Right smack in the coldest part of winter is a day that makes most women rub their hands together in anticipation and men to shiver in fear. Women start thinking of love and romance, hearts, chocolates and flowers and men start contemplating the consequences of what happens if they get it wrong. Of course, what I’m talking about is Valentine’s Day.
According to the National Retail Federation, total 2013 spending for Valentine’s Day in the United States will reach $18.6 Billion — an average of $130.97 per person, so from a sales and marketing standpoint, Valentine’s Day is a retailer’s bonanza. If you look at Valentine’s Day from a practical, marketing perspective, I think you’ll agree that there are some interesting lessons that the business owner can learn from the hoopla of Valentine’s Day.
1. Get personal
One of the reasons Valentine’s Day is popular, is people usually take the time and make the effort to think about what that recipient would like. Light or dark chocolate? With or without nuts? Orchids, roses or a practical Aloe Vera plant? A lighthearted funny card or one dripping with romance? Just as the gift-giver (hopefully) chooses carefully, so should the marketer. Properly marketing to your customers, requires understanding your demographics. It means understanding likes and dislikes, interests, beliefs and a lot more. Know your customer as well as you know your best friend…because, in many ways, your customer should be your friend.
2. Give a Gift
For a marketer, it doesn’t matter what product you’re selling, giving a gift makes an impression. And, if you’re familiar with their demographics, then the gift you give will be something they appreciate. However, beware of giving something that could be perceived as a Trojan Horse. If you give roses to someone who’s allergic to flowers or chocolates to a diabetic, that gift simply won’t be appreciated or valued, so make sure that you’re giving something that is useful. So, while you might not be sending chocolates and roses, your customers will appreciate a coupon, discount or other small freebie that you can offer them.
3. Be Thoughtful
As I’ve mentioned before, understanding your customer’s is paramount to success. Don’t just slap together something just to get it out of the way. Make sure that the marketing and advertising is accurately targeted toward your customer.
4. Get on the Bandwagon
I pity the fool who doesn’t gauge how important Valentine’s Day (or any holiday or special occasion) is, and misses or ignores it. One of the easiest ways to market is to take advantage of holidays and special occasions, and create campaigns and advertising that ties into current events. An easy way to instantly market is to look at the current hot topics and trends in the search engines and social media.
5. Plan Ahead
Sometimes people procrastinate and wind up grabbing something at the last minute just to have anything to give. Although the idea is not to minimize the relationship, sometimes the recipient feels that way. As a marketer, it’s essential that you plan your advertising and marketing campaigns in advance. This allows you to make changes, improvements and understand the wants and needs of your customers. And, by accurately targeting your customer, you can laser point (which saves you time, energy and money), rather than a shotgun approach.
6. Where is the Love?
Previously we’ve discussed the recipient, however, perhaps the most important question is: Why are you marketing? Is this just to grab a sale or short term customer or are you in this “relationship” for the long haul? When you think about it, Valentine’s Day is about love. It’s about showing that you care for and are invested in a relationship. Just as relationships are reciprocal, so is the bond between you and your customers. If you don’t love what you’re doing, the product or service you’re selling and those you’re selling to, then this relationship is probably not going to last.
While it’s nice to have a special day, it’s even more important to realize that the same thought put into showing someone you care should be shown not just on Valentine’s Day, but throughout the rest of the year too.
It doesn’t really matter what product or service you’re marketing, think about the connection and how you can more effectively show you care about your customers…and I’ll guarantee they’ll start to care about you.