Have a Heart When Marketing for Valentine’s Day

Monday is Valentine’s Day, when many couples will celebrate their love. Red hearts are everywhere. Sales of candy and flowers skyrocket. There is a lot—repeat, a lot—of marketing around this holiday. But what if someone doesn’t want to see these promotions. Brands are taking note and stepping up with what is known as the “Thoughtful Marketing Movement.” Does your brand or business sell Valentine’s Day merchandise? If so, pay attention…

Valentine’s Day marketing then—and now

A staggering comparison was recently pointed out by Shoshana Gordon and Erica Pandey in Axios: During the 1970s, consumers were exposed to approximately 500 advertisements per day. Today, in the digital age, where marketing is carried out everywhere from email to banners, we are seeing nearly 5,000 ads per day. Proof of the advancements in technology? Without question. But quantity may not always be a good thing.

When holidays may not be happy for some

In the 1957 romance, “An Affair to Remember,” Deborah Kerr wistfully tells Cary Grant: “Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories.” While couples in love may enthusiastically welcome the chance to check out and select what Valentine’s Day sales that are out there, the flipside is also true: Seeing these types of adds may trigger feelings of depression or anxiety in those who are not in a romantic relationship. And as the number of 500 ads in the 1970s has escalated to 5,000 in 2022, this means that these feelings of sadness are even deeper. With this reality in mind, the Axios report states that a growing number of retailers are now scaling back on the number of any Valentine’s Day-themed ads, as well as offering customers the choice to opt-out of receiving them. This courtesy extended by retailers is the “Thoughtful Marketing Movement” in action.

The ripple effect

The “Thoughtful Marketing Movement” has evolved since 2019, when Bloom & Wild, a U.K.-based floral retailer—realizing that not everyone wanted to see the same content—gave customers the option to limit or decline emails related to Mother’s Day promotions. Since then, this personal choice has extended to include Father’s Day and Valentine’s Day, among other holidays. And, in the space of only three years, more than 150 brands have adopted the “Thoughtful Marketing Movement,” including specialty e-commerce shop, Etsy, and bedding and home goods company, Parachute. This practice proves the age-old saying: “The customer is always right.” Additionally, it is an example of how important it is for a brand to show integrity, transparency, and honesty.

Empathy and sincerity are part of the new bottom line

The “Thoughtful Marketing Movement” helps to inspire empathy and sincerity, which in turn inspires a more human touch in an increasingly automated and technological world. A personalized email does not just mean addressing the recipient by name in the greeting; it must cater to his or her wants and needs. And if these wants and needs include not receiving specific types of marketing content, so be it. As Professor Susan Dobscha of Bentley University observes, this practice gives customers a feeling of having more control and choice. This in turn could make them more receptive to brands who hold back on email bombardment.

What goes around comes around—in a good way

Brands that choose to join and practice the “Thoughtful Marketing Movement” will improve the mood and spirit of people who do not want a bunch of unwanted emails with ads promoting Valentine’s Day—or any other holiday—delivered to their online “in” box. This type of compassionate marketing may establish a sense of trust between participating brands and these reluctant recipients, who could then become prospects and even customers. They may even give a business that respects their wishes of what emails they receive a nice review at some point. So, the phrase “less is more” applies in a different but equally positive sense.

The bigger picture

The “Thoughtful Marketing Movement” is a perfect example of how brands must keep the customer top-of-mind in every aspect of their interactions, ranging from browsing to purchasing—as well as respecting their decision to not make a purchase or receive certain kinds of advertising. As observed above, when a customer decides to reject a particular sale, they aren’t rejecting the brand or business outright. When brands put in the extra effort to note and delineate those customers who want—or don’t want—marketing for a particular campaign, they are not only helping their customers; they are demonstrating their integrity and compassion. (You know, that human touch.) At the end of the day, both customer and business owner have a good feeling.


How is the relationship between your business and customers? Is your customer base changing? Is there a possibility to branch out and attract new prospects? The EGC Group understands the complexities of knowing who, where, when, and how to connect a brand or business to its target audience. In addition to many well-known retail and franchise operations, we have helped many local businesses achieve success through strategic inbound and content marketing, where we develop persona and messaging strategies (i.e., getting to knowing who a potential customer truly is, as well as what they really want from a brand). Then, if it is agreed that an email campaign would effectively promote your brand, we will know what content to send, and to which prospect or customer.

Give us a call. We’ll give your brand the love it deserves. And customers will love what you have to offer.

And whether or not you celebrate Valentine’s Day, make this coming Monday a great one.