The heart and floral accents adorning marketing campaigns and shops around Valentine’s Day are unavoidable. So why fight it? We got first-hand accounts from businesses to find out what their plans are to leverage the commercial holiday of love
Whether you’re a hopeless romantic or the very notion of sending a card to someone on February 14 makes your blood run cold, the sales figures Valentine’s Day conjures up are nothing short of impressive. According to Savvy, the shopper marketing agency, the 2019 spend for Valentine’s Day is set to hit £853m. That’s a 7.8% rise on 2018 as lovers splash out on everything from experiences and jewellery to dinner and drinks. Therefore, it’s as clear as an engagement ring diamond why businesses want to get into the Valentine’s Day spirit.
That said, there doesn’t have to be a romantic connection to show affection. “Palentine’s Day” will be celebrated by single friends who will spend time together on the day – something 21% of millennials will do according to savings site VoucherCodes.co.uk. In fact, they would spend £39.90 for a mate date, which is 30% more than they’d spend on a partner. As you can see, it’s a win-win for businesses.
And on the theme of singletons, At Your Beat, the dance and fitness studio, is catering to those without partners in a bid to promote self-love. It will mark the second year Valentine’s Day classes have been held in the UK and the first time they’ve been introduced to the Big Apple branch in Brooklyn. “The reception first time around in the UK was fantastic – the event sold out which is why this year, we have added additional classes to cope with demand,” Joelle’ D’Fontaine, the founder and creative director of At Your Beat, tells Elite Business. “We now have a whole afternoon of events specially curated for Valentines.”
He notes that while most At Your Beat workshops sell out, Valentine’s sessions seem to sell like hotcakes. And the reason for that is the way that the classes are promoted to customers. “We really focus on self-love and body confidence in our classes and our business model has always been to build an inclusive and diverse AYB family,” says D’ Fontaine. This is in line with member testimonials, which show many attendees go to classes to improve their confidence. “In fact, some people might actually call them anti-Valentine’s classes because we totally throw the couples thing out the window and focus on being individual and owning that.” While dance fitness is ultimately about fun and looking after your health, D’ Fontaine adds that the goal for At Your Beat is “helping members feeling sexy and powerful in their own skin”.
To that end, he believes more companies should promote self-love all year round. “There’s so much out there for couples and it’s a hugely pressurised time for people that aren’t in a relationship,” says D’ Fontaine. “I have personally spoken to our members who tell me they love what we are doing because Valentines is normally a really stressful and lonely weekend.”
Meanwhile over in Surrey, Farnham-based digital agency Hyped Marketing supports local SMEs and plans to show its gratitude to clients with a personal touch this Valentine’s Day, which it believes will strengthen business relationships. “As a digital marketing agency we are lucky to have the internal resource to be able to send personalised Valentines Day cards to each of our clients with clever puns to bring a smile on their face related to their industry,” says Hyped account manager April Young. Expect the business to go punning for gold in search of treasures like “Make the first move” for those in property and “You already have the password to my heart” for IT clients.
Outside of retention in a bid to expand brand awareness, staff from the agency will post themselves at the local train station to show love to commuters with tempting treats in the form of retro sweets. Additionally, those who doodle an image of what love means to them will have the chance to win a set of headphones. “We’ve also pulled together a targeted local business campaign where they will receive our package in a package of personalised packets of Swizzles Love Hearts with the core six elements of our marketing package on which will be delivered by hand by the team across Farnham,” adds Young. “To us, personalisation is incredibly important as it is our genuine, organic relationships that our staff build with clients that remains at the core of our company values. Our marketing packages are unique and we want that to be reflected in all that we do.”
Another company focusing on the local element is ShopAppy, a marketplace that allows small independent shops and businesses showcase their wares online. So rather than Valentine’s Day, ShopAppy has launched a campaign called Love Local Day that it’ll celebrate on February 14. Jackie Mulligan, founder of ShopAppy, details: “Love Local Day is designed to remind people to support local. We have so many fabulous businesses locally so this February 14 we want to get more people sharing how much they love where they live and the businesses closest to their hearts.”
For example, a vote for the favourite business in Hertfordshire town Stevenage took place over the past week and the winner will receive flowers on the day from the deputy mayor. Additional votes can be made on social media, which will result in extra bouquets sent from florists. Elsewhere, customers that embrace the local love will have the chance to win £50 ShopAppy vouchers through a Facebook competition. “It will be lovely to send some of the UK’s most loved shops a bouquet of flowers,” adds Mulligan. “At ShopAppy we know how happy places can make us feel. We want more people to be able to support their own areas.”
Finally, with a name like Lakelovers, this provider of getaways in the Lake District almost had no option but to make Valentine’s Day part of its marketing mix. “We have a diverse portfolio which includes an abundance of cottages which are extremely romantic,” says Emma Heath, office supervisor of Lakelovers. Using a strategic combination of social media and email marketing, the business is well-placed to set the mood. “Each year we see large demand for these particular styles of properties thanks to their idyllic and private location within the beautiful setting of the Lake District,” adds Heath. With requests for everything from log burners to hot tubs, it’s clear customers want to keep the fires burning and Lakelovers is only too glad to help.
So whether it’s a quirky approach to cater to a different audience, showing your clients some love or a more traditional consumer proposition, there are many different methods that businesses can take to warm hearts this Valentine’s Day.