American Marketer


Last-minute tips for Black Friday marketing

November 16, 2017

Allison Carraghan is project manager at Mapp Digital Allison Carraghan is project manager at Mapp Digital


By Allison Carraghan

As holiday sales are expected to continue increasing, especially in the United States, there is ample opportunity for brands and marketers to profit and leave a positive impression on consumers. However, there is also more competition as customers sort through an influx of messaging.

Over the past week-and-a-half, I have received promotions and offers – often, repeatedly – from hotels, restaurants, stores, catalogs, any brand I have bought something from in the past and even some I had not. It has left me feeling irritated and over-served.

This is not the direction that marketing is supposed to be heading. This is not a customer-centric approach. If anything, it is turning subscribers to retail email away in frustration.

The stats demonstrate this tidal wave of marketing.

According to our data, messaging volumes in the U.S. are growing by 13 percent year-over-year, rising to more than 165 percent on Black Friday. We are still seeing year-over-year, double-digit growth in the email channel, especially on Black Friday.

The National Retail Federation says 54 percent of consumers start to research holiday purchases in October. It is imperative that your brand creates a holiday marketing strategy and organizes your campaign well in advance of the “big shopping day.”

Here are a few do’s and don’t’s to maximize the impact of your last-minute Black Friday marketing efforts.

Personalization and orchestration are key
It is common knowledge that customer frustration from in-store shopping and overstuffed inboxes increases during the holiday season.

A great way to mitigate this frustration is by leveraging online shopping through strategic and personalized email marketing, coupon offerings and targeted segmentation through data management.

To maximize the impact and conversion rate around your holiday campaigns, research your desired customers’ regular shopping trends.

Take into consideration their reviews and product purchases on an ongoing basis. This way, customer-shopping preferences can be formed in advance and in real time, as opposed to random last-minute marketing tactics.

From there, segment your audiences based on their individual purchase history and their stage within the buyer journey. One of the best ways to do this is by creating customized offers that appeal to their specific needs during the holiday season.

According to our data, open rates increased in the U.S. during Black Friday – more than 18 percent – due to the proliferation of mobile devices and email being available while customers are on the go.

With customers either shopping online, or being active on mobile while shopping in-store, it is vital to leverage this trend and create more interactivity within your email marketing. Create interactivity and increase shopping engagement in your email campaigns with tactics such as rollover effects, quizzes and GIFs.

Best practice during Black Friday campaigns
With the typical holiday inbox clutter, streamline and implement your email placement and deliverability to increase probable viewership from the customer.

It is important to not silo your marketing strategy to one platform or device. Maximize your potential customer reach and inbox placement by creating email templates that are compatible on desktop and mobile.

According to Campaign Monitor, 53 percent of emails are opened on mobile devices. Since customers will be more likely to be shopping on their phones and on the go, make sure you incorporate a strong mobile email marketing campaign.

Customers do not want their shopping schedules dictated to them, especially during the busy holiday season.

According to RetailNext, December traffic and sales are moving into January, suggesting that shoppers are waiting for post-season sales.

Continue beyond just one-day Black Friday sales by offering ongoing sales and promotions. This allows marketers and brands to extend the conversation after Black Friday by promoting new products, offering exclusive services or access, and celebrating the little things.

THE HOLIDAYS are a busy time for everyone, so remember to keep your marketing campaigns customer-centric and strategically personalized.

You need to know your customers as people, and understand what makes them prefer your brand above all others.

The best way to maintain a healthy brand-customer relationship is to be intentional and consistent about establishing it – so much so that the noise of other brands’ holiday marketing cannot drown out the tune you want the customer to hear.

Allison Carraghan is project manager at Mapp Digital, Frederick, MD. Reach her at