St. Patrick’s Day is always March 17, but this year that date falls on a Saturday – which no doubt puts a twinkle in the eyes of every pub owner and seller of cardboard shamrocks between here and the Blarney Stone.
According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), St. Patrick’s Day spark’s more than $5 billion in sales in the United States. Last year, an NRF survey showed that 139 million Americans planned to celebrate it, with an expected outlay of almost $40 per person. (Exact figures for green beer were not available).
“No matter what marketing angle you choose, St. Patrick’s Day, like many other holidays, provides marketers rare opportunities to think outside the box and be creative with your marketing strategy,” writes Iris Hearn at Impact. “Celebrating holidays with your marketing helps humanize your brand. It helps you connect with your audience on a more personal, fun level, and allows your message to better resonate with them in their current state of mind.”
Here are four ideas for messages that can make this St. Patrick’s Day your greenest one ever (see what we did there?).
Show appreciation for your customers
Sure, the sportswear company New Balance shows off a few (green) sneakers in the above St. Patrick’s Day email, but their most important message isn’t about footwear at all – it’s about how fortunate they are to have the recipient as a customer.
“Rather than use the holiday as an obvious way to drive revenue, New Balance took this opportunity to creatively express their customer appreciation,” writes Megan Smith at FreshAddress. “They also have their social links available in a mobile optimized, easy-to-find format.”
Do you feel lucky to have your customers? Let them know!
Share your knowledge of the holiday
Ash Brokerage, a national, distributor of insurance and annuities, could have used its St. Patrick’s Day message to promote their suite of financial products, but instead decided to take a graphically interesting and fun direction with an infographic chock-full of obscure statistics related to the holiday. While recipients don’t learn anything about the company’s products, the message does communicate that even an insurance company can lighten up, and there’s no doubt that some percentage of recipients appreciate learning more about the holiday.
How can you leverage St. Patrick’s Day to help your customers learn more about it – and about you?
It’s still cool turn something green for St. Patrick’s Day
Just because it’s been done before doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done again.
McDonald’s has been turning milkshakes green for almost 50 years and shows no signs of stopping – its famous “Shamrock Shakes” have become food-marketing icons worthy of their own Wikipedia page.
And last year, Krispy Kreme worked the green magic on their glazed donuts.
“Dying foods green for St. Patrick’s Day is not a new strategy by any means, but because Krispy Kreme is such a traditional brand (and their glazed donut is so well-known), the news of them changing one of their most popular products has earned the company a lot of press,” writes Impact’s Iris Hearn. “The tasty campaign capitalizes on St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in a memorable way and the ‘one day only’ messaging creates a sense of urgency.”
Expect to see more than a few green donuts on display in a few weeks, and probably even some bagels. And all that green beer. Of course, food isn’t the only thing that can be turned green — Chicago dyes an entire river to celebrate the holiday.
What can you turn green for a day? (The more surprising, the better!)
Anticipate how your customers will be feeling on March 18 – and help them!
Many St. Patrick’s Day celebrants are going to be in for a rude awakening on the morning after they consume too much green beer (and perhaps too many green donuts). In recognition of that, Nourish Snacks took the opportunity to send a post-holiday message with “5 tips to beat a hangover” – not a traditional message for this type of company.
The email showcases the company’s empathy with its customers, which helps create a bond and build engagement. And the fact that these tips are coming from a snack-food company and not, say, a marketer of electrolyte-filled beverages or antacids, makes it very compelling.
How can you can show your customers that you care about how they feel?
The payoff for taking a creative approach for St. Patrick’s Day can be huge. But the challenge of cutting through the clutter can test your creativity, willingness to try to something new or ability to spin a well-tested approach. So, take a risk, dare to be different — or simply find something unusual to turn to green. And have a great St. Patrick’s Day!