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It’s been a pretty eventful few weeks. Holidays aside, I turned 30, hit my 3-year mark at PPC Associates, and today celebrate 10 years with my lovely fiancée. I’m a sucker for celebrations, so I’ve been spoiled recently. I wrote about my 2-year anniversary on this blog last year. At the time it felt like quite an achievement – it marked my longest tenure at any single company and I felt like I’d arrived. Tack on another year and imagine how I feel now.
Anniversaries aren’t always good. Bad times should are remembered just like the good (though not as often). Good or bad, they share one common trait: anniversaries are akin to scheduling emotions. The tone and nature of the anniversary will dictate how we think, feel, and behave. They offer a kind of predictability that is rare in life.
Holidays are also anniversaries. Cynics will tell you that corporate fat cats (read: marketers) schedule these things to sell more goods. While that may be true, people aren’t exactly running away from invented holidays – they look forward to them. In that respect, anniversaries are like a drug. It doesn’t matter how contrived; if it’s a feel-good anniversary and hits on all the right emotions, people will flock to it. Hell, you could say the same thing for downers – everyone at some point has some compulsion to feel bad, and memorials and days of reflection/atonement are great for that. People can’t get enough and conveniently lining it up on everyone’s schedule makes it all the better.
So what’s the takeaway for marketers here? Well, it’s simple. Take advantage of suckers like me, people in highly emotional states who aren’t exactly rational. There really isn’t much more to it than that. Calendaring is a marketer’s best friend, and the most organized will take advantage. Understanding the emotions involved will help you align your offer and maximize returns. (Note: if it sounds crass, it is — unless you can provide genuine value for your audience, which we should all strive to do no matter the occasion.)
At the end of the day, ad messaging comes down to emotions, and anniversaries offer a predictable way of tapping into a user’s mindset. Take Valentine’s Day, for example –it’s a common experience and, provided your product/service has just enough of a connection, it should be CAKE for a marketer to plan around. Does your product cater to lonely people who want to inject some happiness in their life? SOLD! Can you enable those lonely people to wallow in their own self-loathing? SOLD! Can you offer something to couples looking to double-down on their happiness? SOLD! It’s like playing poker with your opponents’ cards turned up.
Now take out those calendars…err crystal balls…and look into the minds of your audience!
– Sean Marshall, Director of Client Services