That Black Friday Feeling! A Lesson In Marketing Promotion

There are some American traditions that I’d rather we hadn’t adopted over here, but some traditions that began life in the USA are a welcome addition to the way we do things here in the UK…..and Black Friday is one of them. For anyone that’s unfamiliar with the concept, let me enlighten you.  Four weeks before Christmas retailers declare ‘Black Friday’ as a day of one-time-only deals and special offers where prices are slashed.  It’s a boon for savvy consumers who can get their Christmas shopping sorted at a fraction of the cost by shopping for bargains on that day.  And after coming to the UK with Amazon, I noticed this year how many other retailers – particularly online – have joined the Black Friday party.

But it’s not just consumers that benefit from this clever marketing idea.  Indeed, the concept has become so successful that Amazon has now extended Black Friday into a full week of promotions.  While it reduces margins during the promotional period it not only increases volume sales to kick start the Christmas peak period, it also creates a buzz…..and it’s that buzz that really turns a cost-cutting promotion into a valuable marketing exercise.

So where’s the lesson in all of this for business-to-business companies? While the Christmas spending frenzy and the competition to win a greater share of the consumer pie may not apply, the idea of winning new customers through promotions and maximising cyclical highs and lows in demand certainly do. Promotions for the B2B world may not be the same as in the consumer marketplace, but they do work: that’s why CME runs regular promotions to offer tasters of our services!

For me, the lessons of Black Friday for a B2B business are clear:

  1. Concentrate your efforts on a specific idea for a specific period of time
  2. Create a buzz around your promotions and help your target audience to see it as an opportunity they could miss out on (not a sales push to be ignored)
  3. Look around at what your competitors are doing – if they’ve come up with a great idea, copy it, borrow it or develop it to suit your own needs

I won’t be stapling fake snow to the roof this Christmas or hanging any popcorn on the tree but I think there are some American habits that we can all benefit from adopting, starting with a less risk averse approach to marketing.