Black Friday: Preplanning Best Practices

September 16, 2013 5:53 pm Last Updated: September 16, 2013 5:56 pm

Black Friday marketing executions seem to start earlier each year. Already, some regional retailers are offering Black Friday pricing for their weekend sales blitz. Given these occurrences, as a small-business owner involved in selling goods or services, it is logical to start developing what your marketing communications will be for this upcoming shopping season. 

With back-to-school wrapping up, many retailers realize their second highest sales period next to Christmas. While the majority of the shopping has already occurred for back-to-school, there are some parents who focus their spending after school starts. So, there are some residual sales that could be realized. Deploying an online retargeting strategy allows you to re-engage potential buyers as you delve into your plans for Black Friday. You don’t want to leave any money on the table for someone else to get.

As you go through the preplanning process for the upcoming holiday season, here are a few guiding principles to consider:

• Consumers are still concerned about the economy, their own financial health, and job security. Therefore, their spending will be cautious and most will limit their overall spending. 
• Review the marketplace and evaluate what your competitors have done in the past and if they are currently seeding messages in the marketplace now. You want to be sure that in the end, your product offers the best value and satisfies or solves a problem. Additionally, survey your current customers to find out what type of products/services they are interested in purchasing. It is much better to have products that customers want versus trying to force them to buy one that they are not interested in.
• Focus marketing communications to surround your desired target audience. A 360-degree approach is best to ensure you are everywhere your customer will be. This includes mobile, video and social media opportunities.
• In order to maximize your budget, plan ahead and execute your plans once finalized. For some media vehicles, such as TV and radio, availability will be tight as we enter the fourth quarter. The sooner you purchase your ads the better you can realize cost efficiencies with your buys. The longer you delay the purchase, the greater the potential for your out-of-pocket cost to be increased.

Placing emphasis on the planning process is key to having a successful Black Friday campaign. Contemplate a layered approached with a pre-promotional period that allows for gradual increased spending till your big blitz for Black Friday. Reflect upon integrating fifteen-second units to increase frequency with television, radio, and online execution. Be sure to evaluate the results periodically, especially with online. You can always optimize online execution to better performing units while the campaign is still in progress. 

There is an old saying, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained!” By using industry leading marketing practices/tactics and learning from the past, small-business owners can place their businesses in the best possible position for success this holiday selling season.

Adele Lassere is a marketing/advertising consultant with 20+ years of experience, freelance writer, and author of “Elements of Buying: A How To Reference Guide on Advertising for Business Owners”; available at Adele was listed on Black Enterprise’s 2011 Top Execs in Marketing & Advertising and Black Enterprise’s 2013 Top Women Executives in Advertising & Marketing. Contact: [email protected]