It’s that time of year again. Forget Christmas, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the biggest days of the year for retail and marketers paving the conversion path for consumers. There are SO many sales, from the 5% why-did-you-bother off sales, to truly valuable savings on products you sometimes need, and sometimes only need the second you see it’s on sale (you’ll lose money, of course, by not getting it…). For pro-retail therapy among us in the office, we even have a whole spreadsheet cheat sheet listing the best deals and applicable codes and links (don’t threaten us with a good digital deal…).
For context, Black Friday and Cyber Monday (sometimes referred to as BFCM) generated an approximate $2.8b (yep, that’s a b) in online sales, which was a 50% increase from 2021 (which itself was an 8% increase from 2019, to demonstrate the sharp spike in trajectory). Of course, there are criticisms of the consumerist-driven frenzy it creates. But, as marketers, it is our job to demonstrate the value in our product. If you do your sales and marketing strategy right, you will be appealing to people who want or need your product or service, genuinely, so you can retain their trust and loyalty long term.
Plan, plan, plan
Like most strategies, they can’t really roll out successfully without planning. It’s not just about planning the roll out itself, though that’s important. Pace and platforms matter and, yes. However, planning also includes the guts of your messaging; have you done the research to understand where your brand sits in the noisy sale period, so as to have your audience not just spot you, but seek you out, in a crowd.
This isn’t going to be an easy or short process, it should really be the area you spend the most time, to give the creative output after a clearer road.
Here are some good ways to start:
If you engaged in BFCM sales last year, audit your strategy and outcomes. What worked? What didn’t? But, mostly importantly, why did things work and fail? What were the user pathways to conversion? Where did people drop off? These are your data points to springboard off.
Expand on the why. Just because something worked last year does not mean it’s going to work this year. Things happen over 12 months that change consumer behaviours (interest rate hikes this year, for example, might require a greater focus value than sale discount).
Do competitor research. This doesn’t mean you get too bogged down in the strategy of others, but rather find where the gaps are. What aren’t people saying? What have others missed? Where can you fill that gap for consumers?
Highlight your unique offering
To stand out during the BFCM sales period, it's vital to create unique offers that truly resonate with your target audience. By providing exclusive deals and discounts that align with your customers' preferences and needs, you can capture their attention and drive sales. More importantly though, by keeping your offer unique to a segmented audience you can not only have them convert for this period, but have them feel like they were seen and valued as a customer, and be eager to be a loyal ongoing customer. Innovative approaches like bundling products to suit personas, offering freebies, or implementing limited-time offers can be particularly enticing, helping you not only attract but also retain shoppers during this competitive shopping event.
Leverage UGC to build trust
User generated content is one of the most valuable pieces of content you can have. It is a powerful tool for boosting your brand’s visibility and credibility when there’s a sea of sales messaging being thrown at consumers. By actively encouraging your customers to post about their purchase of your product or service in the lead up to BFCM and during, tagging your brand, you tap into the authenticity and influence of your loyal customers.
To maximise the impact of UGC, run a contest or incentive that inspires your customers to use their valuable social space to share their experience. Discounts or gift cards are a great place to start, but it really depends on your brand’s unique product or service; where can you offer true value in return. Not only does it help your current BFCM strategy, but it will give ongoing visibility and credibility to your branding and marketing arsenal.
Watch and adjust
Putting a strategy together is a lot of work, and it can feel like you don’t want to let that baby go out into the wild making its own choices… you built it! It’ll work! Sure… but, as someone once said on television at some point, ‘Do you want to be happy, or do you want to be right?’ Or, in this instance, do you want to optimise the success of your BFCM strategy, or strictly stick with your hypothetical outlay?
Monitoring and adjusting your BFCM campaigns in real time is crucial to ensure you’re not missing changes in consumer behaviour you didn’t see, or could never have guessed, that mean you’re slightly missing the mark. Or, maybe one area is working incredibly, and so you can lean more into that. Implementing a robust system of continuous evaluation and optimisation can significantly impact your campaign's success.
Here is a good check list for covering off your monitoring effectively:
Real-Time Monitoring: Set up real-time dashboards that provide immediate updates on critical metrics.
A/B Testing: Experiment with different elements of your campaign, such as ad copy, visuals, landing pages, and pricing.
Budget Management: Keep a close eye on your advertising budgets and adjust allocations based on the performance.
Customer Feedback: Pay attention to customer feedback! Read the room, put it against data and find your truth points to work with.
Responsive Marketing: Be ready to adapt your messaging and promotions based on real-time events or trends.
Customer Segmentation: Continuously refine your customer segments based on behaviour and preferences.
Post-Campaign Analysis: After the BFCM period, conduct a thorough analysis of your campaign's performance.
Remember, a well-thought-out strategy is your ticket to Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales success over that weekend, but ultimately it should be focussed on creating a great experience for a well thought out target audience to ensure they return as loyal long term fans of your brand. BFCM weekend is as much a brand awareness and retention opportunity as it is an opportunity for a condensed revenue spike. All marketing should have a long term goal in mind, and if you do the groundwork, you will have greater success achieving genuine results that will truly matter.