Marketing Strategy Blog

3 of the Best Black Friday Campaigns (and Key Takeaways for Your Small Business)

SEO: Best Black Friday Campaigns

Within the holiday marketing clutter it can seem impossible to break through the clutter for your business. But in the last few years there have been three examples of big brands doing just this.

While all three of these companies have dedicated marketing teams who spend months planning the campaigns, there are key takeaways that small businesses can learn from to create successful Black Friday. Be inspired by these three big brands and how they were able to create marketing promotions that stood out.

REI: Opt Outside


In 2015 REI had a bold idea: closing their stores during one of the biggest sale days of the year and encourage their customers to join them outside using their #optoutside holiday hashtag. Despite what anyone would have initially thought, the response was extremely positive; thousands shared images of their outdoor escapades and the brand experience positive feedback.

Modify for your business:

This strategy worked because at the core of the campaign REI knew exactly who their target audience was and what mattered to them: outdoor enthusiasts who love spending time outside. Asking their customers to spend time outside vs. in a store worked.

If you want to create a similar campaign remember appeal directly to what matters to your customers while also staying true to your product or service. The key is to engage your customers in their passions in a way that makes the most business sense. And if this campaign is not replicable for your business, that’s ok too. Just remember to be true to your brand.

Patagonia: 100% to Charity


Patagonia’s company values tend towards being environmentally responsible and fair to all employees. With this in mind, on Black Friday in 2016 the company donated 100% of their profit towards charities that supported their company values.

Patagonia expected to raise $2 million but was shocked when sales totaled $10 million. Despite hitting their initial goal five times over, the company stuck to their word and donated every penny to different charities that worked to help the planet.

Modify for your business

Mimicking this campaign idea may not be feasible if you’re a small business simply because that revenue is important to your bottom line. Patagonia remembered the key of the holiday season is to give to others.

So, ask how your business can incorporate giving into your overall Black Friday strategy. Find a non profit that aligns with company values to give a portion of your sales from that day. Host a donation bin and allow your customers to purchase products that they can then give to those in need. Pledge sales from a certain time period to a local non profit. All of these are small-scale ways to recreate this campaign.

Amazon: 35 Days of Bargains


In 2016 Amazon upped the ante by turning Black Friday into a series of daily deals lasting for 35 days. They also promoted daily sales and through Alexa, their voice activated personal assistant, which also helped boost sales of that product. By separating the deals out individually and focusing on one a day, they not only were able to drive interest and ensure customers returned to see what was new, but also extended purchase from single day of shopping to an entire month.

Modify for your business

Amazon isn’t a favorite among local businesses, but their Black Friday strategy is something that many businesses could replicate. Pick several different deals and space them out over a couple of days so you can emphasize each offer to your audience and be sure each gets the spotlight.

As the holiday season gets closer and closer, don’t forget to look to big brands for Black Friday promotional ideas. With some small tweaks you can easily take the components and layer them into your holiday promotional plans.

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