How to future-proof your brand this Black Friday

Andy Cockburn
3 October, 22

Black Friday may be months away, but time is running out for retailers to plan a high-impact campaign that drives revenue, on the day and beyond.  

This year, stress-inducing sales deadlines and shouty messaging won’t cut it. While they may spike online orders on the day, they’re also likely to harm consumer trust — causing profits to tumble once your promotion ends.

That’s not to say, though, that brands should opt out of Black Friday altogether. As pressure mounts on marketers to stretch their shrinking budgets further, making the most of this golden opportunity to drive revenue is imperative. Meanwhile, as more and more consumers feel the strain of the cost-of-living crisis, many are holding out for Black Friday in the hope of seizing a good deal.

Investing marketing spend wisely and giving customers genuine value this Black Friday is now crucial to brand survival. To do so, retailers must celebrate the day in a way that nurtures – rather than harms – consumer trust. 

Chasing profit at any cost

Often, the competitive nature of Black Friday sees brands in a race to the bottom as they slash prices to get new shoppers through the door. But this approach soon sends profits crashing as Black Friday bargain hunters disappear after their purchase.

Another short-term tactic for bolstering profit margins is chasing ‘bad profit’. Coined by NPS creator Fred Reichheld, bad profit extracts – rather than creates – value from customers (think unexpected shipping costs, or paying to update your booking). While it drives immediate revenue, it also damages customer relationships and the prospect of future sales. 

You need only to scan the countless headlines questioning the legitimacy of Black Friday deals to know it’s notorious for bad profit. Striking the balance between driving revenue while delivering genuine value is essential for brand success. Treating your customers well isn’t just the right thing to do; it makes them more likely to buy again, spend more and recommend your brand to friends and family. 

Acquire your future best customers

Black Friday this year will be different. Sticking to recycled campaign plans from previous years might seem like the safe option, but in reality, refusing to adapt could severely stunt your brand’s long-term growth.

Instead of focussing on acquiring big spenders through expensive and unpredictable marketing channels, look instead to your brand advocates. They might have slipped under your radar so far, but these customers are your truly most valuable.

Consumers trust a brand recommendation from a friend or relative more than any other marketing channel. As the cost-of-living crisis tightens its grip on consumer pursestrings, more Black Friday shoppers will be seeking their friends’ opinions before buying from brands. And when their friends tell them about a brand they love, they listen. On average, referred customers spend 11% more on their first order and are 5x more likely to refer onwards themselves, sparking a referral chain reaction that can exponentially grow your business.

Identify the brand fans in your customer base and treat them better than any other. Give them early access to your Black Friday sales and engage with them in ways that encourage them to buy again and introduce even more friends. Activate your brand fans in the right way, and you’ll have a steady stream of new customers heading directly to your checkout this Black Friday. 

An advocacy-first approach

Look beyond cold, hard sales to focus on nurturing customer advocacy in the run-up to Black Friday and beyond. Offer your best deals to referring customers, and reward them when their introduction converts into a new shopper. Instead of shouting about slashed prices, showcase what makes your brand different. One of our clients, a vegan meal delivery service, rebranded the event as ‘Green Friday’ and planted extra trees for every successful referral.

The brands that prioritise customer love over short-term sales this Black Friday will be the ones to emerge from the economic crisis thriving. Engage with your customers in the right ways, and they’ll become your best marketers, driving organic, sustainable growth directly from your core. That will ensure brand success, long after your Black Friday sales end.

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