Valentine’s Day: Should B2B marketers even go there?

Common sense suggests that any marketing or advertising campaign, regardless of whether it’s B2C or B2B in nature and intent, can be equally effective in driving sales or promoting brand engagement, provided it is well thought out and executed.

So when it comes to Valentine’s Day (or V-Day as it is commonly referred to), although it has traditionally been used by consumer brands to promote all manner of products and services around the romantic notion of love, and all the associated wooing and/or showing appreciation of romantic partners, more and more brands are using it in its all-encompassing and more generic form as a way to promote brand awareness and drive engagement.

From Galentine’s Day to self-love, finding smart ways to repackage and weave in the notion of love for a person, product, service, or even pet is no longer such a stretch. In fact, it’s welcomed as a refreshing and creative way to repackage the often overused ‘lovey-dovey’ sentiment used by the majority of brands in and around V-Day.

And while there may be more creative and budgetary leeway in the B2C realm during the month of love, it doesn’t mean clever and creative strategies cannot and do not feature just as effectively in B2B. Here are a few B2B V-Day marketing and promotional dos and don’ts, as well as some inspiration to draw from.

Add value

Be smart and think creatively about the potential opportunities V-Day presents to reach out to your clients. More than just the standard heart-designed, love-filled messages, it can potentially be used as a springboard to offer them real tangible value. In the B2B realm, this can equate to sharing expertly curated knowledge or useful information, and if planned properly, some sort of price discount or promotional deal or cleverly packaged customer networking event.

Whether offering value exchange in the form of gated content, exclusive deals or offers for premier customers, or simply just a feel-good freebie for all your loyal customers, however, you opt to execute on your campaign mechanic, the sky is the limit when it comes to coming up with creative ways to add value, in a memorable and creative way, in and around V-Day.

Think smart and simple

As with any cleverly conceptualised campaign – what and how it is packaged or delivered all seamlessly work together to make for an impactful and memorable brand experience. Here again, more than the standard V-Day voucher, email message, choccie desk drop, or gift, to differentiate your campaign from the multitude of consumer ones your same B2B audience will undoubtedly be bombarded with, means thinking out of the box in how you approach or use the opportunity to engage with them. 

Product or service-related information when packaged and delivered in a smart, simple way that ties into an overarching V-Day theme is very doable. Beyond just content that remains top of mind and can be revisited again and again, customer desk drops, invitations to events, and even smart, impactful copy that can live for shorter periods on out-of-home (OOH) media platforms or online banners is a great way to capture attention and make an impact or drive engagement through an enticing call to action (CTA).

Trying too hard and coming across as unauthentic

Although V-Day does present a great opportunity to drive engagement with your existing and potential B2B customers, there are instances when trying too hard to make the opportunity fit your objective can come across as tacky, overdone, or worse, blatantly opportunistic.

Remember, customers, B2C or B2B, are human first and can generally pick up on and smell the unmistakable reek of Inauthenticity a mile away. Rather than making use of an opportunity to engage for opportunity’s sake, it’s best to forsake or opt out of hastily conceived and executed campaigns that end up missing the mark and annoying, or worse completely alienating your customers.  

Trying too hard to make use of an engagement opportunity can, in fact, do more harm than good, and your brand will end up paying the price, particularly in today’s social media-driven digital world.

Draw inspiration from

Although there are plenty of successful V-Day campaigns to draw inspiration from, as expected, the majority are B2C focused. However, one or two B2B brands are getting it right.


Using the powers of social listening, CISCO identified a segment of social media users who were actively engaged in the subject of IoT, prompting them to roll out this very well-conceived and received graphic. It resulted in 50% engagement with identified opportunities and reached over 20 000 potential X/Twitter followers of IoT thought leaders.

Droga5 London

To reiterate some of the more important values often downplayed on V-Day, this renowned creative agency pushed cards with not generally considered cute or attractive endangered animals, focusing on the principle that ‘love is blind’.

Droga5 then teamed up with Screaming Colour and Shutterstock to help produce the cards at a low rate, donating the money generated to a selection of their chosen charities. Here not only were they able to show some love to a philanthropic cause but also make use of their core skillsets to demonstrate and ‘live’ their brand values.


The Snickers OOH, ‘You’re Forgetful When You’re Hungry’ campaign was both useful (in this instance, Snickers provided cards that could be peeled off the billboard for the forgetful few who had forgotten to purchase one.

The same principles can be used for B2B campaigns in providing customers with a helpful resource that adds value to their lives and at the same time is novel and attention-grabbing for the brand too.

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