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The most extreme shopping period of the year is upon us. Black Friday Weekend. Originally a day reserved for mildly aggressive consumers has now exploded into a four-day National sales event. If the record spend numbers from 2012 are any indication, there is little chance that brands won’t continue to open their doors earlier to consumers every year. Last year, spend levels reached a record $59.1 billion over the four-day weekend, a 13% increase from 2011. If the expectation was that this growth was only reserved for in-store sales, look again. Online sales grew more than 17% on Thanksgiving Day, followed by a 21% increase on Friday according to IBM Benchmark.
The question now becomes, how do brands separate themselves as the market becomes extremely oversaturated with messaging from retailers during the largest shopping period of the year? To be honest, the answer is now far more complicated as a result of the always evolving advertising landscape, which now puts more pressure on agencies to develop the perfect, holistic strategy for their clients. But what marketers need to understand is that the days of one channel being able to achieve the necessary reach and engagement to move the needle, are gone.
Fundamentally, but often overlooked, the key is messaging & objective alignment across all earned, social and paid channels, with each playing a contributing role in seeding content to the right audience. If you think this sounds ridiculously simple, you’re absolutely right but you would be shocked by how many brands don’t consider this during the planning stages. Often times there are multiple agencies managing one client, which makes it easy to overlook the obvious and the obvious is that disjointed messaging prevents brands from being strong marketers. One thing is for sure, the advertising space now more than ever is about the right content, at the right time, to the right audience. So without that level of consistency and exposure, brand messaging will fall short during a period where attention spans are extremely fragile. And for those that think certain media models can live on their own, you can expect those efforts to drown in a sea of Target and Wal-Mart messages.