No matter where you are in the world, business cycles are determined by key dates and seasonalities that delineate brands’ marketing strategies. For those well-versed in ecommerce, every day brings new opportunities to engage with consumers, but these are never in such an approachable frame of mind as during Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the west or Singles’ Day in China.
Each one of these events has attained international relevance, playing a fundamental role in the sales of brands everywhere. Yet in the race to capitalize on them, many campaigns fall short of their true potential—whether they know it or not. The fact is, Black Friday can be much more than a one-off event to boost your sales for a few days. It’s a priceless opportunity to establish a lasting relationship with consumers all year long.
Experiences That Stand on Their Own
A lot has been said about how to gear up for Black Friday—and with good reason. Its massiveness has turned the event into an advertising frenzy that spans a myriad of categories, products and services, which make it increasingly hard for a brand to stand out. As a response, sales are now popping up weeks before the event—to the point where some argue that Black Friday has long moved beyond its original meaning.
But if anything, these changing dynamics stress the importance of enhancing the customer experience and establishing a relationship that will last far longer than the event itself. “You’re not only competing with other brands; you’re also competing against ad fatigue,” explains Platforms Lead Brook Downton.
Don’t limit yourself to offering discounts. Provide consumers with experiences that will remain engraved in their minds.
A good example of this is what Tmall did for Singles’ Day. In the lead-up to the event, the Chinese website for online retail launched an immersive art exhibition where they showcased eight limited-edition collections from leading brands in the form of NFTs. In putting these experiences together, it’s not imperative to keep Black Friday at the center of it all. The ultimate goal is to provide an added value for consumers, so approach it with a customer-first mindset and let the event be merely the amplifier of an experience that stands on its own.
Getting to Know Your Consumers
By the start of the Black Friday season, you should have a clear idea of who your consumers are, their behavior and nuances. But if your marketing efforts go according to plan, you can expect a significant influx of new data during these days—both from new and existing consumers. Knowing how to leverage the new data can help you carry this momentum forward, and provide tools you’ll fall back on in the quieter months of the year.
Although a robust strategy can’t be built overnight, make sure you’re implementing tools that will allow you to accurately identify each consumer, such as Google Analytics.
“At this stage, good data management is the equivalent of remembering our conversations with people,” says Gastón Fossati, VP of Data Growth, LATAM at Media.Monks. Having control over this data will bring your consumers’ needs into sharper focus. And when it comes to new shoppers, don’t look at Black Friday as the end of something; rather, as the start of an ongoing strategy. “In this scenario, the conversion already happened, it’s the opposite of what we’re used to,” says Downton. “Have a follow-up moment, acknowledge that new engagement and start building from there.”
That first touchpoint after Black Friday can take many forms, but Downton recommends giving consumers the opportunity to reconfirm their desire to connect with your brand and exchange information. In doing so, it’s important to demonstrate the value exchange that you offer—that is, the more personalized suite of services and benefits that having accurate data can lead to.
Paving the Way for an Ongoing Relationship
Once the consumer has shown true enthusiasm about engaging with your brand, you can move forward with other marketing efforts, such as a cross-selling strategy. “Considering the products that your consumer already bought to recommend others is a great way to better serve your audience with a more personalized experience,” says Fossati. “It can also be helpful to have a model in place to predict their lifetime value, which will help you focus on the consumers with more potential.”
This point illustrates that the difference between a brand that waits for Black Friday to see their sales ramp up and one that builds on this date to maintain a consistent cycle lies in data management. In order to continue to reap the benefits of Black Friday weeks after the event, it’s important to nurture your relationship with consumers—something you can’t do unless you show up for them and provide real value.
Traditional data practices are en route to disappearing—and while working on a first-party strategy may feel daunting, that shouldn’t be the case. For most brands, the only thing preventing them from truly regaining control over their data is a matter of priorities. Knowing that Google will block third-party cookies in 2023, there’s still a misconception that developing a first-party data strategy is not urgent, when in fact, it’s never been more relevant.
Now is the time to invest in modern solutions that provide valuable insights. While planting the seeds of anticipation with marketing campaigns and exclusive sales is essential, there’s as much to be done—if not more—after Black Friday. This year, aim at making data-driven decisions that incentivize consumers to keep coming back for more, and you’ll have the key to a consistent sales cycle.
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