Valentine’s Day – love the love or hate the hype

Grant Robinson
Find an edge when Valentine’s Day rolls around. The industry is worth over 30 billion dollars globally and offers numerous marketing opportunities. Love it or loathe it, there’s no denying there is a mighty big pie from which to take your slice.



You are a relatively small business e-commerce manager. Valentine’s Day looms. You maybe heady with anticipation about the whole event. The marketing opportunities and the receiving gifts and cards of adoration. You may look on with contempt as so many fools succumb to another in a long list of hallmark hypes. Yet, still looking forward to the marketing boon that presents itself every Feb. 14th. You could be anywhere in between. Valentine’s Day is an equal opportunity marketing field day.
Valentine’s Day is a phenomenon. It represents the highest spending day on cards and gifts, flowers and novelties outside of Christmas. Valentine’s Day is worth an estimated 30 billion dollars globally and growing every year. These kind of statistics set marketing managers opportunity radars pinging like crazy.
The marketing opportunities abound as this day gets the attention of the whole western world. What is the self-employed or medium-sized marketer to do? The great thing is Valentine’s Day has been hyped for centuries. It isn’t like a product launch where you are responsible for the whole show. Valentine’s day needs no explanation only the work of imagination.
These interesting Valentine facts. Contemporary trends appearing for 2018. Getting ready, top tips and Valentine miscellanea are offered as prompts for the marketer’s imagination.


Up until 1969, there had been up to eleven Valentine’s Days per year as celebrated by the church. Valentine’s had been martyred and sainted by the church for centuries. It is believed Rome was responsible for the first Saints Valentine. Two men named Valentine were executed by the emperor Claudius II on Feb. 14th in two separate years during the 3rd century AD.
Men and women tend to shop differently.


  • Segment email lists into genders. Men and women tend to shop differently.
  • Solve their problems with preemptive answers in email content and headings.
  • Promote gift cards. Indecision can be the decision maker.



Further back than Claudius II, but still in Rome, there was the celebration of Lupercalia. The days February 13 to 15 were spent drunk by men engaging in the ritualistic flagellation of young women with fresh animal hides. If this wasn’t bizarre enough as a misunderstanding of the functions of fertility, each poor lass was forced to be raffled off and bound to a drunkard for the duration of the festival.


  • Onsite prompts like banner messages and pop-ups help to generate positive conversion rates when Valentine’s shopping.
  • Provide shoppers with gift ideas. Men especially will procrastinate, but spend 80% more than women.
  • Help and direction can provide a shopping experience that converts a shopper into a paying customer.

Provide shoppers with gift ideas.


It was during the middle ages, that handmade cards made an appearance. The girls thought it was far better than being raffled and whipped. Anonymous declarations of love were the tradition. Valentine’s cards were sent from secret admirer to the admiree. Over recent decades Valentine’s Day has morphed into declarations of love and admiration with little anonymity left in the mix.


  • Offer free shipping. When everyone is competing with global behemoths, free shipping on Valentine’s Day is the deal-sealing thing to do.
  • Market to mobile shoppers. That’s mobile phone shoppers not shoppers on the move. They account for 50% of the web traffic.
  • Don’t forget about single people. They were the original beneficiaries of the spirit of Valentine’s Day. Encourage single shoppers to treat themselves.



“You can’t love someone else until you learn to love yourself.” This mantra is a truism for many and is a great alternative way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. In the global wake of #metoo and #LGBTQ awareness, there is a trending Tumblr push this year. Celebrating the alone but not lonely and self-love, self-acceptance and self-empowerment. This suits those not wanting or needing validation from someone else or participating in the mainstream hype.


  • Understand Valentine’s Day buyers trends and how your store relates. Although the traditional things trend heavily, the internet is connected to everyone. There are bloody Valentines, doggy Valentines, kitty Valentines and expressions of love in a thousand different forms.
  • Even when you aren’t selling Valentine products, you can have Valentine’s promotions. Travel sees an increase in traffic in the week leading up to February 14.



The nature of Valentine’s Day makes most things eminently disposable. In an increasingly environmentally aware marketplace distributing things that will be thrown away relatively quickly can paint you as some kind of terrorist. Get creative with recycled objects or permanent and functional gifts. Focussing on the permanent and not the frivolous ensures solid planet credibility and is a fraught lover’s metaphor.


Most of all communicate clearly. Pop-ups, banner ads, promotional blogs and niche branding stealth attacks need good language. Make sure the people you are talking to understand what you are saying. Clear communication means less procrastination and abandonments and leads to clean conversions. Happy Valentine’s Day!