The Darkest Day of the Year (Lessons from Black Friday)

by Erik Doescher

In about two and a half weeks, I’m going to sit down with my family, eat way more turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing than any mere mortal should, turn on a football game, and promptly fall asleep. It will be lovely. It may be the best day of the year, and I will go to bed that evening a happy man.

Three hours later, I will be rudely awakened by my wife, dragged out of bed, forced to get dressed and thrown in the car (perhaps literally if I complain too much).

(If you’re reading this, I love you honey.)

If I’m not the one driving, I’ll be given what amounts to a large recycling bin’s worth of newspaper inserts, and will need to determine in short order which one of the 50 stores having a “huge sale” we’ll be visiting first.

I hate Black Friday. Well, okay….“hate” is kind of a strong word.

So I’ll say it this way: I really hate Black Friday.

The retail industry has done a marvelous job of creating urgency surrounding this one day of the year. If we miss it, we might not save a kagillion dollars on buying those gifts our kids just have to have, which they’ll likely stop playing with a week after they open them. (Big sigh here.)

As much as I’d like to see this day obliterated from our calendars (364-day year anyone?), I do think there are two…no, three…lessons you can learn from Black Friday.

First, creating a sense of urgency around your offer is important. If potential customers feel there is more than enough time to act on an offer, they may not take immediate action, or worse…they may determine to act on it later and then forget about it. Black Friday takes this to an extreme. You’ve got just a few hours (usually before the crack of dawn) to take advantage of bigger-than-normal savings. After that, they’re gone.

Second, if you can’t beat them, join them. As much as I dislike Black Friday, it is a day when consumers have buying, buying and buying some more on their brains. As a result, if you’re not already planning your own Black Friday specials, it is something to consider. Particularly if (like many of our clients) you’re selling electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops.

And third….and this one is the MOST important….by all means, avoid sending your Black Friday specials to my house. I’d like to get some sleep.

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