Love thy shopper: How retailers can keep consumers interested beyond Valentine's Day

As anybody in a relationship knows, making them work takes commitment. Not that you’d know it from the annual raft of Valentine’s Day marketing activity that traditionally appears.

It seems many brands treat the event as an opportunity for a quick fumble behind the bike sheds rather than something that could lead to a more meaningful relationship.

In some ways, it’s perhaps not surprising as brands are simply responding in kind to more promiscuous shoppers. Increasingly savvy and informed shoppers are less brand loyal than ever, and are prepared to jump into bed with another brand if it comes up with a better offer. For brands to adopt a similar mindset is perhaps to be expected, but it’s the wrong thing to do.

Shopper marketers ultimately want to help brands create longer term relationships with their shoppers. Valentine’s Day is only one day, but by treating it right, brands can use it to rekindle the consumer’s romance with a brand and create some magic in-store.

Long lasting relationships are built on trust, anticipating and meeting each other’s needs, making each other’s lives easier, and bringing a little unexpected value to the relationship.

As in life, it’s often the little things that make a big impact for shoppers. What would make a shopper’s life easier? How can brands help them make the right choice? By understanding what really matters to shoppers, brands can create a little shopper loving and avoid being dumped in favour of another passing brand.

In doing so, it important to remember a few ground rules:

  • Be sincere – stay true to your brand values and don’t try to be something that you’re not. Don’t try to appeal to everyone – if you play the numbers game as a brand you risk undermining the claim that you really know and understand your audience. Find out what they love and direct your affections to them.
  • Do it with love – even though it’s a tactical campaign, don’t just dash off Valentine’s activity. If it looks cheap, so will your brand. Do it properly, or don’t bother.
  • Don’t be mean – it’s the thought that counts, but don’t neglect the consideration of some additional value for Valentine’s campaigns.
  • Make it last – Valentine’s Day is just the one day, but by investing in nurturing a relationship, it can turn into a beautiful relationship.

Valentine’s Day is a one off, but carried out correctly it has the potential to remind consumers why they love a brand, and for brands to show that love in return.

David Poole is joint managing director at LIFE

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