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The Savvy Marketer’s Black Friday Checklist

Lindsay Tjepkema
Lindsay Tjepkema , Marketing Director, Americas , Emarsys

It’s hard to believe the holiday season is almost here. With the weeks before the holidays slipping by, it’s time for savvy marketing teams to begin preparing and planning for a successful Black Friday. Yes, it may be known as the biggest shopping day of the year, but with competition increasing year over year, organizations must bring A+ campaigns and strategies to the forefront.

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To help marketing teams get in the holiday spirit, the team at Emarsys have put together the savvy marketer’s Black Friday checklist. Enjoy, and good luck!

_ Look Back on Past Successful Campaigns

If something is working, and working well, why reinvent the wheel? A marketing team’s first step should be to review Black Friday campaigns from the last few years to determine what worked well and what should be retired.

It’s also a good time to look back at some top-selling products or services, to see where the majority of marketing efforts should be focused. Having a high-level strategy helps marketers understand where the bulk of their revenue will come from (online, in-store, etc.), so they can double-down on curating the perfect message for the perfect channel.

_ Ramp Up Social Media Efforts

In the weeks (even months) before Black Friday, organizations’ social media strategies need to be ready. Loyal consumers choose to follow a brand on social media, and they are ready and waiting for good deals to come along. Make sure to mention pending doorbuster sales or flash deals to keep your audience engaged. Marketing teams can also use social media to nip customer complaints in the bud, of which there are many on Black Friday.

_ Fully Leverage Brand Ambassadors

This is a big marketing must-do around the holidays. With so many consumers around the world paying attention to social media, online trends, and pop culture at a single time, it’s the ideal moment to maximize leverage of brand ambassadors. Thought leaders, celebrities, models, and athletes are some of the most followed people on social media, and leveraging their influence can help build brand notoriety, push Black Friday campaigns to larger audiences, and even help grow a new audience.

_ Reinforce Customer Loyalty Messaging

While Black Friday is all about pulling in the maximum revenue, it is imperative that organizations not lose track of their core fan base. Making it easy to join a loyalty program (free bottom tier, for example) can help build loyalty. Marketers should also send out specific messaging and deals to loyalty club members to reinforce this ‘special’ relationship between brand and consumer. Customer loyalty programs are also a good place to test out (or repeat) spend-threshold campaigns, which encourage consumers to spend more for a higher discount.

_ Think About Optimizing the Mobile Site

2016 is truly the year of mobile. Looking back at last year, mobile-based sales soared to $900 million in the US on Black Friday, and the Alibaba Group reached a staggering $9.6B during Singles Day in China. These crazy online numbers are only going to rise this year. Now is truly the time to optimize your organization’s mobile-responsive site. It should be easy for a consumer to find and apply discounts straight from a smartphone. Another good idea is connecting in-store promotions to mobile content for the savvy shopper who is constantly checking their phone for deal updates.

_ But Don’t Forget About Traditional Web Traffic!

Just because the focus is on mobile, it’s critical not to forget about traditional online traffic. Things like customer complaints, large orders, store issues, and other important information still comes through via full online sites. For e-commerce retailers especially, monitoring all web traffic on Black Friday can help capture mountains of data that may have otherwise been unavailable. This data can then be used to help plan and implement next year’s Black Friday campaigns, fully completing the circle of marketing life.

_ Don’t Ignore Overseas Customers

Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving, a truly American holiday. In recent years, more and more international customers have taken advantage of retailer’s low prices and flash sales and have come out shopping in droves. In fact, in 2015 UK consumers almost doubled their Black Friday spending. This should serve as a reminder to marketers that it is a good idea to push geographical-specific messages to target consumers around big shopping days, even if they aren’t a traditional audience.

Final Thoughts

In today’s digital age, there’s no shortage of creative ways to highlight your brand this Black Friday. From mobile programs to customer loyalty campaigns to social media and beyond, how will your brand position itself for Black Friday’s shopping madness? 

What else is on your Black Friday checklist? Let us know on Twitter @Emarsys!


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