07/09/2023 • Andrew Lowdon
Black Friday has become synonymous with unparalleled shopping deals and frenzied consumerism. Retailers across the globe eagerly anticipate this day to roll out their marketing campaigns, enticing customers with jaw-dropping discounts and limited-time offers. However, as the years have passed, it's become increasingly evident that not all Black Friday marketing campaigns deliver the desired results. In this blog post, we'll delve into the reasons why Black Friday campaigns often fail and provide strategies to help you avoid these pitfalls.
One of the most significant issues with Black Friday marketing campaigns is the fierce competition among retailers. The market gets flooded with promotions and more advertisers than ever trying to get their piece of the pie. This makes it challenging for any single campaign to stand out. In the race to offer the biggest discounts, businesses can sometimes lose sight of their unique brand identity. When every brand seems to be doing the same thing, it becomes hard for customers to differentiate between them.
Solution: Instead of merely focusing on aggressive discounts, prioritise highlighting your brand's values, uniqueness, and the value it brings to customers. Create a Black Friday campaign that resonates with your brand's identity and story, setting you apart from the sea of competitors chasing the huge discount approach.
Black Friday campaigns require meticulous planning, which needs to start well in advance. Whilst Black Friday is one day, brands that reactively put together promotions miss the mark and will fail to capture customer attention and the desired increase in sales. If you have an engaged community you can get away with email campaigns on the day, but we've seen instances of brands trying to launch new customer acquisition Black Friday campaigns in the afternoon of the big day. It’s far too late and won’t drive any demand at all.
Solution: Begin planning your Black Friday campaign at least 2 months ahead. Black Friday is now a month long event with demand increasing by the day as November progresses. Get your campaigns into market early in November, allowing them the time to get out of learning phases ahead of the spike in demand that we see the week of Black Friday.
Black Friday may be the single largest trading day of the year, but brands can put too much focus on the event and forget about what’s been working for them all year. Brands can think that consumers need to know that they’re doing Black Friday this year and have an offer on. In an attempt to funnel as much budget as possible through their time sensitive campaign, they turn off their always on campaigns which have been gathering data year round. These are the ads that provide the ad platforms with a clear understanding of the type of consumer most likely to buy and should be shown an ad. Instead they replace them with brand new shiny Black Friday ads that have no data behind them.
Solution: I completely understand the need to run Black Friday specific ads to highlight that a promotion is running. But run this alongside the always on ads that are backed up by data. It’s these ads that will be the better performers throughout the BFCM period.
While discounts are undoubtedly a driving force behind Black Friday's success, overemphasising them can lead to a detrimental race to the bottom. Excessive discounts can eat into profit margins, making it hard for businesses to maintain sustainable growth. The revenue figures might look great, but profit is another matter.
Solution: A Black Friday promotion doesn’t need to be a sale. Consumers are looking for added value. Bundle products, provide exclusive deals for loyal customers, or offer free gifts with purchases. This not only adds perceived value but also encourages repeat business.
Traditionally, Black Friday was a retail event with Cyber Monday the online part of the BFCM weekend. We often see online brands focusing on Black Friday and then swapping to Cyber Monday promotion over the weekend to try and squeeze as much out as they can. All this does is turn off potentially high performing ads and launching completely new ones into a learning phase that will only run for a max of 3 days. This just results in suppressed performance when consumers don’t differentiate between the two days.
Solution: If you plan to have offers running through to Cyber Monday, don’t swap out the Black Friday creative and keep it running through to Cyber Monday. This keeps high performing ads in market and ensures that your ads get in front of as many potential customers as possible.
Running out of stock for advertised products can be a major disappointment for customers. A lack of inventory management can erode trust in your brand and lead to negative reviews and social media backlash.
Solution: Invest in accurate inventory management systems to ensure you have enough stock to meet the expected demand. Communicate transparently about stock availability to manage customer expectations.
Too often we see brands launching unreal promotions that cut through with consumers but underestimate the demands on their infrastructure to be able to support with a rapid influx of traffic or have the experience to convert the traffic into customers and revenue. We often see sites fall over, long queues that might as well tell a consumer to go elsewhere and sites not optimised for the browsers their consumers use.
Solution: Ensure that your hosting infrastructure has the capacity to deal with higher traffic levels and ask your provider how they plan to deal with a rapid increase in traffic. Make sure that your site is mobile-friendly and will provide an optimal purchase experience on all popular devices and browsers.
Black Friday remains a potent opportunity for businesses to boost sales and enhance their brand visibility. However, achieving success requires careful consideration and a strategic approach. By avoiding the common pitfalls and chasing sales your Black Friday marketing campaign can stand out and resonate with your target audience. Remember, a successful campaign isn't just about offering the steepest discounts; it's about delivering value, engaging your audience, and staying true to your brand's essence.
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