Thought Leadership

Set Father’s Day Marketing Apart: Sell Experiences

Focus less on product or service and more on the memories a gift can create

I get a kick out of reading Father’s Day emails that refer to “the man who has everything” because I’m convinced that’s secret code for “tough to buy for.” Just look at your inbox and you’ll see the majority of emails about Father’s Day promote the same, tired, old items - golf balls, team sportswear, whisky, car accessories, power tools, and - my favorite - ties!!  (imagine sound of snoring)

According to the National Retail Federation, of the $14.3 billion spent last year on gift cards, electronics, garden supplies, books and such, consumers spent $3.1 billion on types of a “fun activity/experience.” And for marketers who wish to capture the elusive millennial - the survey found 22 percent of the shoppers in this desired demographic will opt for a “gift of experience” such as tickets to a concert or a sporting event.1

One explanation for this trend can be found in a study of money and happiness discussed in a Fast Company article.2 Researchers noted that “people’s satisfaction with the things they bought went down, whereas their satisfaction with experiences they spent money on went up.” This might be the case because “things” are not part of an individual (regardless of how much one identifies with them), but experiences become part of who a person is. They take on more importance when they’re shared with other people and live on in their memories.

So, for Father’s Day, marketers can take advantage of the way experiences can help them reach out to consumers.   


Set Campaigns Apart with Experiences

An early promoter of giving unforgettable experiences as gifts, Red Letter Days, understands the power of the emotion associated with Father’s Day. Their landing page for Father’s Day asks customers to recall previous gifts that failed by painting a vivid picture of the holiday dilemma.

“It's an age-old dilemma – what to buy dad? With Father's Day just around the corner, forget about two-a-penny aftershave sets and gaudy socks (you know, the ones at the back of the drawer he never wears) and find something he'll really love instead. Our gift range has plenty of wonderful experiences to choose from, perfect for every type of dad.”3

The brand even goes on to offer different experiences for different types of dads – from the Driving Dad, to the Daredevil and Dramatic Dad. 

Marketers who really want to make sure their Father’s Day messages resonate with customers should consider focusing on emotional appeals. Find ways to set your campaigns apart by associating your offer with creating memories and traditions that can last a lifetime.

Here are some tips to inspire your campaigns:


Use emotion in your subject lines

According to a Yes Marketing study of Mother’s Day-themed emails, messages that boasted at least one emotion in their subject lines generated a 21.5% higher average open rate than those with no emotions in the subject lines (10.33% and 8.50% respectively).3 What works for mom can work for dad.


Use Father’s Day to promote yourself in a new way

Perhaps your product or service doesn’t immediately fit the category of Father’s Day gift. You don’t necessarily think a rental car service would have much to offer for Father’s Day, but Avis demonstrates a creative way to tap into a dad’s dreams. The chance to cruise the highway in a mustang convertible makes for a nice change from a minivan. The whole family can enjoy the ride as well.

Remind customers you’re not the same old thing

Anyone can give dad a team jersey, but what about actually getting him a chance to toss the football around on the playing field (and get to keep it). This Denver Bronco email not only plays off dad’s love for his favorite team, but taps into memories he might have of tossing the football with his own dad, while carrying on the tradition with another generation. Now if they could lose the tie...

Create a special memory

Fathers and daughters share a special bond. Many dads will tell you that daughters grow up way too fast, and often they regret not making more memories together. This event venue in Auburn, Georgia offers a chance for fathers and daughters to share a special moment. Even better, the dance allows people who may not normally visit the Carl House to see the facility. Perhaps they’ll return in the future to experience that special feeling again.

Tie your product to an experience (sorry about the Father’s Day pun!)

Take advantage of a local Father’s Day event if you have a related product or service you can promote. This race in Sarasota is billed as an event “the whole family can do together.” Companies that sell running shoes and gear, massage therapy for aching muscles, or energy bars could sponsor the event, increase brand awareness, and gain some goodwill at the same time. 

Put a new spin on it

Tools are one of the most traditional Father’s Day gifts. The National Retail Federation estimated they make up more than 15% of all gifts purchased for Father’s Day. Home Depot gives this gift category a refresh by suggesting the hammer or saw came from a daughter. The image tells a story of father/daughter bonding over building a bird house. It’s great to think that dad may be passing his interest in DIY on to his daughter. 

A new kind of Father’s Day gift

On his special day, Dad may get second place when it comes to overall money spent, but there’s a trend in Father’s Day gifts that is much more valuable – time5. An experiential gift gets families to slow down and focus on the here and now.

Marketers can set their campaigns apart by focusing less on the actual product or service and more on the memories a gift can create. What better way to build customer engagement than by helping people give a gift that will be remembered long after the holiday is over?








Author Bio

Lisa Mayer

Lisa Mayer is a a B2B marketer who sees her role as helping clients and prospects find a solution to business challenges. She finds explaining how technology can transform a business to be especially interesting.