The First Rule of Fight Club

No logos, no visible brands... is this good or bad for the retailers that sold me clothes?

Dress: JC Penney

Cardigan and Tights: Target

Belt: NY & Co.

Pumps: Alfani Step ‘n Flex

Necklace: Forever21

Earrings: Silpada

Like the outfit? Click here for more details!


Today’s post is a bit of a marketing rabbit hole on branding, and I’m going to throw around some academic jargon. It’ll be a fun walk down memory lane undergraduate classes! In all seriousness, though, I wonder about the differences between clothing makers that put their label all over their products vs. retailers that let the product stand on its own. So, let’s go for a dive, shall we?

Awareness for the masses vs. “the club”. In theory, all publicity is good publicity, right? So, plastering a recognizable logo on every available surface of your product should raise awareness, resulting in more sales. The problem is, some brands sell exclusivity. If you want to be part of the super secret club, you buy this brand. So, what happens when you see tons of other people walking around advertising the super secret club? It makes it less secret, and therefore, less appealing to join, since apparently, it’s open to the masses. When people buy access to “the club”, they don’t want to be reminded that someone who’s not just like them can also buy access to “the club”. This is particularly true for high-end brands, like one-of-a-kind clothing and accessories. It can’t be one-of-a-kind if you see someone else walking around with the same thing! Thus, making your product particularly recognizable by the masses may actually be harmful to your brand. If you’re selling exclusivity, you don’t want the masses to know about your brand (the first rule of Fight Club is that you don’t talk about Fight Club!). Only those with the highest salaries, most refined taste, or most trendy wardrobes belong in your target market, and if they’re truly “in”, they’ll know your product without the visible logo.

Aspirational brand devaluation. This is closely tied with the decision to sell exclusivity. An aspirational product is something that symbolizes the group you want to join, and when you finally obtain the product, you’ve “arrived” (like all the facial bruises that identify other Fight Club members!). High-end clothing and accessories are often marks of career success, so many young people see purchasing their first Armani suit or Blahnik heels as a signal that they’ve now joined the successful peer group. But again, no one aspires to be just like everyone else. This may seem counter-intuitive, since this product purchase means that you’re now a member of the most desirable group, so the other members will accept you. But, if you have to run around screaming to everyone that you’re one of the cool kids, you’re probably not that cool in reality. Label junkies tend to seem like they’re just posing as a member of the group, which means the product becomes associated with “fake” members. Soon, the product falls from aspirational status to cheap imitation status in the eyes of customers who dictate which products are aspirational.

Imitation is easy. Congrats, you’ve built a successful brand with a recognizable logo or signature design! Now everyone knows that when they see that logo, they’re getting quality, reliability, luxury, and great customer service… except it’s easy to slap a logo on a fake. And, those fakes on the market that proudly display your hard-earned reputation via the logo are further contributing to the brand devaluation. It’s much more difficult to imitate quality stitching, luxurious fabric, real leather, or precise time-keeping, which is why many high-end brands would rather let their discerning customers “recognize” the brand through personal experience with each item. Take the case of Louboutin’s attempt to trademark the red color they use for their signature soles. Several other shoe manufacturers started using red soles in their designs of lesser quality, which Louboutin felt impacted the integrity of their brand. Since it’s widely known that red soles = Louboutin, it’s difficult for the average consumer to tell the difference between the knock-offs and the original. If customers were required to learn the differences in the brands through experience, Louboutin would not be so upset about the use of the color red. And, if you’re selling exclusivity, your customers will be happy (in fact, they’ll prefer) to spend the extra time feeling, using, and understanding what makes your products different from another brand.

So, now we’ve come to the marketer’s dilemma: to logo or not to logo? This issue is much more easily settled when you have a defined target segment (who you’re selling to), a strong brand identity (what it is you’re selling), and a thorough understanding of what your customers value (why your customers choose you over the next guy). I’m not in the super secret club in the fashion world, but I do understand the first rule of fight club 🙂 Like the outfit? Click here for more details!

Be Prolific

I’ve got a lot of irons in the fire, and sometimes I wonder if I would be better served by just focusing on one thing, devoting my life to the pursuit of perfection of that one true passion, skill, or idea. Then I remember that I’m me, and if I’m not running in ten different directions at once, I get bored, unproductive, and restless, so a single pursuit would probably drive me mad.

