Black Friday Secrets from a Marketing Expert

Looking for some Black Friday inspiration this year? Look no further! We picked the brilliant mind of marketing expert Philip Kitcher to learn the in’s and out’s of the most popular shopaholic holiday. Read on to see what he has to say!

Philip Kitcher has experience in every discipline of marketing, from conceptual branding to sales and development. Kitcher knows everything there is to know about strategy when it comes to marketing - and holidays are no exception. Here’s what he has to say about Black Friday:

When’s the best time to start ramping up marketing efforts for Black Friday?

An active social media strategy is essential for the calendar year’s busiest shopping weekend. Sticking to traditional means of advertising is no longer going to cut it. Marketers need to test different messages and target different audiences throughout the season, which is impossible to do outside of digital. What every marketer needs to understand is that Black Friday is no longer a single day - it’s now a month-long event, which means it's vital to start early. In today’s competitive online environment if you’re not early; you’re late.

There are many different ways marketers can get in on the buzz before the competition. Leveraging discounts, giveaways, and offering rewards to loyal customers are targeted ways to remind customers of the product offering in advance while tempting new ones at the same time.

Consumers are super savvy and relentlessly scout around retail sites well before the holidays. This means they’re ready and primed to pounce when deals are actually announced. As a result, having an effective SEO & SEM strategy is essential for smaller, independent brands. If they can’t find you by name, make it easier for them to find what you have to offer.

Which brand can people look to for inspiration when it comes to Black Friday?

It’s probably unsurprising that Amazon is the first brand that comes to mind.

Amazon’s dominance continues with over 50% of all online transactions on Black Friday in 2017, and well over 40% of online checkouts on Thanksgiving Day. By comparison, one of the closest competitors Walmart managed less than 10% of all online sales on Black Friday. This demonstrates how important a solid holiday content marketing strategy, combined with an intuitive e-commerce site can drastically impact sales.

We have seen huge success in the context of how a strategic alliance between product and social media influencers can significantly impact sales. Influencer marketing agency StyleHaul and Amazon launched a creative campaign which authentically used influencers and selected products. Influencers were used to create short videos on certain Amazon.com products. The format and overall integrated campaign were a hit with audiences which were reflected in the overall results. Sometimes partnering with the right spokesperson is the best way to get your message to stand out from the rest of the crowd.

How does technology fit into all of this?


Smartphone orders are increasing every year, with mobile sales now exceeding those made on desk and laptops. Mobile contest and giveaways generally prompt consumers to bite. On top of that, there’s the bonus of having access to tons of insightful data. This can all be used for future sales and promotion activities.

While foot traffic to physical retail stores appears to be declining, consumers who opted to shop both online and in-store spent more than those who shopped exclusively online or in-store….so don’t underestimate the value of a focused Omni-channel marketing strategy that aligns with consumer trends and evolving behaviors… And it's no surprise that video watch time across digital platforms continues to accelerate at a phenomenal rate.

Black Friday is considered to be an American event, are there any other online shopping extravaganzas marketers should keep their eyes on?

For the first time ever, China’s largest online shopping day, November 11, is reported to be open to foreign shoppers. Originally a celebration of being Single (an almost anti-Valentine's Day!), the festival was co-opted by the e-commerce giant Alibaba.

The shopping day has since become the source of one of the world's largest online of payment transactions, with 256,000 purchases per second processed through Alibaba's mobile wallet app AliPay. Just last year, a total of 1.48 billion transactions were registered by AliPay in just 24-hours; with spend totaling a whopping 25 billion dollars..... To put that into perspective that's 4x larger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined! Perhaps western markets can learn a thing a two from this Asian event.

All kinds of sales tactics are thrown into the equation....celebrities Pharrell Williams, Nicole Kidman, the Beckhams & Kobe Bryant have all played a part in raising hype around the event. Crazy discounts, of course, are a core part of the overall strategy. For example, in 2017, the first 33 customers had the chance to purchase a lifetime supply of the Chinese spirit, Baijiu for less than a thousand bucks.



Philip Kitcher has an impressive record of 20 years in Creative, Marketing, Sales, Business Development & General Management in branded media operations across Asia, Middle East & Europe. He is VP of StyleHaul in Asia-Pacific and he is CEO of the NGO, WAH Foundation.



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