Marketing Myths: Black Friday

The end of the year is quickly approaching, and as you look at your financials, sales haven’t been as high as you projected. Maybe they’re even down from last year. You begin to wonder what could’ve been done differently. Was it really a good idea to cut spending on X campaign, or should you have spent less on Y project? Take a breath, all is not lost. There’s still time to recoup some of your heavy investing from the year, but time is of the essence and you must act now.

While for some businesses Black Friday is the most expensive marketing day of the year, it’s also the most profitable day for many businesses. And it’s a great tool that you should seriously consider using to give your sales one final boost before year-end. But before approaching your Black Friday campaign, make sure you don’t buy into these common myths.

Myth 1: Companies don’t make much profit on Black Friday.
Between steep ad expenses, deep margin cuts and the added manpower to manage your Black Friday promotion, it sure seems like it’s hard to make a decent profit on Black Friday. However, you can make up for these costs in many ways to result in a sharp profit. Your Black Friday promotion should be treated as any other campaign: aim for increased sales volume, be smart about your ad spending, and be intentional about your special offers.

Myth 2: Consumers are only interested in Black Friday promotions that offer deep discounts.
Black Friday is more a psychological event for consumers than it is a discount day. They’re not looking for steep discounts; they’re looking for bargains to get the most mileage out of their money. I should qualify here: they’re looking for bargains that benefit them.

Rather than offering deep discounts on your inventory, you may be more profitable by offering an up-sell promotion (buy X get Y), or a “tiered bonus” system (spend $X and get an additional $Y in store credit). There are many other possibilities, but the offer should fit your business and your customers’ interests. Just remember, you don’t have to offer deep discounts in order to bring in volumes of customers on Black Friday.

Myth 3: Black Friday campaigns are expensive.
Sure they are, if you want them to be. But you would be surprised how much mileage you can get out of a single advertising dollar if you don’t treat your Black Friday budget like a bottomless pit. I’m not even talking about the margin cuts for discounts or the loss leader door busters here… I’m talking about the actual costof promoting the campaign. If you’re accustomed to spending lots of money without first calculating the expected ROI, then calling a Black Friday campaign expensive would be the understatement of the century. On the other hand if you’re strategic, intentional, and you’re using the 80/20 rule like a pro, you will save thousands of wasted advertising dollars.

Myth 4: Every retailer should have a Black Friday promotion.
We have some retailer clients who desperately need to run a Black Friday promotion. At the same time, we have retailer clients who would be doing themselves and their customers a huge disservice by offering Black Friday deals. Black Friday promotions aren’t for everyone. But don’t avoid it just because it could be too costly; if it’s the right promotion for your business, the cost of not running the campaign could be devastating.

Myth 5: The risk of a Black Friday campaign renders it too costly.
Driving is risky. Business is risky. Life is risky. That’s why we all take precautions, we do our homework, we make a strategic plan to curb the risk, and then we lunge forward with confidence knowing that we’re giving it out best, most calculated effort. If you’re concerned about the risk of a Black Friday promotion, here are a few things you can do (and should be doing anyway) to cut the risk:

  • Set a safe, reasonable ad budget and stick to it
  • Consult your marketing metrics to glean your most predictable ad channels
  • Set specific goals prior to the campaign, and make all decisions according to your goals

At Reveil we encourage our clients to be deliberate, strategic, and efficient in every campaign. We don’t believe in “shooting into the dark” or spending thousands on marketing without knowing what to expect in return – not even on Black Friday. For you, I will offer the same advice that I offer all of our clients: count the risk, set the goals, evaluate the potential return, and if you do decide to move forward, do it wholeheartedly.