Black Friday marketing strategy: Dos and don’ts for 2020

So, you’ve taken our Cyber Week quiz to find out what you know about the world’s biggest shopping event. You’ve familiarized yourself with how students browse deals. But just how ready are you to smash Black Friday sales in 2020? Follow our dos and don’ts to learn how to reach Gen Z this November.

Do stick to the point

As Thanksgiving approaches, a slew of funny, creative, witty marketing campaigns will find their way into the inboxes and social feeds of students everywhere. Shopping has become more experiential, and while the focus on shoppertainment is not completely lost on Gen Z, they’re really only focused on one thing in your ad: the discount. 84% of UK students and 86% of US students would click on an ad showing a high discount and 77% (UK) and 79% (US) would be drawn in by a stackable discount – one that gives them a student discount on top of the standard Black Friday offer. By comparison, the numbers of students clicking on ads simply because they are funny, cool-looking or featuring a Gen Z influencer are minuscule. Creative black Friday campaigns aren’t completely lost on Gen Z – they’re certainly a factor in catching their attention – but the real deciding factor is the discount itself.

Eye on the prize: keep your Black Friday marketing strategy focused.

Don’t neglect the in-store experience

While we’ve seen huge surges in the number of young people shopping online during lockdown, tradition suggests that they’ll still be checking out in-store deals and discounts this Cyber Week – where safety permits, of course. The most common shopping tactic for Gen Z during Cyber Week is a mixture of online and in-store shopping. They like to get a feel for bigger purchases before buying them, and for this new, more sensible generation, shopping is a social event that they prefer over alcohol-focused activities. US students, in particular, enjoy this hybrid shopping experience, with 51% shopping both online and in-store last Cyber Week. Make sure your promotions are running across physical and digital platforms – and ensure that your in-store experience is primed to welcome Gen Z safely.

Are you ready to go this Cyber Week? Double check that your strategy is ready with our Marketing Checklist.

Do be aware of COVID-19’s impact 

Previously, we’ve seen clear peaks in student spending in August and September at the start of the academic year, then once more around Cyber Week as students start picking up gifts and treats for them. Disruption to the start of the academic year means that students will be shopping for Back to School purchases up until Black Friday and beyond, while festive shopping has started earlier than ever before. The boundaries between traditional shopping periods will be blurred this Cyber Week – students will be piling their baskets high with festive gifts for friends at the same time that they’re picking up key tech purchases needed for their academic studies. Your Black Friday marketing strategy should be broad enough to account for all of these purchases – make sure you’re making it as easy as possible for young people to navigate the disruption caused by COVID-19.

Gendered marketing is out for Black Friday.

Don’t make gender your focus

There are a few reasons to take gendered marketing out of your Cyber Week strategy. The most important is that Gen Z have shaped a much more fluid attitude to gender in general; many students consider gender binaries outdated, and they don’t want marketers to define them in this way either. Black Friday is also a time when most people buy outside of their usual spending categories – 71% of US students and over half of UK students use Cyber Week to buy for friends and family. This Cyber Week, marketing to all genders equally – and being sensitive to Gen Z’s reactions to gendered marketing – could help to make the experience more positive for the entire demographic.

Do listen to students themselves 

At Student Beans, we’ve done extensive research into the student demographic to give you the strongest understanding of how they shop. As well as quantitative data, we find that a great way to get to grips with what students are after is to speak to them directly. Ahead of Cyber Week 2020, we’ve done just that. Hear from Ellie and Will in the UK, or Julz and Demi in the US, as they walk you through the student Cyber Week journey from start to finish.

Our comprehensive guide to Cyber Week 2020 is now live. Put those finishing touches to your Black Friday marketing strategy with our exclusive insights into the student demographic. US version | UK version