Thought Leadership

2014 Mother’s Day Marketing Recap – “Mom’s” the word

Just like the Easter holiday, Mother’s day has also shown increasing popularity

Last week we discussed the trends and metrics of Easter marketing campaigns. Just like the Easter holiday, Mother’s day has also shown increasing popularity as a seasonal event that generates significant email and social media promotional activity from retailers. This year’s Mother’s Day was also quite memorable (especially for NBA fans), with Kevin Durant’s MVP speech1 setting a high bar for mother’s day tributes. Did our top 50 tracked retailers participate in honoring our mothers with inspirational ideas and relevant offers for their subscribers? Let’s take a closer look2.

 General Findings:

  • In the month leading up to Mother’s day, 54% of the top 50 retailers ran Mother’s Day-themed email campaigns, while a staggering 94% of them ran Mother’s Day-themed social media campaigns. These numbers exceeded the promotional adoption rates for Easter campaigns (which were 38% for emails and 68% for social media), demonstrating that Mother’s Day was certainly a not-to-be-missed marketing event for well over half of these top retailers.

Email-specific Findings:

  • Early bird email campaigns appeared as early as a month prior to the event.  Of the 54% that ran Mother’s Day-themed emails, 30% of them sent the emails only between 1 week to 3 weeks prior (or more) to Mother’s Day, 44% of them sent the emails only during the week of Mother’s Day, while 26% of them ran emails during both timeframes.
  • 54% of all Mother’s Day email campaigns mentioned Mother’s Day in their subject line but offered no specific promotion related to the holiday. The remaining 46% of campaigns were offer-based.
  • The most popular Mother’s Day-themed promotion was, by a wide margin, “percent-off”. It also attained the highest average open rate - 17.4%. This finding further confirms the trend we identified in our Easter campaign analysis and demonstrates this offer’s popularity amongst retailers and its effectiveness when it comes to engaging subscribers.
  • Unlike Easter-themed campaigns, Mother’s Day emails performed markedly better than general, status quo emails.  This demonstrates the great value of Mother’s Day as a seasonal email marketing opportunity for retailers, which can be attributed to a number factors including a wider audience (more people celebrating Mother’s Day than Easter), the emotional trigger associated with the holiday, and the resulting high relevance of the event.
  • Many Mother’s Day emails with high open rates integrated either great design or strong call-to-actions. Examples include:
  • Key takeaway – Similar to our Easter email findings, average open rates dropped from the 1 week prior to the week of Mother’s Day. This could be a result of consumers most likely being in planning mode a week in advance of Mother’s Day, causing them to be more responsive to promotions. But as the big day approached, they were more likely ignoring these promotions due to the high saturation making them appear less relevant.  Yet, the highest number of marketers ran promotions only during the week of Mother’s Day (44%). These marketers could have benefited from better engagement rates simply by just starting their email promotions during the 1 week prior to Mother’s Day.

Social Media-specific Findings:

  • When comparing social channel usage, Twitter took the cake, claiming almost 3/4 of all Mother’s Day-related posts.
  • Similar to our email campaign findings, Mother’s Day-themed social media campaigns also performed better than general, status quo ones. Mother’s Day Facebook campaigns got 134% higher average engagement rates compared to non-Mother’s Day ones while Mother’s Day Twitter campaigns got 10.6% more engagement rates compared to non-Mother’s Day campaigns.
    • The high Facebook engagement rate is remarkable and can be attributable to the personal nature of the channel itself. Facebook also enjoys a relatively high adoption rate amongst social media users, and therefore if a memorable and highly relevant post (such as a touching Mother’s Day tribute) is widely shared, that can spread in popularity quite rapidly.
  • Many of the highly shared Mother’s Day posts integrated either strong call-to-actions or a very heartwarming mother’s day wish. Examples include:



  • Key takeaway – As per our findings, Mother’s Day-themed email campaigns performed well for retailers who employed them, but despite their success 46% of top 50 retailers decided against running email campaigns related to Mother’s Day. At the same time, almost all of the top 50 retailers ran social media campaigns and received relatively high engagement rates. The 46%, who missed out on sending Mother’s Day emails, could have capitalized on a great revenue opportunity, had they incorporated email promotions as part of a cross-channel Mother’s Day marketing strategy.

[2] Methodology - Through Yesmail Market Intelligence, we tracked the nation’s top 50 retailers for Mother’s Day-themed marketing campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, and email in the month leading up to Mother’s Day (April 11 to May 11, 2014). We searched the terms containing “Mother” and “Mom” to ensure a comprehensive sample set of Mother’s Day-related digital campaigns.

Author Bio

Gurjit Sandhu

Gurjit Sandhu has been in digital and direct marketing for over 6 years, delivering marketing and event management solutions in both fast-paced corporate and entrepreneurial environments. Energized by strategic thinking and the power of marketing technology, she collaborates closely with cross functional teams at Yes Marketing to spearhead multi-channel communications that highlight product innovations.