May 10, 2023

The Evolution of Gratitude in Mother’s Day Marketing


Mother’s Day is rooted in the idea of showing appreciation. So it’s no wonder it has also become one of the most popular gifting holidays. According to the National Retail Federation or NRF, Mother’s Day spending has hit a record high. In 2023, consumers plan to spend an average of $274.02. The top three gift categories this year include greeting cards, flowers, and special outings. In a sea of digital marketing messages, how can brands ensure their Mother’s Day marketing stands out and resonates with consumers? By tapping into the right emotion.

In marketing messaging, simply describing an offer or gift item such as “cashmere throws for mom” or “the perfect gift for dad” isn’t what will capture the customers’ attention. Instead, it’s the emotional language used to make the offer that prompts customers to purchase.

Gratitude is a particularly powerful emotion in marketing. It can make us feel satisfied with what we already have or something we have just received. If someone expresses gratitude toward you, it can make you feel seen, appreciated, and important. Those feelings drive impact for marketers. According to a recent analysis of the best-performing and lowest-performing words from email marketing campaigns sent to consumers across various industries and segments throughout 2022, expressions of Gratitude produced some of the highest CTRs. Consumers responded favorably to brands that thanked them for their support throughout their email marketing campaigns.

Since Mother’s Day is centered around appreciation, it would seem that incorporating Gratitude into Mother’s Day marketing messaging would resonate with audiences above all other emotions and motivate them to find the perfect gift. However, Gratitude has gone through a surprising evolution over the years in Mother’s Day marketing and its current top-ranking performance has been heavily influenced by the events of the past few years. 

Present day status of Gratitude in Mother’s Day marketing 

According to data from Persado, Gratitude is the #1 highest-performing emotion for retail and e-commerce Mother’s Day campaigns in 2022 and so far for 2023. The Persado Content Intelligence team recently looked at the data from Mother’s Day digital marketing campaigns from nine retail and e-commerce brands in the US and UK. The analysis included approximately 3,970 digital messages. It shows that consumers are engaging with digital marketing messages that express appreciation. This contrasts with other gifting holidays like Valentine’s Day, when personal narratives like Guidance and Hype performed best with consumers across digital marketing campaigns since 2012.

Here’s what Gratitude-focused Mother’s Day digital marketing messages looked like in 2022  and thus far in 2023.

#1 Gratitude (language that expresses acknowledgement, appreciation or affection in a personal way):

  • Special reminder to moms—you’re loved and appreciated
  • Because mom deserves only the best
  • Mom is 100% worth splurging on

After years of celebrating holidays socially distanced, dealing with the ups and downs of the economy, and general uncertainty, the emotion of Gratitude is resonating with customers in a profound way. Gratitude manifests when a brand expresses appreciation for its customers, and also when a brand guides customers on how to show appreciation for their loved ones. One great way to help customers show appreciation is through holiday gift guides

So, if Gratitude is currently #1 what are the #2 and #3 best-performing emotions for Mother’s Day digital marketing campaigns from 2022 – 2023? 

#2 Achievement (language that implies praise or reward for an implied accomplishment):

  • Well done on finding something mom will love 
  • You’re winning for most thoughtful Mother’s Day gift
  • You’ve unlocked mom-approved gifts

#3 Gratification (language that motivates action by emphasizing value or financial gain):

  • Here’s a little something for mom (and you!)
  • Take 20% off Mother’s Day gifts, our treat
  • You’re saving, a lot

The history of Gratitude in Mother’s Day digital marketing campaigns 

It may seem intuitive that Gratitude would perform well around Mother’s Day. However, Gratitude was not always the most resonant emotion for this holiday. The Persado Content Intelligence team also looked at Mother’s Day campaign performance data from 20 retail and e-commerce clients (13,804 digital messages) that ran between 2018 and 2019 in the US and UK. In those pre pandemic years, Gratitude was not in the top three. Instead, the top three emotions were:

#1 – Safety

#2 – Achievement

#3 – Gratification 

Gratitude was a mid to high-performing emotion. 

You can see how the digital marketing language leaned into emphasizing the offer more than highlighting appreciation in these real-world examples from our customers’ campaigns that ran in that time period: 

  • We know you’re working really hard, so here’s a discount just for you
  • We’re saying thanks with a special sale
  • A well deserved thanks: Here’s 20% off

Ways to bring Gratitude into your digital marketing messaging 

During holiday seasons (which include the end-of-year holidays along with others like Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, and more) customers are inundated with digital marketing messages in all forms. Choosing the right words can cut through the noise, foster a sense of credibility and trust with customers, and above all make them feel valued. Gratitude has been performing well during holiday campaigns, including Mother’s Day. That being said, performance can vary based on the brand, digital channel, or audience. 

Here’s how top brands expressed Gratitude in 2022 holiday digital marketing campaigns with the help of Persado Motivation AI: 

  • We can’t say thanks enough
  • Gifts that say, “thank you”
  • A little ❤ for your loved ones
  • Feeling thankful 

No matter if you’re running a Mother’s Day campaign (check out these campaign ideas), a holiday digital marketing campaign, or refining your brand’s digital messaging overall, Gratitude is a great emotion to tap into. 

For more on how Persado Motivation AI can help your brand stay ahead of consumer behavior trends, schedule a demo here