I started thinking about all the great writers, inventors, composers, and innovators, and thinking that they were successful because they had a single pursuit in life. But, I think this is the wrong way to think about them, at least in the sense that “putting notes on a page” or “combining chemicals in a test tube” was their life’s work. Rather, their single pursuit was to explore all that their craft had to offer. You see composers invent new rules to write music, Edisons and Einsteins failing and failing and failing, until one day, they discover the invention of the century, or the equation that shapes modern math. These people weren’t about one small aspect of their skill set, they were about the depths of what their skills could produce.

It’s probably time for me to re-read the Medici Effect, as I’ve been hitting a mental wall lately. The book talks about allowing time to fail, and allowing people in organizations to make mistakes. Basically, just keep producing and learning from your failures until you produce something worthwhile. Everyone thinks there’s some kind of genius or magic to being great, but I think the most influential producers just took so many shots that they were bound to make one of them. I think sometimes I’m so worried about meticulously crafting the most strategic approach to a successful life, that I forget to be prolific. I forget to take time to expand my skills, I don’t allow time to fail for the purpose of learning, and I don’t open my mind to the possibilities and creativity that the world offers. I feel like I’m being prolific by constantly being busy, but production and busyness aren’t the same thing. Sometimes you have to be still in your body and your schedule to let your mind be busy.

So, here’s to being prolific with a purpose. Here’s to intentional stillness and thought, not just busyness to pretend like you’ve accomplished something that day. And, here’s to breaking through the wall!

The Swing Vote

I’ve been talking a lot lately about how marketers using intel makes me happy, but then I started thinking about who the marketers REALLY want. The information about who is buying your brand, how much they’re buying, and how to keep them buying is definitely interesting, but I’d say it’s equally interesting to see who’s not buying your brand. And, not just the hardcore brand-haters, but the wishy-washy people. The people without a pattern. They’re the swing voters that flip-flop based on price, convenience, trends, and any other fickle variable that suits their fancy that day.

It’s not worth my time as a marketer to convince a die-hard Pepsi drinker to switch to Coke. It’s also not worth my time to keep coddling the die-hard Coke drinker, because, unless I do something completely stupid, like introduce “New Coke”, there’s no way I’m going to lose you. So, the really interesting segment to target, is the swing voter. When considering promotions, I need to seriously consider the cannibalization effect. I’m not looking to give $2 to someone that will already buy my product, I’m looking to attract a new customer that will hopefully become a loyal customer. I’m willing to take the $2 loss to get this new customer’s future full-price purchases. But, if I know this person is a swing voter that refuses to commit, do I really want them anyways? Is it worth the $2 loss to attract a customer that will drop me as soon as my competitor offers a $2 coupon?

So, we know we don’t want people who are willing to pay full price to start using our coupons, and we know that we probably don’t want to waste a coupon on a swing voter. Who do we actually want to spend money to attract? This is where the brilliance of parent companies comes in. They own a brand for every customer segment! There’s some people that always use a coupon, and others that only shop at one store. If you’ve got both the one store and the coupon, you’ve increased your market share and your bottom line. Of course, there’s always a few caveats. Are you going to be the best of the best in one thing, or average across all categories? It also goes back to the question, “Do I really want ALL customers?” Many companies think that a dollar is a dollar, but marketers know that customers come at a cost. Swing voters come with a very high cost, since you’re constantly having to wave the shiny object to keep their attention.

For all the posting happiness about what the data tells me, I’ve gotta admit that what the data DOESN’T tell me is equally fun to play with!

Brain Explosion

Every time I write a post about being uninspired, something happens that just makes my brain go crazy with ideas. I LOVE when that happens! Last night I attended my negotiation class and then headed to choir rehearsal. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why last night made my brain explode:

Exchanging ideas. The group presentation in last night’s class focused on how ethics influence negotiation, and opened up a wonderfully complex discussion about how ethics differ across cultures, ethics vs. legality, and whether retailers using discounts is actually a deceptive practice. Hearing everyone’s perspective forced me to consider the issues from several angles, formulate arguments on the fly, and reach across all the knowledge in my brain to reconcile different scenarios that were mentioned. I had a great side conversation with one of my team mates about retail marketing strategy, which spawned several blog post ideas for the retail space. It was a Medici Effect kind of class.

