be on the desktop, because testing mobile sites to prevent loading issues prevents abandoned shopping carts.
2. Making gift-choosing easy. Filtering and searching should be simple and intuitive.
3. Publishing relevant content to drive mobile activity by offering discounts and promo codes to close the deal.
Create Memorable Experiences
Valentine’s Day is an opportunity for customers to interact with a brand and create positive memories. Experiential marketing or event-based marketing invites consumers to get to know a brand through their senses. These experiences are then shared on social media through user-generated content, creating a buzz and influencing sales.
As part of their initiative to spread love for flowers, the Flower Council of Holland deployed #cupidrone above Verona on Valentine’s Day in 2015. Armed with red roses, the drone’s mission was to find “enamored couples and lonely souls who are looking for love” and connect them through the power of a flower. The drone delivered roses to couples throughout a day – mixing technology and the simple act of gift-giving – to create an undeniably memorable experience.
Valentine’s Day presents an opportunity to launch creative and impactful marketing campaigns that connect brand and consumers. EU Business School offers a range of programs, including a Master in Marketing and an MBA in International Marketing, which teach the latest in digital marketing strategies and gives student the skills to push marketing boundaries and engage consumers in new, creative ways.