We’ve all heard from the anti-romantic that greeting card and candy companies created Valentine’s Day in order to turn a profit. While Valentine’s Day does have historical roots, if it really was popularized by greeting card companies and candy conglomerates, it should be commemorated as marketing genius and we should all take a page from their playbook.

The History of Valentine’s Day Marketing

Valentine’s Day in its modern American form can be traced as far back as the mid 19th century. In 1847, Esther Howard, the daughter of a printer, became inspired to mass-produce Valentine’s Day cards after receiving a lacey love note from England in her new homeland of America.

Valentine’s Day Explodes

Shortly after, people grew accustomed to having ready-made cards that they could purchase and give to their loved ones on the special day. Needless to say, marketing potential soared. Greeting card companies, such as Hallmark, began bombarding the public with images of hearts and cupid while encouraging them to purchase valentines for their beloved. Candy companies began boxing their chocolates in heart shaped boxes while raising their prices exponentially. People were willing to dole out 45 dollars on a box of candy and a card for the promise of undying love and affection.

According to USA Today, the average amount a person will spend on Valentine’s Day is about $137. Moreover, the total being spent on this holiday nationally is close to $18.6 million! How crazy.

The jewelry industry isn’t suffering either. These companies usually begin running ads around January, which will typically bring them an extra $4.4 million in Valentine’s Day sales alone. These numbers are achieved by both the holiday and the hype that marketers place on this special occasion.

Best Valentine’s Day Marketing

Uber came up with a genius marketing ploy directed at those boyfriends, husbands, and significant others who are notoriously forgetful when it comes to remembering the big day. Uber will allow you to send flowers to the person of your choice, delivered by one of their drivers, on Valentine’s Day. All you have to do is select the rose in their app.

Another cool Valentine’s Day marketing idea comes from a UK-based greeting card company that steers away from direct, “buy our product” type advertising. Instead, they ask people to fill in a quick survey about the definition of love. They then post their favorite responses on their Facebook and Twitter.

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This advertising mechanism is genius because it utilizes inbound marketing tactics to attract consumers, then converts them with personalized interaction. And while you’re already on their website, why not request a personalized greeting card for your loved one?


If you’re still stumped on what to get your loved ones this Valentine’s Day, a box of chocolate from our newest client, Chuao Chocolatier, is a great option! Their chocolates range from “Spicy Maya”, a bitter dark chocolate with a chili cayenne bite, to “Firecracker”, a sea salt chocolate with an extra popping surprise! Whether your loved one enjoys bonbons or chocolate bars, Chuao is the perfect choice. If you’re a San Diego local, drop by one of their two retail locations in North County. If you live in the rest of the world, don’t fear, Chuao offers online orders as well!

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Originally published February 14, 2016, updated December 3, 2018
Tags: Marketing Inbound Marketing Social Media Marketing content marketing marketing trends Advertising small business