February is here and that means shelves are stocked with assorted chocolates, pink and red trinkets, and cards featuring language as flowery as the literal bouquets next to them. Shelves aren’t the only things getting filled with Valentine’s Day cheer—inboxes, whether email, SMS, or otherwise—are too. Without a major tentpole holiday in the early months of the year, brands tend to take advantage of the lovey-dovey holiday and run major promotions.
Not all of these promotional messages hit the mark, however. To be the most impactful, brands should aim to align their holiday promotions with what the audience is looking for, what their brand offers, and the channel they’re sent through. In other words, trying to force a connection to Valentine’s Day might come across as disingenuous—not the type of impression you want to make on the holiday of love and affection. It’s not all bad, though. Some brands are playing to their strengths and using Valentine’s Day marketing messaging to make an impact.
1. Aligning With the Audience
What’s something everyone makes on Valentine’s Day? Reservations. Resy, the reservation app, is well aware of this and knows some people may wait until the very last minute to secure a table. They sent a Valentine’s Day marketing message giving users the opportunity to add themselves to multiple waiting lists at already-full restaurants in the hopes of getting a seat. `
But that’s not all. To align with their audience, Resy uses location-based marketing to send hyper-individualized content to users. The body copy speaks specifically to Chicago-based customers and it’s likely this copy changes to reflect where each customer is located.
On top of that, Resy aims to ensure that the dynamic content displayed in the email is in fact relevant. So, in an attempt to collect zero-party data, they ask the user if Chicago is the correct location and, if not, they offer solutions. Brand alignment, location-based dynamic content, and zero-party data collection—we’re in love.
2. Aligning With the Brand
While it’s obviously important to align your messaging with the audience, it’s also important to align messaging with your brand. In the previous example, Resy aligns their brand—a reservation app—with a classic Valentine’s Day scenario: the reservation scramble. Unsplash, the stock photo library, aligns their Valentine’s Day marketing emails to their brand as well.
In a maybe not-so-obvious pairing, Unsplash partnered with Match, the dating site, to create curated Valentine’s Day image libraries. Match is known for creating love connections and Unsplash is known for delivering high-quality stock images, so the two brands are playing to their strengths. They even call out the specific members of Match’s Brand Marketing team that curated the collection. Plus, we know that brand partnerships are valuable for gathering second-party data, so Match and Unsplash are likely benefitting on the backend from this collaboration.
This email also aligns with Unsplash’s audience. Marketers (like us) will probably need Valentine’s Day stock images (for example, the header image of this blog post) to populate their February marketing collateral. This email provides a great resource for presumably a large portion of Unsplash’s audience.
3. Aligning With the Channel
Lastly, we can’t forget about the channel. We wouldn’t be Iterable if we didn’t also touch on mobile. HBO Max, the streaming service, has a mobile app and—assuming users have opted in to receive notifications—can send push notifications right to their phones. With a 21% engagement rate, taking advantage of this marketing channel can be incredibly beneficial.
While this information could be (and probably also was) sent via email, this push notification is different because it can appear on a tablet or mobile device, linking users immediate access to the app content on the same device. Sure, you and your betrothed may not want to huddle around an iPhone to watch a romantic movie, but this serves as a good reminder a) about Valentine’s Day in general and b) to choose a movie to watch.
It’s important to note the timestamp on the notification as well. It wasn’t sent at eight in the evening or eight in the morning—it was sent before someone may leave for a romantic reservation (thanks, Resy!), giving the recipient plenty of time to plan.
Love is in the
While some Valentine’s Day marketing messages can err on the side of cheesy, it is possible to create campaigns that provide value. By aligning with your audience, your brand, and the channels through which you send your messages, you’ll be able to set yourself apart from the generic batch-and-blast, heart-filled campaigns.
Remember, rather than aligning with just one of the above examples, the goal is to cover all three—the trifecta—in every message. For example if you align with brand and audience but send a lengthy message via SMS and images don’t populate correctly, the message won’t be well-received (literally and figuratively). Every channel serves a purpose to be sure that while maintaining audience and brand relevance, you’re also playing to the strengths of each marketing channel.
While tackling brand, audience, and channel may seem overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. With the right customer communication platform consolidating your customer data, personalizing journeys, and creating channel-specific content can be a breeze.
To learn how Iterable can help you create relevant, timely, individualized marketing campaigns with ease, schedule a demo.