Black Friday (November 25 this year) is one of the busiest shopping days of the calendar. The bustling crowds, the thrill of a bargain and the November chill in the air make it a happy reminder that Christmas is exactly one month away.

It’s a chance to connect with the public, boost sales, build reputations and grow brand recognition. According to one report, last year saw £9.2 billion spent in 5.9 million sales, that’s a 23% increase in total spend. With numbers like that, it’s surprising that the Black Friday phenomenon is largely restricted to B2C markets.

In this blog we’ll suggest that business to business marketers have as much to gain from Black Friday as their business to consumer counterparts. The key is to step back, be clear about the differences between B2B and B2C, and understand how those differences should be reflected in your Black Friday strategy.

Image of person holding shopping bags

In the minds of most marketers, Black Friday is all about impulse purchases. We imagine crowds of shoppers bargain hunting on the highstreets and online. Of course, that’s completely at odds with B2B purchasing behaviour.

The focus is entirely different because of the size and value of the orders they place. B2B purchases don’t tend to be impulsive, they are considered and analytical. Purchasing managers are great negotiators, after all, their jobs and professional reputations are on the line. B2B marketers are experts in relationship management, they have to be because the buying process can take a lot longer than direct to consumer markets.

Black Friday Bag

There’s much more to Black Friday than impulse buying

One of the biggest mistakes marketers make this time of year is restricting themselves to going after quick sales. There’s much more to Black Friday than impulse buying and bargain hunting. For B2B marketers, this is a chance to help establish your business relationships and engage with the people on your database. We know that making purchasing decisions can be a long process. This is a rare chance to accelerate that journey.

One of the reasons Black Friday is so successful in B2C markets is that it creates a sense of urgency. Consumers need to grab those deals while they last. As B2B marketers we can employ similar tactics but over a longer time frame. B2B marketers need to educate their prospects about the benefits of their products. This time of year is the ideal occasion to do that. You can inform people that you’ll be offering Black Friday discounts well ahead of time and use that as a hook to get people’s interest and inform them about the benefits of your products and your wider portfolio.

Black Friday is the ideal time to send out a targeted communication with a limited time offer (find out how we can help your email marketing here). Consider using an individual purchase code for each prospect but give it a time limit that reflects the longer nature of B2B purchasing decisions. If an organisation is close to making a purchase, this tactic might provide the push they need to choose your product or service over the competition.

During Black Friday people are more receptive to sales and marketing communications… Use the time wisely.

Black Friday can help you turn qualified leads into actual customers, but for B2B marketers there are a lot more opportunities than that. At this time of year, people are more receptive to sales and marketing communications because they are expecting to hear about deals and offers. Use the time wisely. Black Friday is an opportunity to maximise your profit by upselling your portfolio. Create an attractive offer that will encourage your customers to upgrade. A one time offer of this kind lowers the barriers to purchase and the next time your customer will be more likely to make a repeat order at the higher level.

The same tactic provides great opportunities for cross selling. Because people are more inclined to make a purchase, take the opportunity to inform them of all your products and services. Point out complimentary products. Highlight what efficiencies they can achieve by purchasing several product lines from the same vendor. Again, create a limited time offer to help break down the barriers to purchase. 

Use Black Friday to reaffirm your business relationships

Here’s a big difference between B2C and B2C tactics during Black Friday. B2C marketers will attempt to broaden their customer base by offering attractive deals on popular products. In B2B markets that situation is reversed. Relationships are all important so send personalised messages to specific individuals within a target organisation. Instead of the one size fits all method, this account-based approach will help solidify your relationships. 

If you aren’t already, you should be collecting and analysing as much data as possible. Good accurate data is key to building strong business relationships and you can make the most of it on Black Friday. If you’ve received a query about a particular product or service during the year, now is the ideal time to follow up on that with a targeted communication offering an incentive to purchase. 

Take a scientific approach and be meticulous about it. If you have precise data about all your past interactions and historical campaigns, then you should have a good idea what works for your business and for your customers. Really smart marketers will know what works for their competitors too.

Here’s a very important point that’s often overlooked. Black Friday is a chance to learn, to gather information and to observe other organisations. We often talk about taking a customer focus, putting the customer at the centre of the organisation, but there’s also value in taking a broader market focus. If you’ve got tunnel vision on your customers, you’ll never know what the rest of the world is doing. Benchmark your Black Friday activities against your competitors.

Beware, Black Friday is fiercely competitive…

With the economy going through a hard time at the moment it means the competitive situation for most organisations is tough. So why not take action this Black Friday, so you don’t find yourself losing market share to the competition.

Above all, remember one thing: Black Friday is fiercely competitive. The companies that lose out will be the ones that do nothing and this goes for your marketing all year round!

The world’s best marketers make the best of every opportunity that comes their way and Black Friday is one of the most important. In the face of such competition, make sure you plan effectively. We’ve got a resource library on our website designed to help you do just that. For example, you can read all our expertise in marketing planning in the freely available eGuide How to Create an Effective Data Driven Marketing Campaign.

Alternatively, contact us directly and speak to one of our team. Together we’ll make Black Friday one of the most important dates in your B2B calendar. 

To prove that we practise what we preach, we are offering you 10% off your next data order – plus we will throw in a £10 Amazon voucher (or a £10 donation to the charity of your choice)*. Just quote ‘BF10’ when you call our data experts.

*Applies to orders placed from 23rd November to 30th November 2022. BF10 offer code must be mentioned before order is placed. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer or orders that have been quoted prior to this date. Offer consists of 10% off plus a £10 Amazon voucher which will be emailed within 5 working days of order completion. If you prefer, we will donate £10 to a charity of your choice and send over a receipt to show that this has been done. Standard terms and conditions apply.

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