The Valentine’s Day Shift: How To Make A Love Connection With Your Consumers
Are you ready for Valentine's Day? Contributor Melissa Feemster discusses how you can prep for shifts in customers, products, and dates.
It’s no surprise that each year, Valentine’s Day advertising focuses on love, romance and affection. It’s a time where men and women around the world try and find the perfect gift in the form of flowers, tasty chocolates and sparkling jewelry.
Despite the fact that the bulk of Valentine’s Day purchases are attributed to a few select categories, consumers are still spending a lot of money to find a gift for that special someone. In fact, last year in the United States, consumers spent $17.3 billion on Valentine’s Day gifts alone.
As February 14th quickly approaches, the competition to attract consumers is tough. As marketers, you need to ensure you’re creating compelling campaigns — campaigns designed to attract, engage and convert online shoppers.
You still have time to impact your Valentine’s campaigns to make them more successful. By incorporating a few of the best practices outlined below, you are sure to drive record sales for your brand this Valentine’s season.
The Shift In Customers
Start with the right target market. Knowing who is making the buying decision can help you tailor your message in these next critical days. In the flower vertical, the demographic of the “buyer” shifts dramatically when it comes to Valentine’s Day.
This is why floral relay service Teleflora focuses on including both men and women in their marketing messages. “It’s the one floral holiday a year where men are a major element of the customer base, meaning a heavier focus on male-dominated marketing vehicles,” Rian K. Long, Director of Online Marketing at Teleflora, told me in a recent email exchange.
But Teleflora also knows that women think of the holiday differently than men do. Totran T. Radke, Senior Manager of Online Marketing at Teleflora, has this to say:
[blockquote]While it’s true that men will buy mostly for romantic reasons it’s actually women who use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to express their love and care to their family, friends, and significant others.[/blockquote]
Women tend to purchase a wider array of products and make multiple purchases. In fact, statistics show that 58 percent of women will give a gift to someone other than their spouse/significant other, and 19 percent of women will buy something completely for themselves.
The Shift In Products
As mentioned, the most popular 2014 Valentine’s Day products purchased were flowers, chocolate and jewelry, with red roses comprising 61 percent of all flower types purchased. But, retailers are starting to broaden their product offering, adding live plants, fresh fruit, and other gift options to the standard mix of gifts.
In order to best showcase these products (and more), it’s important to think about how they fit with a publisher’s site and their target audience. Be sure that you are part of every category where your products might be relevant.
Ensure your website navigation makes finding products easy for consumers; send the right links to the right pages and emphasize clear promotions and values. Additionally, be ready to capture consumers on the go, with mobile-specific offers and creative designed to rescue a distressed consumer who might feel late to the game.
Competition for prime real estate heats up on publisher sites very early. Consider offering double cash back on key purchasing days to stand out from the competition on loyalty sites. Book your email inclusions in newsletters as early as possible for the best above the fold spots.
And, consider offering more commissions to publishers on some of the products mentioned above that might not be in the immediate consideration set for gifts in order to incentivize them to push those products on your behalf.
The Shift In Days
As with Thanksgiving and Christmas, the road to Valentine’s Day is getting longer and longer (read more about “Black November”). No sooner than mid-December, retailers are starting to mix discounted Christmas trees with big red hearts full of chocolate. Consumers start to think about the holiday, and retailers benefit from an extended promotional window.
In planning your promotional calendar, it’s important to note when consumers are shopping. Last year saw different devices taking the lead on different days and for different products in the run up to Valentine’s Day. A review of our network data from last year revealed that:
- February 11th was the busiest day for purchases made on personal computers.
- Comparatively, February 12th was peak for sales on tablets and mobile phones.
- Additionally, February 11th was the best converting day for gifts, at around 12 percent.
- February 10th was the best converting day for Food & Drink Advertisers, at around 9 percent.
The day of the week when Valentine’s falls should drive your promotional and product strategy. This year, with the big day on Saturday, you can adjust your promotional messaging to encourage early buying.
It’s up you marketers, however, to spark the idea that girlfriends might like flowers on their desks all week before the big day to show off a bit at work. This helps to spread out the stress on your infrastructure, so as not to deliver all gifts on one day.
You should design different promotions to incentivize this behavior, and encourage early delivery. Think of leveraging exclusive offers to different affiliates in your base to get distribution for each day’s delivery.
You could offer one partner a deal on Monday’s delivery and another a different incentive for Tuesday, and so on. Some publishers are better at pushing offers to their social channels such as Twitter; some are better at driving consumers to stores for last minute gifts.
Think of the unique base each publisher brings to your program and leverage their strengths to reach your goals.
In order to be most successful Valentine’s Day marketer in the space, lean on your partnerships and relationships to help you through the hectic times. Work closely with your publishers to keep them up-to-date on trends and shopping patterns that can help them develop strategic, profitable advertising campaigns.
Leverage your partners’ strengths to brainstorm new ways to reach the most consumers in a short period of time. Most of all spread the love throughout your affiliate base – on Valentine’s Day and all year long. Relationships aren’t built in a day but over the long term.
And don’t forget — Mother’s Day is right around the corner. Start thinking about your campaigns as soon as February 15th!