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Clever Cupid

Promoting Valentine's Day is more than just popular iconography like hearts and roses. It comes back to knowing who your customers are and how to reach them.

Valentine's Day isn't just for lovers. It's estimated that Australian sweethearts collectively part with millions of dollars in the lead up to 14 February. This makes the annual event an ideal marketing opportunity for a multitude of florists, card-makers, restaurateurs, chocolate sellers and lingerie retailers.

But with so many companies trying to cash-in on the day, it's important to bear in mind a few key marketing rules to ensure your cupid hits the mark.

Know your customers

Valentine's Day gift buyers are all different.

But they do fall within two broad categories. There's the love-struck who are determined to find that ‘special something'. And then there's the guilt-driven, those who buy gifts out of feelings of guilt or obligation.

Knowing this will give you an idea about who to target and what they're prepared to pay.

The ‘love-struck' will need a fair bit of convincing that yours is the right gift but you can bet they are less concerned about the price tag.

Your typical ‘guilt-driven' buyer is likely to be less discerning. Convenience and price are likely to be more top-of-mind considerations for this group.

Deciding which group to pitch to will inform how much to spend on promotion and where you sell. For example, if convenience is a high priority, then think about selling online and throwing in free delivery.

Stand out from the crowd

It's one hell of a crowded marketplace come Valentine's Day. Even your less than traditional companies are jumping on the lovers' bandwagon.

So it's important to stand out. Take a peek at what the competition has on offer and think carefully about your point-of-difference.

Price is one way to stand out. Your offer could be the least expensive. The service station turn flower shop is probably cheaper than the florist on high street. But is it the best?

Another option is to be unique. One great example is by music outfit, Romance Outsourced, who'll write a love song for your special someone.

Promote, promote, promote

Promoting Valentine's Day is more than just popular iconography like hearts and roses. It comes back to knowing who your customers are and how to reach them.

A great number of Australians are bound to a desk from nine to five (sometimes longer) on a daily basis. So, taking your promotion to their workplace is one way to reach them.

It's said that nine million Australians visit Facebook every day. It's fair to guess that many of us are jumping on to the popular social media site during work hours too, making it a good option for reaching a variety of gift buyers.

Whatever your promotional choice, remember to think about how you're going to make the sale and get the product into your customer's hands.

Make sure it adds up

Marketers tend to leave this to the accountants. But it's important to understand the cost of your Valentine's Day push and its impact on the business.

Doing a ‘cost/benefit' analysis before you go ahead could save you a whole lot of heartache when the sales figures come in on 15 February.

What's the plan, Jan?

Finally, it's important to remember that Valentine's Day rolls around just once a year.

So to make sure you don't blow your entire marketing budget in February, take the time to sit down and plan. An annual marketing plan will ensure that all activities, decisions and spending support your overall business objectives.

TAFE NSW offers a range of marketing courses. For more information call 131 601 or visit TAFE NSW.

Make it a happy (and profitable) Valentine's Day ☺