Valentine’s Day is a big holiday for retailers and service providers of all kinds – but it can be a challenge to hit the right note with the diverse crowd of lovers and haters of the day. How do you give lovebirds what they’re expecting, without alienating everyone else?

I only have eyes for you

The most important thing to remember is consumers are individuals, first and foremost. The worst way to accomplish your goal of reaching them is to lump them all together – even demographically.

v-day cliche

The last thing you want to be is cliche.

Demographics help you get started, based on whatever you assume, or already know – but there’s always more to the picture, and it’s your job to find it. The way you do that is by using psychographic attributes – emotions, attitudes and behaviors – to find audiences that share the same passions, rather than the same birth year or location.

Social media sentiment analysis shows you which topics have consumers excited, annoyed, sad, etc., giving your brand the opportunity to join the conversations they’re already having in an authentic and human way.

With a topic like Valentine’s Day, there’s a lot to understand about the conversations taking place. It’s not as simple as finding audience segments that love or hate Valentine’s Day and hitting them with the appropriate blanket messaging for their sentiment. You have to narrow your focus to individualized segments – so you can precisely and specifically target them with messaging that resonates so strongly each person thinks you’re talking just to them.

So how do you do that?

I honestly love you

The only way to reach consumers in such a personalized way is to drop all brand pretense – i.e., anything that sounds/feels overtly like “marketing” – and get real with them about the things they care about.

Of course, that means you have to know what they care about.

A great way to get a sense of the various subjects that define audience segments is by applying NetBase’s Instant Search solution. Instant Search enables you to analyze a topic for quick insights which you can then refine further. This is an important step, because whatever consumers were thinking and feeling last year – or even last week – may not be enough to accurately power your current campaign strategy.

For example, when we look at the topic of Valentine’s Day 2017 from an emotional standpoint, we see there’s a lot of “feelz” on both sides:


Terms like “worst,” “perfect,” “dread” and “best” clearly illustrate the split sentiment here. What’s missing is the why behind the emotions – and that’s what you really need to know before you can act with any precision.

When you click on a word like “worst” you can see what consumers specifically hate about the holiday. Like materialism and waste:


Or amplification of lonely single life:

v-day single

Or the sense that people are doing it wrong – and crumbling under the pressure:


If you turn up a lot of similar social posts, you’ve got three distinct consumers already, whose gripes you can speak to in your marketing:

  1. For the socially/environmentally aware segment, you could suggest an alternative to flowers and candy. If there’s a portion of this segment in the right age range, you could do a call-back to Beverly Hills 90210’s Dylan McKay, who donated blood on Valentine’s Day, the anniversary of a serious childhood car accident where he was on the receiving end of the hospital’s blood bank. For other sub-segments, things like volunteering, donating money to a cause they love, or spending time with family might be the perfect activities for your brand to champion.
  1. For lonely singles you’d want to look further at what else comes up around the subject of Valentine’s Day. Popular terms like “Galentine’s Day” – a night for the gals to get together – can help reframe the day as more than a romantic holiday for couples only. Speak to this segment’s emotions honestly to gain their love and loyalty.
  1. The latter approach of focusing on love beyond romantic couples can work for those who think Valentine’s Day destroys relationships as well. Emphasize stories where love triumphs – in the community, in the workplace, within families, and even with long-lasting couples – and give this segment a new perspective on what Valentine’s Day can be.

I will always love you

Authenticity and honesty matter to your more traditional audiences as well. It’s not about being different for the sake of it – it’s about being real. If you have followers who love the traditional hearts and flowers thing, you have to cater to them too.

But don’t make the mistake of assuming all with positive V-Day vibes are traditionalists. You still need to create segments to deliver perfectly targeted sentiment to all your audiences.

When we click on the term “best” in our emotions word cloud above we see there are different ideas of what makes the best Valentine’s Day:


The above post is a great example of how competitive analysis can drive your brand strategy. Would you expect a make-your-own-cards-and-cupcakes event would be a sell-out on Valentine’s Day? Maybe not, but there’s the proof. So now you should find out what other kinds of interesting events are happening on February 14. And ask: What can your brand offer to get the same consumer love? Social media listening can tell you.

And remember, love isn’t limited to humans. Some pets are more beloved than people’s spouses, so this could be a segment worth speaking to, depending on your brand:


The point is to let the data – and never assumptions – lead you.

Where you lead I will follow

Consumers have mixed feelings about Valentine’s Day, but that doesn’t mean there’s no opportunity to market your brand. You just have to pay attention to what consumers are telling you, and let those insights guide you to authentic and accurate targeting.

Deliver the right message at the right time on the right channel, and you’ll make a love connection. Continue listening for changes in consumer attitudes and trends and that consumer love just might be forever and for always.

Ready to see the insights NetBase Instant Search can deliver for your brand? Get in touch for a demo!

NetBase Brand Passion Report 2016- Top 100 Global Brand Love List

Image from Kumar’s Edit


Premier social media analytics platform

Expand your social platform with LexisNexis news media

Power of social analytics for your entire team

Media analytics and market intelligence platform

Enrich your media analytics with social data

Media coverage for historical & real-time monitoring

Data streams & custom KPIs for advanced data science

AI, Image Analytics, Reporting Tools & more

Out-of-the-box integration with other data sources