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5 Marketing Lessons We Can Learn from Black Friday



It’s noon and Black Friday is almost over. Well, it is if you realize that most big box stores opened around 4:00 am. I slept in this year, hitting Staples at 9:00 and just made it under the wire on the items I wanted. Got the last two on the shelf. From there I hit CVS where I bought $26.00 worth of items and was handed a gift certificate for $26 at the end of the transaction. In other words, it was my favorite word – FREE!

Now it’s time to take off my bargain shopper hat and put on my marketing hat for the 5 Marketing Lessons We Can Learn from Black Friday. Here we go.

1. Tweet, text, post or pigeon: Communication collaboration is the key

This year, every major retailer included social media in their holiday marketing campaigns and many added mobile for the first time. Coupon codes were hawked on Twitter, sale parties were held on Facebook and checkin services helped thousands of consumers reap deals on everything from HDTV’s to a quick Black Friday lunch. Email alone doesn’t cut it anymore. If you’ve got a product or service to sell, you need to hit every channel with tailored messaging if you want to be in the black come year end.

2. A deal makes even unwanted items attractive.

I bought a Samsung bluetooth headset at Staples today, not because I needed one or even had a real desire for one but because after the rebates it cost me $4.99. For that price, I couldn’t resist. Funny thing about deals, they don’t even have to be the best deal around in order to gain attention. For example, Amazon had hundreds of DVDs marked way down for Black Friday. Seemed like great prices, but you could buy them cheaper from the third party sellers and even cheaper if you don’t mind used. Which leads me to point number two:

3. Urgency Sells

Black Friday sales work because they’re a ticking clock. Shop before noon! Limited quantities! Price valid only between 2 pm and 4 pm. Today only! There’s something about a time or quantity limit that makes you feel like it’s something you have to have.

4. I’m special

The only thing more attractive than a limited time deal, is a limited time deal that’s just for a select group of people. Extra discounts for using a store’s branded credit card, a bonus item because you’re on the mailing list or because you liked them on Facebook. 10% off if you’re over 55 years old or because I’m a loyal customer. Make me feel like I’m going to get a little bit more because I’m special and I’ll shop, shop, shop.

5. Do what you have to, then go one better

This is a busy and stressful time of year for everyone, so customers will really appreciate it if you do a little more than everyone else. Add an inexpensive bonus item to online purchases, offer a free cookie to go to shoppers grabbing lunch, send an email to your best customers with a list of hand-picked gift suggestions (none of this computer auto-matching stuff). And don’t forget service with a smile even if it’s just a “: )” at the end of your tweet.

Thanks to the immediacy of the Internet, there’s still plenty of time to sway customers to your product or service. Simply follow these five tips and you can turn Black Friday into a month long event.