Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Although a dreaded annual event for single people and the perpetually unromantic, the holiday actually represents a significant money-making opportunity for firms in many sectors.
February 14th will likely see a peak in consumer spending. Even if yours is not a product or service that would be immediately associated with Valentine’s Day, you may wish to consider ways in which you can use it as a marketing opportunity. Regardless of the nature of your business, you should try to ensure that you are well placed to take advantage of this and other seasonal festivals.
Businesses operating in the entertainment and hospitality industries are of course in the best position to benefit from the Valentine’s Day splurge. Many restaurateurs and hoteliers suggest that February 14th is the busiest day of the year and, while this has obvious advantages, it poses some significant problems.
Competition amongst such businesses is high during this period, and you must take extra steps to ensure that your business stands out from the crowd. It is worth remembering that, for many consumers, price is less of a differentiator on Valentine’s Day than at other times. Many people are more interested in having, and giving, the best experience possible rather than the cheapest. As such, you should consider concentrating on the quality of your proposition, rather than finding ways to cut costs.
If you run a restaurant, hotel or similar business, you should also think about devoting the entire day (or weekend in this year’s case) to Valentine’s-themed events. For example, restaurant owners should certainly consider running a special Valentine’s Day menu and hotels may wish to take extra care decorating rooms romantically. You should be aiming to fill your establishment entirely with Valentine’s Day customers – these are likely to spend more than conventional passing trade.
Most retailers already take advantage of Valentines spending, but even those that don’t usually get involved, can get in on the act. If you are a fashion store, why not come up with special outfits for first dates group those products together in your store. There is also money to be made on emergency gifts. Seeing the number of men queuing for flowers and chocolates the day before and even on the day itself should be enough to convince you to at least sell some of these items temporarily.
If you have customer-facing premises, and passing trade makes up a significant proportion of your income, you should think about ways that you can decorate your frontage to make it more eye-catching. Even small things like some strategically placed roses on Valentine’s Day will not go unnoticed.
Finding a way to leverage the marketing potential of Valentine’s Day can be more difficult for firms operating in an industry without any obvious connection to the event. But almost regardless of the nature of your business, you can use Valentine’s Day to give your marketing efforts a unique boost.
Your potential clients are likely to already be tuned into Valentine’s Day language – panicked, as they will inevitably be, by the necessity to impress their other half. Think about adopting some of this language in your marketing activities. You might, for example, take out an ad in your local paper containing plays on words and phrases associated with Valentine’s Day, or using related imagery.
You might also consider joining forces with a local business in the hospitality industry. If yours is a local firm, you may be able to boost this by running a promotion in partnership with a local hotel or restaurant. Your customers could be entered into a draw to win a meal, or they might receive a discount voucher with their purchase.
Annual festivals and celebrations like Valentine’s Day provide useful marketing opportunities. You should take some steps to ensure that you are well prepared to make the most of them in the future.
You might wish to consider building up a stock of marketing materials relating to some of the major festivals. They come around quickly, and it can be helpful to have adverts and copy ready to go in advance. If you are a retailer you should pay particular attention to your Christmas marketing; this is the most important period for many retailers, and some spend several months getting their marketing efforts right.
Other times which are great for making some extra revenue are Easter, the summer holidays, back-to-school and Halloween. You should also look out for other events like the release of a major film (Avatar springs to mind) – these things generate trends and markets for certain products and merchandise.
Finally, you should remember that your efforts might not have an immediate impact on your sales – but this does not mean that they have failed. While retailers and those in the hospitality industry will ideally see an increase in footfall, firms in other industries might not notice any tangible effect.
But marketing is as much about increasing awareness as it is about increasing sales. Identifying your business with the personal lives of your customers can have a significant and beneficial long term effect on your business.
So don’t be hard hearted this Valentine’s Day. Embrace the festival – and your business will thank you.
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