From a pure marketing perspective - Black Friday by the Numbers


Black Friday is a worldwide event in the marketing calendar. Most large companies source globally and export their product around the world driving this type of international, targeted, marketing event.

I'm not going to discuss the merits of it, I'm currently badly placed to take a position. My job is to sell, in volume, globally. My bonus drives my (non) thinking in a very deterministic sense.

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I have a second hat too and that is as a digital marketer. I've been espousing the value of online marketing in the face of criticism from both the informed and uninformed side of the house. The key criticism is that it is all a jumble of spam. That there is too much noise. "Nobody cares,...Prove it!"

A second criticism is that "it was better in my day," meaning the heyday of global marketing efforts epitomized by Madison Avenue, Fleet Street and the Big Brand Agencies.

I would argue that the field has evened out quite a bit. Bigger players have bigger budgets, but they don't hoover up the talent or garner the same big wins I'm about to show you.

Here is a quick snapshot from the weekend just gone...




I'm not going to add Facebook and paid advertising to the mix, because the paid element of Facebook will distort the overall result and adwords are driven by different criteria (auction, price paid and competitive environment). What I'm showing you is pure, organic targeted reach. Put simply, it is non paid messaging.

I will also add email because it delivers information on another channel, often derided by the naysayers and considered a dying medium.


There are a few things you may notice. The first one is the "tapering" or increasing of message volume leading up to the event (in this case Black Friday). The second is the sheer number of people reached.

Taken in aggregate, the numbers are far higher than the readership of a local newspaper, radio station or nowadays, even a TV channel segment or ad spot. The cost is negligible in comparison.

Another point to note is that the digital arena rewards different approaches on different channels. There is no one size fits all marketing strategy that the big boys and girls can use to simply bully their way to the top of the pile (or consciousness).

Good branding and good messaging have always been a prerequisite, but now you have this immediacy that drives messaging. Good stuff gets shared, crap gets binned...but fast.

I'm going to sign out on this one. The principle behind modern advertising is the sheer number of people you can reach on connected devices (that may or may not be...) driving a "buy it now" decision that can be actioned by users in seconds. The process is almost instantaneous. It bears thinking about (even for a moment). I don't think this paradigm has existed before - instantaneous gratification.