Any holiday is a good time to be in marketing, but Valentine’s Day is an especially noteworthy time of year. In fact, JC Penney, which had nixed holiday-related promotions back in 2011, decided that Valentine’s 2013 would be the perfect time to jump back into the holiday promo game. And for good reason…
The National Retail Federation predicts that consumers will spend an average of $130.97 this year on Valentine’s gifts and dates. That’s a total of $18.6 billion. So, how are companies using content marketing to reach America’s love-struck? “Let me count the ways…”
I don’t know if Swarovksi gets many conversions from this content, but it’s definitely a neat little piece of marketing for brand impressions, if nothing else. The Swarovski Sparkling Gift Assistant is a website that allows users to input types of gifts (baked goods, books, etc.), and then responds with nearby shopping options. Of course, the results you get are also going to be conveniently located near Swarovski stores.
I hope that I’m making an oversight, but I can’t find the Gift Assistant in mobile app form, which would be really odd for a GPS/location-based service. Come on, Swarovski! Haven’t you heard?
Time’s Square Heart for Children’s Cancer
Last year, there was a huge pulsing heart sculpture in the middle of Times Square. The heart could light up and respond to people’s interactions. Touch a sensor and the heart beats faster. While this is an interesting interactive sculpture in and of itself, the Times Square Alliance partnered with Think Energy to take things one step further.
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Whenever someone took a photo of the heart and uploaded it to a Facebook page, Think Energy donated $1 to the Hope & Heroes Children’s Cancer Fund. Now that’s a cool way to do content marketing. In addition to thousands of brand impressions, Think Energy, a not-too-big electric company, earned itself a great reputation with consumers.
Starbucks Magic Cup
Speaking of interactive, do you remember the Starbucks Magic Cup app? Point your phone at the limited holiday cup and watch it come to life. I was working at Starbucks this time last year and distinctly remember people coming into the store and buying coffee just to use their phone apps. Not quite as bad as buying Happy Meals to get the Beanie Babies, but it’s close. Great piece of interactive content from Starbucks!
Marks & Spencer Augmented Reality
Speaking of augmented reality (AR), Marks & Spencer, a British mass retailer, created a print ad in Waterloo Station last year that literally came to life when consumers pointed their phone at the image. The model in the ad begins sharing gift tips and inspiration, and invites the customer to make purchases with their mobile device. I think we’ll definitely be seeing more AR in content marketing this coming year.
Air New Zealand’s Blind Gate Contest
How would you feel about going on a blind date to the other side of the world? What might seem totally bizarre in ordinary circumstances has somehow been made safe and exciting through an Air New Zealand contest. The airline, which features a sky couch that unfolds into a bed, is offering a free weekend trip for two British not-quite-couples this year. The airline hopes to turn the experience into a five-episode television series. This could be a huge flop for the airline or a great success. We’ll have to wait it out and see!
Getting Conversions from Content
It may be too late to kick start your own Valentine’s content marketing campaign, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with other upcoming holidays. Remember, your agency doesn’t have to pull large-scale stunts like flying people around the world or setting up an art installation in Times Square.
Content marketing is about interacting with others and building relationships (that hopefully turn into sales later on down the line!).
What kind of content marketing campaign is your firm considering for 2013?