Remember the days when people would sit down for dinner, say what they were grateful for, and then literally trample each other to get the best deals at their local big box store? Ah, Black Friday. Now that we’re hopefully past the days of pushing and shoving to get the lowest price, customers are expecting brands to treat them as more than just a face in a stampeding crowd.
A feral herd is the polar opposite of individualized marketing. If customers are banging down your door, you may know that they want to shop at your store and find the best deal, but do you really know what product they want to buy? Do you know why they want to buy that product? The entire experience is pretty vague.
Strategies for Individualizing Black Friday Promotions
Today, brands are equipped with data and tools that allow them to understand every customer, on an individual level. And, with that knowledge comes the ability to individualize marketing campaigns–even during Black Friday. To prepare for the upcoming holiday season, let’s take a look at how some brands have been individualizing Black Friday promotions.
Aligning Values With Social Causes
Brands can combine their values with their promotions and contribute to causes that align with their beliefs. In doing so, these brands are appealing to those individuals who want to shop with brands that make a difference—we’re looking at you, Gen Z.
Last year, Everlane, a clothing brand known for ethically-made apparel, partnered with the Rodale Institute for their Black Friday campaign. The Rodale Institute is a non-profit organization leading the way in organic agriculture. Proceeds from every Everlane order, starting November 24th, were donated to the Rodale institute until the $200k goal was reached.
Last year wasn’t the only time Everlane partnered with a non-profit during Black Friday. Everlane actually has a “Black Friday Fund” that has been active since 2014. They’ve raised over $1M for non-profits that align with their brand’s core values and beliefs. While it’s not necessarily granular individualization, contributing to the greater good can speak to a specific segment of Everlane’s audience.
Combining Dynamic Content and Discounts
With modern marketing tools, brands can track customer activity on their websites or mobile apps. Brands can then use that information to send abandoned cart or abandoned browse emails, featuring the product that was left behind. Because this data is at the user level, including specific product information in promotional emails creates a highly individualized customer experience.
In 2019 Columbia, the outerwear brand, did just that. They sent abandoned browse emails to their customers and combined it with their Black Friday promotion. Not only is the specific item still available, but it’s now at a lower price.
The best part about this campaign is that it was likely completely automated. The Black Friday banner was probably static across all emails sent during a certain timeframe, but the rest was dynamic. The browse information is stored at the user level and, when there is a price drop, the abandoned browse campaign is triggered to send, featuring that product. Because the price drop is a result of the Black Friday promotion, this campaign triggered at the right moment, featuring the Black Friday banner. Keep in mind this was done three years ago—this level of individualization isn’t new!
Meeting Customers Where They Are, Literally
Another tool brands can take advantage of to individualize their campaigns is geolocation. Whether customers are on a mobile device or desktop, they provide a digital thumbprint (think: GPS or IP address) that shows brands where they’re logging in from. Brands can use this information to send tailored content to customers (while being careful to not be creepy).
In their 2019 Black Friday campaign, REI, the camping company, used geolocation perfectly. Famously, REI closes their doors on Black Friday to better align the holiday with their brand values—they want customers to spend the day enjoying the great outdoors, rather than shopping indoors. To help get their customers ready for their outdoor adventures, REI used geolocation to show customers their local weather and local hiking trails.
Providing the local weather and hiking trails creates a highly tailored experience for customers, but so does the overall campaign. People who shop at REI likely enjoy outdoor activities, and REI is well aware of that. By sending this email, REI demonstrated that they really know their customers and are thinking about what they need and want from each campaign they create.
It’s No Longer About the Lowest Price
Finding the lowest price during Black Friday has become irrelevant. With price match and extended online shopping deals, every brand can offer a good discount. Customers are looking for the best experience, and that’s not something every brand can offer.
When we say customers are looking for the best experience, we’re not saying that in general terms. We’re saying that each individual customer is looking for the best experience for them. This means that your brand has to be able to create unique experiences that align with every individual customer’s wants and needs.
It’s not impossible. The examples we just shared show how brands are connecting with customers on an individual level without a huge manual lift. With the right marketing communication platform, your brand can start individualizing Black Friday promotions and provide the elevated experiences your customers are looking for.
Black Friday is around the corner. To learn how Iterable can help your brand automate and individualize your Black Friday campaigns, schedule a demo today.