Flow. In The Happy Movie, they talk about the concept of flow, which is basically being “in the zone”. It’s when your whole being is focused on a task, and you’re re-charged by completing that task, even if it’s physically or mentally difficult. I had flow from 4:30 pm to 9 pm last night, with the energy of my class leading directly into my energy in choir. We’re rehearsing very technically difficult music for Easter, so I’m having to reach back into my knowledge of theory, sight-reading, and ear training. Singing is a very physical, mental, and often, emotionally taxing hobby, but when the harmonies mesh into a tight dissonance and resolve, it’s the most incredible sense of stress, relief, and accomplishment in just a few short minutes. Flow means that you’re getting satisfaction from just doing the activity for the sake of the activity. There’s no end goal, no purpose for the accomplishment, just pure food for the soul.

Additional action necessary. After a quick chat with my professor after class, I told her I’d send her some articles that related to our discussion. So, this morning, I headed out to the web to dig up the most relevant and interesting articles, which made mind go into a whole second set of connections and discussions. I also emailed our director about a few notes for the music, and it made me start thinking about two absolutely gorgeous pieces. I love when activities or events just push you to go further, instead of feeling satisfied that you’ve gleaned all you can from the experience. Last night’s class and rehearsal forced my brain to keep making connections, keep asking questions, and keep replaying the notes.

So this morning, I’m thoroughly energized and ready to kick some marketing butt! I’m also kind of jittery with anticipation for tonight’s finance exam, which is still a source of stress running in the background. My busy schedule alternates between invigorating and overwhelming, but I’d say last night re-charged me and hyped me up for a productive end to the week (and when that’s combined with the high from boot camp on Friday night? I can’t wait!). Have you had a brain explosion recently?

Muscle Confusion

Same Inputs=Same Outputs=No Big Ideas

Dress: Target

Cardigan: Target

Scarf: Hallmark (gift from my mom from Hallmark of all places!)

Boots: Ross

Like the outfit? See more details here!


If you’re friends with me on Facebook, you’ll generally see a status update about how I’m heading to boot camp, ready to get my butt kicked. Sometimes you just need to sweat it out, you know? The key to continuous physical improvement is muscle confusion. You start to plateau when you go through the same motions without challenging your body. Have you ever been water skiing or snow skiing, and realized that your body hurts in places you didn’t know had muscles? What about rock climbing? I didn’t realize that my fingers and wrists could wield so much power (or, in my case, so little power!) I went through a few years with a body plateau because my gym routine was stagnate. I’d go to the gym, run 3 miles on the treadmill in just under 30 minutes, and then do free weights for another half hour. I’d spend an hour at the gym 4x per week, and my body stayed the exact same. Then I got antsy, and I started doing the elliptical, lifting heavy 2x per week, and finally, mixing up my routine between high intensity interval training and some combination of weights and cardio. At this point, you’re probably wondering what muscle confusion has to do with business.

We’ve all heard the phrase, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got”. Sometimes we get so entrenched in doing business they way we’ve always done business, that we just can’t move forward. We come in at exactly 7:42 am every morning, sit in the same position at our desk for exactly 8 hours, and drive home on the same road at 5:04 pm every evening. In my case, I’m even wearing the same outfits! No wonder we aren’t coming up with the next big ad campaign, the latest new gadget, or the next great company! There’s no disruption to jolt us into a great idea. I’ve been feeling antsy for the next big thing, but I’ve been going through the motions every day, so the next big thing just isn’t happening. I told my husband that I feel like the daily grind has just beaten the awesome right out of me!

So, the past few days, I’ve been trying to do some brain and life confusion to get off my plateau. A group used a new software in class last week, so I decided to learn that software. If you haven’t played around with Prezi, I highly recommend it! It’s a cloud-based presentation software that zooms around the page for transitions, and it’s a nice change from traditional PowerPoint (be forewarned though, the zooming can make you a little nauseous if you work in it for too long!). Vimeo is next on my list of new software to play with, which will hopefully unlock some more creative areas of my brain. I’ve decided to direct the drama portion for a children’s musical at church. I tried a new recipe last night, which was delicious. Even the little things, like coming in to the office early, should help jog my brain. Any other blogs or activities I should try to get off my plateau?

Social Loafing

There’s a concept in Organizational Behavior that you’re all familiar with: social loafing. A social loafer is the person that joins the group and never actually works, the person that ruins the fun for everyone by breaking the rules, the person that mooches off you for free food and a couch to crash on… for MONTHS. In short, the social loafer is just what it sounds like, someone that loafs through life on other people’s hard work. As a type-A overachiever, I hate these people. And, it’s the immature-make-poor-decisions-just-on-principle kind of hate*, where I have a hard time getting past my frustration long enough to actually address the problem with the social loafer. Now, the social loafing has hit home, and we’ve got a real conundrum on our hands!

