Why Next Year’s Black Friday Marketing Strategy Starts Now | Insights

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Why now is the time your brand should start thinking about the next Black Friday

December 2023

  • James Chutter, Digital Strategist
  • Jeremy Burrows, CEO

Are you ready to talk about what your brand is doing for Black Friday?

Yes, we’re aware how time works, especially as it relates to an article you found on the internet. We’re even publishing this not long after the potentially biggest shopping day for your brand has passed. In fact, you’re reading this at a time when Black Friday is months away; a time so far out you’ve barely had a spare moment to dread your need to start planning.

Ultimately, that’s our point. No matter whether your Black Friday campaign just launched or feels far out into the future, your time to start planning for the next one is now.

In fact, swap out Black Friday for any upcoming sales event for your brand that’s been tying knots in your stomach. The deadline may look far away now, but you can see it coming, and ignoring it doesn’t help you feel better.

When you know the deadline, why wait until the last minute to start collaborating with your agency to create the killer idea you need?

Why brands feel driven to push off evergreen deadlines

Procrastination in the face of a critical deadline is a pretty understandable impulse. After all, a project that hasn’t started still has a world of potential to satisfy and exceed your every sales goal. It’s when you start seeing and revising ideas that the pressure behind a day like Black Friday starts to get real.

But the biggest barrier to starting work early on the crucial dates on your calendar may come down to resources. Six months before Black Friday, you may not feel like you have time to consider distant deadlines amid so many short-term priorities. But having conversations early will be less time-consuming than attempting to start when the event is breathing down your neck. You already know the deadline for what’s going to be your biggest sales day of the year.

Why wouldn’t you take advantage of the extra lead time and dedicate as much brain power to the effort as possible? The real fact is, your agency doesn’t need as many details to get started as you may think.

Waiting for all the facts leads to last-minute work on critical campaigns

You may not know the offer your brand is planning for Black Friday. Or, perhaps the date is so far out you may not know any specifics of the brief. As you wait for all the pieces to fall into place, the deadline pressure only mounts.

Evergreen deadlines like Black Friday aren’t just challenging because of the stakes involved. They’re difficult because of the impact they have on your teams. As the holidays approach, everyone starts making holiday plans. When you wait until the last minute, your team that’s already stretched too thin needs to burn through long hours to beat the clock.

Will all that stress and chaos deliver results? Frankly, it’s not the best way for the creative process to progress organically. Plus, no one can guess how the campaign will perform because there was no time to test the messaging or its rollout before launch.

Well, there’s always next year. But when you’re working with the right agency partner, you don’t have to repeat this cycle.

Talking to your agency early reduces deadline fears

Sales events like Black Friday come with a lot of pressure, which is why brands are reluctant to start without all the facts. But fear of the unknown is no reason to ignore a big deadline.

The surest way to alleviate your fears about an important upcoming event is to start talking about it. What scares you most about planning this campaign? What went wrong in the past? When a deadline like Black Friday is hanging over your head, think of your agency as a therapist.

Talking about your fears and worries is the best way to start working to allay them. Then, you and your creative partner can work together to mitigate them as ideas take shape. But addressing what makes you nervous about a project gets harder when you leave the work until the last moment.

Fundamentally, facing anxieties about your brand’s high-profile events comes down to picking your battles. Would you prefer to be anxious and in a rush because you and your agency need to create a campaign on short notice? Or do you want to feel nervous because you began without a perfectly laid out roadmap?

In one of these scenarios, your nerves are easier to manage. After all, when you start thinking about a project early, you and your agency still have time to make improvements.

Information gaps drive better creative for your biggest campaigns

High-pressure deadlines fuel a tendency to err on the side of information overload with your outside agency. The thinking goes: the more you communicate every detail in advance, the less your agency will have to do on their own.

However, spending time ensuring all the pieces are in place before working with your creative partner does more harm than good. In addition to narrowing the window for your project to be delivered, you’re also constraining your agency partner’s creative process. As far as we’re concerned, the right agency will be ready to go with at most 75% of your story.

You’re facing enormous pressure to ship the perfect campaign on a crucial day for your brand. The right agency won’t require all the pieces in place to start thinking about what you need. Even if Black Friday was last week, you should spend time digging into what worked and what didn’t. That way, ideas for next year have started and have time to cycle through multiple iterations.

The more time you and your agency take to work on your brand’s problem, the more strategic thinking can be applied to the solution.

How planning ahead helps your brand for its next big sales event

You and your agency understand that some deadline pressure is baked into all creative work. But you can’t allow every campaign to feel like a frantic race to the finish. Then, once complete, it’s shoved aside to make room for the next imminent deadline.

Under tight time constraints, iteration cycles become crunched and campaigns launch without the right research or testing. And your brand’s sales needlessly suffer.

Sometimes circumstances dictate a tight turnaround. But the recurring events on your brand’s calendar don’t need to work that way. Iterative testing and consistent improvement are crucial to the success of any marketing project. Starting early allows your project the greatest chance at success

The sooner you and your agency start, the faster your brand can dispel old assumptions and find the right solution. Better still, you open up possibilities for your agency to find the unexpected ideas your brand needs.

The noise of Black Friday may be behind us, but the next one is coming. If you start working toward it now, you and your agency partner won’t just avoid toxic stress. You’ll be more likely to ensure your brand makes the most of a day that represents a huge chunk of your yearly sales.