Note that as seasons change, so might your demographic, so market accordingly

As an online retailer, there are certainly changes we make in marketing efforts through the year. For us, it gets a little tricky around Valentine’s Day because our target demographic is completely different for that holiday than others throughout the year.

Typically, two-thirds of our customers are female. We picture our average consumer feeling about gifting the way most people feel about receiving. She expresses herself by giving gifts to the people she cares about.

But for Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, you need to understand the mindset of the customer, which is more spontaneous and short-term than for other holidays.

The most important thing you can do as a marketer is figure out how to leverage equities that make sense for your business and demographic this time of year. For Valentine’s Day, we’re targeting guys who want a last minute gift. They’re thinking, “I better get flowers or I’m sleeping on the couch tonight.” More than 50% of our Valentine’s Day sales happen two to three days before the big day.

To target men, we’re putting placements in different channels and media outlets than we usually do. For example, we’re putting billboards up within online games. The last week before Valentine’s Day is really important, so we make sure we’re focused on getting a large number of messages out in that timeframe. We get 20 times more orders online than usual in the days leading up to the holiday, so we have to be ready.

Search marketing is also a big revenue generator. We buy 1.2 million keywords. Many of these are long-tail because, around this time, keywords are expensive. Our strategy is to tweak those words to see what’s working and what’s not, then take advantage of that traffic.

The good news is that around this time of year with Valentine’s and Mother’s Day, there’s less noise than at Christmas time. It’s not as key of a season for other industries, so take advantage of that.

This article originally ran as part of the February 15, 2010 Technique, “Pump up e-commerce beyond Christmas.” To read the entire feature, click here.

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