My husband and I own a rental property that has 4 units, so we put a trash bin with weekly pick-up out for our tenants’ use. This trash can is large enough to accommodate our 4 tenants, but apparently, the fourplex next door also thinks that they can use the trash bin. We’ve contacted their landlord, sent them notices, and most recently, put a lock on the trash bin. Our tenants are the only ones that have keys, and they’ve all been respectful and diligent in keeping us updated on the trash situation. Last night, a tenant called to tell us that there are six bags of trash sitting next to the trash bin. Sigh… freakin’ social loafers! So, you clearly are not allowed to put your trash in our trash bin, so your solution is to just leave it sitting out in the parking lot next to the trash bin? We’ve contacted the other landlord and sent notices to the other tenants, to no avail. Our other option is to go to curb-side pick-up, but none of our tenants want that, and it makes the area look terrible, as trash ends up flying all over the place. Don’t people take pride in their living space these days?

So now we’re in a bind, because upgrading to a larger bin or increasing the frequency of the trash pick-up is a significant cost. And, on principle, I don’t want to reward these people for their bad behavior (insert rant about how these people’s attitude is what’s wrong with America today!) My husband and I want our tenants to have a nice area and convenient life, so we hate to go to curb-side. But if we keep letting the trash bin overflow, we’ll get a fine from the waste company.

Is our only option to let the tenants at the other property ruin it for everyone? Do we give in and upgrade the size of the bin or the frequency of pick-up, thus reenforcing the bad behavior? There’s just no winning against social loafers, because they have nothing to lose! As I mentioned in my post about negotiation, they have a much better BATNA than we have, mainly because they just don’t care like we do. While I love to be able to apply concepts from my classes to my daily life, I really wish it wasn’t in this situation. Any suggestions are much appreciated 🙂

*My suggestion was to booby-trap the trash area, so that whenever people set a bag down next to the bin, they would get an egg thrown in their face. Can you imagine someone stumbling out to the trash bin first thing in the morning, in the dark, only half awake, and without their glasses? They set their trash haphazardly near-ish the bin, and then, BOOM, and egg just slams them in the face. BEST. SOLUTION. EVER. My husband’s equally bad suggestion was a sign that reads, “If you have a key, put your trash in the bin. If you don’t have a key, throw your trash over the wall.” There’s a fence with a lock right next to the bin that belongs to the other landlord, so essentially, they’d be trashing their own property. I was on board with this one, until I realized how terrible it would smell, and the effect it would have on our tenants. So, as you can see, we aren’t making much progress!

Marketers Play Nice with Statisticians

The internet is buzzing about the Forbes article about how Target figured out a teen girl was pregnant before her father did. Forbes also posted an article about how determines the lifetime value of a customer from their first click! Both of these articles made me happy to be a marketer, but my engineer husband was quick to point out that it was the statisticians who ran the numbers to come up with the amazing insight. So, I figured I should take the best of both of us and talk about how the marketers play nice with the statisticians 🙂

Humans are creatures of habit, and the human brain loves patterns. In general, the statisticians are trained to uncover patterns, and marketers are trained to capitalize on these patterns.

On data mining. First, I’d say that both the marketers and the statisticians love some data mining, but each discipline uses this function in a different way. Marketers contribute the right questions to ask about interpreting the data, and then how to implement the results of the data mining into an overall business strategy. The statisticians run the complicated regressions, and help build a profile that makes sense based on the numbers. Without marketers, you’d have random regressions for fun. Without statisticians, you’d have anecdotes and assumptions.

On using the results. Once the stats people figure out how to predict the behavior, the marketing people come in and actually influence the behavior. The Target article mentions that when they first started using the results of the analytics by sending women mailers with baby-related items, the women were freaked out that the retailer knew their most intimate secret. The marketers came in with a little extra insight into the human psyche and suggested mixing the baby coupons in with clothes, power tools, and kitchen items, so that the women wouldn’t feel “outed” by the retailer. The numbers themselves don’t tell the whole story, and they don’t tell you the best way to implement your new-found knowledge of your customer.

On spinning the use of the results. There’s been a dividing line in the reaction to both articles: those saying it’s creepy that retailers invade their privacy, and those asking where their targeted coupons are! Clearly, as a marketer, I lean towards wanting companies to know me and cater to me. I understand that this comes at a cost to my privacy, but for an easier and more rewarding shopping experience, I’m willing to make the sacrifice. When the statisticians came out with their amazing ability to know a customer based on the numbers, there was no spin about the benefits of using this data, and people felt a little violated. The marketers use their knowledge of value propositions to show how it actually benefits the customer. I don’t think the marketers are trying to pretend that it’s not invasive, but in the age of information and constant connection, it’s not like people don’t already know your business! Why not get some benefits from sharing your whole life with the whole world?

