3 Lessons B2B Marketers Can Learn from Valentine’s Day

Whether you’re a fan of Valentine’s Day or are just happy it’s over, one thing is certain: Valentine’s Day is a marketing-driven holiday. This year, as always, marketers capitalized on our needs to shower our loved ones with flowers, candy and cards on February 14th. While Valentine’s Day is typically thought of as an occasion for consumer spending, there are a few things B2B marketers can learn from yesterday’s holiday. For example:

  1. Emotions matter. Think of all the emotions that play into the average Valentine’s Day customer’s purchasing decision–things like uncertainty, nervousness, frustration and maybe even love. If you turned on your TV at all this week, you undoubtedly saw several Valentine’s Day ads depicting surprised girlfriends and happy couples. These ads play to the emotions of the holiday, and they work. According to Time Magazine, American consumers are expected to spend $17.6 billion dollars on Valentine’s Day this year when all is said and done (up 6.1% from 2011). While B2B customers are commonly considered far more rational and less emotional than the average consumer, it has become clear that emotions do matter  in B2B marketing. We could all take a lesson from Valentine’s Day marketers on the value of developing emotional ties to our products and services.
  2. Email marketing can be more effective at off-peak times. As with most holidays, Valentine’s Day presents an opportunity to marketers to blast out emails offering special promotions and deals. In fact, according to a study from Experian CheetahMail (via Marketing Profs) Valentine’s Day is one of the holidays with the highest volume of promotional emails next to the Christmas shopping “holidays” (black Friday, Cyber Monday etc.). Interestingly, though, the holidays with the highest volume of promotional email do not drive more transactions. Instead, Memorial Day, one of the lower email holidays, drives the highest number of transactions (.31% of Memorial Day emails result in transactions vs. .20% on both Valentine’s Day and Black Friday). So what does this mean for B2B marketers? It seems to indicate that people become overwhelmed when they receive too many promotional emails over a short period of time, and that they’re more likely to make purchases as a result of emails received during off-peak times. B2B marketers should identify peak promotional times in their specific industries, and then consider decreasing or eliminating promotional emails during those times.
  3. Holidays aren’t just for consumer marketing. Sure, Valentines day lends itself more to consumer marketers, but with a little creativity, B2B marketers can find a way to get in on the action. Take PricewaterhouseCoopers, for example. According to Smarta, the accounting firm is using the holiday as a recruitment opportunity. PwC representatives visited  campuses in the UK in the week leading up to Valentine’s Day with PWC-branded heart-shaped balloons that they hoped students would carry around throughout the day. While Valentine’s Day might not be a fit for every B2B brand, holidays certainly can present marketing opportunities, and B2B marketers should take notice.

Tell us, are you learning any other valuable B2B marketing lessons this Valentine’s Day?

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