Guest Written by Chris Gregoire
Every year, I can guarantee a certain discussion happens at my inlaw’s Thanksgiving dinner, between a couple of my sister-in-laws and my wife. Does this sound familiar to anyone else?
“So you want to leave here at 5:00?”
“No, I want to get there at 5:00. We’ll have to leave here at 4:30ish.”
“Last year, we got there at 5:30, and there weren’t any parking spots, do you think 5:00 will be early enough?”
“Hmm… Maybe not. Maybe we should leave here at 4:00…”
The hype surrounding Black Friday is amazing. My personal dollar value on sleep traditionally keeps me in bed, as waking up that early simply isn’t worth the cost. There are others who see Black Friday as the absolute best purchasing experience ever.
A challenge for any business is to build even half that level of hype on a random day, at a regular time. It seems as though every other weekend is a “One Day Sale” at one store or another, and typically, the results are not spectacular. So the question remains, “How can a business create a level of hype around April 6th?”
First of all, Black Friday happens once a year, so there is plenty of time to start building the hype up. A random weekday or weekend sale is usually promoted for less than a week in advance of said sale. A business owner cannot expect the same results without the same level of advance notice. Therefore, if a business is looking to have an absolute blowout sale, it needs a long gestation period to allow shoppers plenty of time to plan for the sale.
Several large companies that capitalize on Black Friday sales “Leak” information via websites, or their social media. As a company trying to build a huge sale, rather than stating all of the sale prices, allow for a “Leak”. Give one absolutely incredible deal a little press, and let it percolate. There is no need to show your entire sale until there are people available to spend money. This can stop online shopping comparisons, and can limit competition from price matching sales prices in advance.
Another aspect that you can bring to a sale is the sense of urgency. My wife would prefer to wake up around 9:00 on days when she doesn’t have to work. In order for her to meet up with her shopping cronies, she needs to leave our house at 3:30. The “Early Bird” specials typically end around regular opening time. A business looking for a heightened sense of urgency should not have a sale that lasts all weekend. Set it for a short time period. Nothing happens unless someone gets excited, and without a mad house, it’s hard for some people to get excited. If it is too convenient, people will not set aside specific time to visit. You need to make customers plan on taking advantage of your sale, not just accidentally wandering into it.
So far, the marketing tools listed have all been traditional. Imagine the potential when non-traditional marketing tools are introduced. With social media backing, and some guerrilla marketing campaigns in place, a business could effectively create a “Black Friday” style sale on any random Wednesday.