Both of these articles made me happy in my marketing soul! It’s this kind of synergy and application that makes it fun and rewarding to be in my profession. I know there’s some controversy about collecting, sharing, and utilizing data, but I think these instances are beneficial to consumers. See, the marketers and statisticians can play nice together, and ultimately, with the customer!

Join or Die… That’s Your Pitch?

I’m taking a negotiation class this semester, and last night the presenting group chose to utilize clips from the AMC show, Mad Men. The episode they used focused on the sale of the Sterling Cooper ad agency, and its main players deciding to start their own agency. One clip showed power play Bert Cooper trying to convince another power player, Roger Sterling, to start a new agency. His argument, “You’ve seen the guys my age, playing golf and vacationing, and they’re dead in 3 years. You’ve got to have something to live for, and this is it!” Roger’s response, “Join or die? That’s your pitch?” This morning, my boss mentioned the American Airlines protesters at DFW Airport, and it made me think about last night’s discussion of the “join or die” pitch.

The labor union disputes with American Airlines have been on-going for several years, but late in 2011, American Airlines declared bankruptcy. In my opinion, there’s fault on both sides for the failure of the negotiations, and I’d say both sides are in a “join or die” situation. We talk a lot about dependency in my class, and how that creates power for each party. We also talk about the Best Alternative to the Negotiated Agreement (BATNA), and the fact that when neither party has a strong BATNA, it’s in their best interests to come to some kind of agreement.

While no one wants to work for unfair wages or unfair hours, there comes a point that standing your ground actually means NO wages and NO hours. If the unions keep pushing for more at the negotiation table, there won’t even be a table to come to! American Airlines has made some poor decisions that are unrelated to the union issues, but the union demands (and meeting those demands) are partially to blame for the bankruptcy. So, the BATNA for both parties is that everyone loses their job, instead of having lower wages, fewer hours, and fewer benefits. Sounds like a pretty terrible alternative to me! Of course, this is also problematic if the big executives are receiving huge severance packages while the lowly front-line worker is getting screwed. But essentially, both parties are in a “join or die” phase: either you get together and work out some kind of wage agreement, or the whole company goes under, and no one gets any wages at all.

It’s a bad situation all the way around, but I think both American Airlines and the unions need to realize that they’re no longer talking about a “better” or “best” situation. If they could both step away from the table long enough to realize that you can’t win without the other party, they might just come to a solution. In the Mad Men episode, Roger finally opted to “join”. He was skeptical of the initial pitch, but he realized that death was a terrible BATNA. I wonder if American Airlines and the unions will choose to join… or die?


Blog Perceptions

What is the image that I project? Is it authoritative and professional?

Pants: NY & Co.

T-shirt: Forever 21

Vest: NY & Co.

Necklace: NY & Co.

Earrings: Silpada

Heels: Alfani Step ‘n Flex

Like the outfit? Click here for more details!


Part of my New Year’s resolutions include some goals for the blog. I’ve had several experiences over the past few months that have made me consider the perception of my blog, and whether I believe it’s accurate. Fair warning, this post might get a little raw and a little ranty, but in the spirit of transparency, I decided to publish this post.

First, the obvious: I’m female. Second, more obvious: I don’t write “for women”. Initially, I started this blog to write “for marketers”, and over the course of posting, this morphed into writing “for business people”. Notice that nowhere in any of my mission statements do I say that I write “women’s content”, “for women”, “about women”, or any statement that otherwise makes it seem like my blog is written for a specific gender. And yet, from what I can tell, the perception is that my blog is a “women’s blog”. Now, I’m happy to have readers, and I don’t have a problem with all of my readers being female, as long as that’s a coincidence. But, I don’t think it is.

One of my MBA classmates landed on the blog on an outfit post, and he told me that he assumed I wrote about fashion. The post in question actually discusses marketing by retail companies, with very little discussion about actual fashion-related items. The post directly below it was a guest post written by a male, describing his corporate life as a sales rep. The post at the bottom of the page, after the other two, was about pricing and deals. Basically, NONE of the posts on that page are written exclusively for females. Sure, the inspiration for one post might have come from a “girly” topic, but there’s plenty of male marketers in the retail industry, so it’s not irrelevant. I usually give a blog a quick scroll-through on the first visit, and visit the “About” page to see if the content might be a fit. I don’t love every post by every blogger, but I’m willing to give it more than just a quick glance if they have a tagline or post title that piques my interest. I wonder how many readers come to my blog on an outfit post, and instead of giving a 2 second scroll (or actually glancing at the content of the post), just bounce, and write me off as another “woman blogger”?

