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Posts Tagged ‘email marketers’

CupidHolidays are popular for email marketing with Valentine’s Day the second largest retail date in the calendar making it a major marketing coup. I can’t help be cynical that it happens to fall so soon after Christmas, helping boosting revenues after the post-Sales slump.  Email marketers are only just drawing breath from the Christmas rush and January sales campaign activity when it’s time to start dropping the V-day teasers.  The fight is on for Inbox supremacy and the all-important clicks to tempt a purchase, almost as fiercely as in the ramp-up to Christmas.

A conversation amongst friends over dinner recently argued for a boycott of lavish Valentine’s Day presents or trips away.  You’ll be unsurprised to learn it was mainly the blokes who were protesting, ‘surely breakfast in bed is proof enough of my love!?’  but we ladies were concordant with the general sentiment that it’s the thought that counts when expressing love and affection, not the price tag.  Retailers have an even bigger fight on their hands if men are less inclined to throw money at the problem.

 We’re all caught up in the growing national mood of eschewing crass consumerism in favour of spending quality time with friends and loved-ones or giving home-made or ‘meaningful’ gifts.   In one way, this piles on even more pressure for us as consumers to find the perfect ‘thoughtful’ V-day gift, and for marketers they need to be more and more imaginative. 

It’s a bit of a minefield:  men are under a huge amount of pressure to buy the perfect thoughtful, tasteful, romantic gift at the right price-point for their beloved (as a rule of thumb, the more recent the relationship, the more they have to spend); women want to find the perfect understated-yet-cool gift that won’t send him running for the hills; singletons may be ignoring V-day completely or are somewhat embittered by persistent reminders of their single status, so they should be encouraged to treat themselves (saucy underwear, pampering or foodie gifts good here); everyone should be encouraged to remember their mum or sis or best mate, especially if they won’t be spending it with a significant other. And the sentiment behind the campaign must plug into the target group’s mindset – romance, affection, cynicism, self-love or down-right raunchy?

The onus to be romantic is more on men than women. It’s a brave man that really does stick with breakfast in bed, even with posh toast and a single red rose. Men spend more than 40% than women, with most of them making their gift purchase the week before. A third of men buy their gift online. Almost 40% of women plan to spend nothing but may splash out on special underwear or cook a meal for their partner (source: Discovery Cards)

For me and my friends this year, we’re not looking to spend much but we are looking for inspiration from retailers, so enewsletters featuring creative or unusual  gift/experience ideas, or editorial suggesting romantic ways to spend the day, will be well-received. 

Looking back over my inbox last year. ASOS had by far the best subject line, ‘Stop in the name of love’ (I rate this as it pretty much appeals to all the aforementioned target V-day sentiments). The airlines and holiday companies had variously inspiring trip offers (Ryan Air’s ‘Flight deals you will love’ – trust me, don’t go budget for Valentine’s, stay at home instead). Apple gave it a good shot with ‘Show the Love. Give an iPod this Valentine’s Day (I’d recommend uploading a special playlist).  Fortnum and Mason were typically proactive with their excellent selection of picnic hampers.

But overwhelmingly I noticed a lack of even simple targeting – male/female being the most obvious. Or creating urgency – surely a winner for blokes: remove the stress and get it sorted NOW.  I didn’t spot any unusual suggestions from either big-name retailers or small boutique brands, like a ‘perfect night in’ package (candles, rug, picnic), or ‘for the girl who has everything’ (a small and unusual gift from a small retailer)

I received my first 2010 V-mail yesterday, from Kodak (‘Take your Valentine’s Day personally’), and  I spotted V-day offers in newsletters as early as the 7th December (eg. British Airways offering discounted V-day breaks, as it falls conveniently on a Sunday this year). Early birds going for highly-organised worms indeed.  The guys in my office commented, ‘who the hell thinks of Valentine’s this early in the year’ which I must say I agree with, seeing as it’s barely mid-Jan, we’re all skint and grumpy, but I did point out that V-day is just over 3 weeks away, which turned a few of them visibly pale.

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