Mother's Day: Price Tags and Hashtags

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Motherhood may be priceless, but there actually is a price tag associated with Mother's Day.  Given that the market for this particular holiday is expected to hit a record-high this year, savvy marketers have already put their brands in the game.

On the second Sunday in May, Americans take time out to show appreciation to their mothers, typically with cards, flowers, dinners out, and other assorted gifts. All that adds up to $23.6 billion, according to NRF's forecast.  

In anticipation of this substantial spending occasion, you'd expect to see massive marketing campaigns. But it seems that brands are not doing quite as much as they could. I popped into Target and saw only minimal signs of the imminent holiday represented by a few Mother-themed mugs in the front section, as well as the usual cards.

I shared what I've seen with Mike McMaster, VP of Lead Generation at JumpCrew. He said he noticed the same at a mall he visited over the weekend. With the exception of Macy's, he observed very little Mother's Day marketing.

The stores who fail to address the upcoming holiday in their setups are missing out on “the two Ps in marketing,” McMaster says. That refers to “placement and promotion” with targeted positioning of merchandise that ties into the promotional theme of Mother's Day.

That's on the bricks-and-mortar side of marketing, which is one of the avenues in which to reach customers.  Effective marketing doesn't rely on that alone, though. You need “to reinforce the marketing message through multiple channels,” McMaster stresses.

That's why it's key for brands to plan for Mother's Day and build customer engagement online that fosters the relationship between the brand, the occasion, and the customer. For Mother's Day that usually means going for an emotional appeal, though humor can be effective, as well, as McMaster notes in acknowledging the impact of Kraft's recent campaign.

One of the effective ways to gain customer engagement and participation is to create hashtags that are consistently carried across multiple channels.  However, one size does not fit all,  McMaster acknowledges.

While a “larger brand with a bigger budget can build a dedicated campaign with its own hashtag for Mother's Day,” one without such deep pockets would have to simply “piggyback on hashtag #MothersDay,”  McMaster says.  Then there are also the brands that do have the wherewithal to launch campaigns with unique messages but play it safe with the standard hashtag.

An example of going for a hashtag that ties into Mother's Day marketing with a particular spin is The Body Shop's adoption of the #gotitfromher hashtag.  The brand's Twitter account has set it up as its  defining theme and uses it in promoting specific products as Mother's Day gifts. The general idea, as it says in one of its tweets is:   “You got a lot from her, how about giving a little back? Let's celebrate your amazing mom today and always! #gotitfromher

For those not creating entire campaigns along these lines, they can connect a general Mother's Day tag and encourage their customers to send in pictures. A quick check on the “mothersday” tag for Instagram yields 9,356,354 posts. The most popular product post there is from Maybelline. 

Though Maybelline touts itself as the “number one cosmetic brand in the world,” it opted for the straight #mothersday hashtag rather than coming up with something all its own.

Regardless of the approach marketers decide to take, they shouldn't miss out on the Mother's Day marketing opportunity.

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