I had a conversation with another classmate, who blatantly said he thinks it’s true, men won’t read a blog written by a woman. Again, this is anecdotal, but my frustration about the breadth of my audience didn’t seem outrageous to him. I debated a lot about the outfit posts, as I knew they were “girly”, but I realize that this area is a huge space for marketing success and failure, so cutting it out makes no sense. I’ve written about cars and bug repellent, both of which are more “manly” topics. I generally write on completely gender-neutral topics like branding, selling, pricing, and social media. I also realize that I generally guest post on blogs targeted at young female professionals, but most of my contribution posts are on gender-neutral topics, like extreme behaviors to avoid in the office, a business analysis of the 5 Love Languages, or making the decision to attend business school.

So, maybe I’ve unintentionally set myself up as a blog “for women”. This wouldn’t frustrate me so much if I wasn’t cutting out half the population from readership! Maybe I’m only hearing from a biased sample, which led me to explore the perception of my blog in this post. I’m not trying to insult blogs that target women, as I’ve written for several, and read many of these types of blogs. But, I’ve also expanded my readership to include a variety of topics, targeted at both genders. Part of my goal this year is to contribute to some sites that aren’t targeted specifically at women, so that I can help myself by being part of the solution. So, readers, how do you perceive my blog? Any tips for making the blog welcoming to both men and women? Like the outfit? Click here for more details!

A Marketer’s Holiday

Many people resent Valentine’s Day because they feel like the evil marketers at the greeting card, chocolate, and flower stores colluded to dupe them into buying more useless junk that they (and their significant others) don’t need. As a marketer, I can’t decide if I should be offended, or applauding the genius.

From the offended stance, I would say that the whole Valentine’s Day craze isn’t totally a marketer’s fault. I mean, people have to actually buy into this whole scheme, right? It’s also interesting that no one gets up in arms about St. Patrick’s Day, even though it’s a commercialized holiday as well. Maybe it’s because St. Patrick’s Day is all about drinking green beer and pinching people, instead of buying flowers? Maybe it’s because everyone has the ability to participate at different levels, and no one feels left out if they’re single (heck, you probably fare better when you’re single on St. Patrick’s Day!). Either way, I don’t place the blame totally at the marketer’s feet. As a society, we push for more, more, more, and the company’s bottom line needs to rise, rise, rise. And, quite frankly, “if you sell it, they will buy it”. Valentine’s Day bears and heart-shaped boxes would’ve died if no one bought those items, but people DO buy them, to the tune of millions of dollars. It’s like the latest toy craze, but for adults! So, if I’m going to get offended at the “evil marketer” accusation, I’d like to point a few fingers at society at large, and the obsession with outdoing the Jones in every aspect of gift-giving and purchasing.

However, I could also choose to applaud the marketers who increased sales profitably in a variety of industries with a single branding of one random day in February. People like to give and receive, and people like to compete and set expectations. Why not capitalize on this? Isn’t it a marketer’s job to see unmet needs in the market, and produce a product or service (or, in this case, a day) to meet those needs? Love is one of the strongest emotions to tap as a marketer, so what better way to sell something than to make a whole day dedicated to love? This is particularly valuable, since most of the items associated with Valentine’s Day have no utilitarian value. The flowers die, the chocolate makes you fat, and the bears just waste space. But humans value the ridiculous things that others do to show love. It’s such an intangible, immeasurable thing, that if you as a marketer can put some kind of price on it, you’ll hit a gold mine.

So yes, I must agree that Valentine’s Day is really a marketer’s holiday. My husband and I tend to shy away from commercialized holidays, and we’re working to make sure we don’t fall into the trap of marketers (it helps to have some inside information 🙂 ). But, I must admit, it made my day when flowers showed up at the office yesterday, the day BEFORE Valentine’s Day. We’re not flower people, and I know that my flowers will probably only last for a few days. But the sweet thought, the nice note, and the pop of color on a dreary day can make even the cynic’s heart melt. See… I knew it was marketing genius!

UPDATE: Newsy, a site that uses multiple resources to get the full view of a story, sent me a link to a video they produced on Valentine’s Day. Take a look at some of the crazy spending people do to show someone how much they care!