Mind your Black Friday message

Messaging is a very powerful tool in business, life and anywhere we communicate really. As my inbox has been bloated all week with Black Friday offers, it bothered me to see so many great brands discounting even in territories where Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated. We are an increasingly global world, I get that, but I also like the quirky local events to remain local rather than to become global commercial phenomena.

Discounting no matter for what reason, may create the perception of cheap and desperate. Since last Monday anything from consumer goods, to restaurants, courses, memberships, softwares, etc. have paraded through my inbox with 50 to 75% off deals. One begs the question how their prices were so inflated in the first place, if they can afford to deflate them so much for “Black Friday”. The first mail got some attention, but after about 30, and it’s not even Friday yet, I have to say it starting to have an air of desperation about it.

Attaching discounts or special pricing to an event, has been an age old marketing trick the world over. But if you think of it from the customer or potential customers’ perspective, you have now successfully devalued your price and for your shareholders probably your profit margin also. I used to work with sales people, who often generously dish out discounts to close a deal. Each time we calculated how much revenue (and commission) they lost out on, usually turned the lights back on to being much more convincing on the benefits of the product or service. Maybe this memo has not reached marketing yet and maybe they are not measured by the same key performance indicators and possibly are not commission structured.

Customer centric design would suggest making the customer feel special. Deal hunter types will buy on Black Friday and the occasional more loyal fan. But the reality is most people if the celebrate Thanksgiving they will be with family in either a happy or stressed place. The ones like me, in a different geographic region find the discount bonanza bemusing and after the 5th message start sending them straight to the bin folder.

I have yet to receive gamified offers, which may leave my discount up to chance. From a motivational perspective, I see very little effort being made to appeal to what is happening to me the potential user at this time of year. Assumptions of me being interested in your product are seemingly standard practise. Aggregator companies such as Amazon, Udemy and others representing several brands are a little smarter in offering somewhat more tailored offers based on my previous purchases, but as a rule even there I am pushed to explore irrelevant items.

I think there is scope for a treasure hunt or a spin the wheel deal or similar to have some interaction and some positive feeling in what otherwise seems like a mind-numbing exercise that can affect the company bottomline quite a lot.

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