Marketing Black Friday in the Cost-of-Living Crisis | 5 Ways To Make Your Brand Stand Out

Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days in the student calendar, but ahead of this year’s event, shoppers and brands across the world will be wondering how the rising cost of living will impact purchasing decisions. The good news? 77% of US and 73% of UK students are still planning on spending money during this year’s Black Friday period (Voxburner US survey 2022). However, of the 23% who said they won’t be participating, 63% cited their primary reason as the rising cost-of-living. Overall 80% of students will be cutting down on non-essential spending over the next six months, whilst 69% will be looking for cheaper versions of products (Voxburner’s Cost of Living infographic, UK 2022). 

On a scale of 1-10, students said that, on average, they’d give brand marketing a 7 for persuasiveness during Black Friday/Cyber Week. This suggests that young people are open to Black Friday marketing and will be spending money, but as the figures suggest, they’ll be more aware of how much money is leaving their wallets. So how can you make your brand’s campaigns stand out, engage young people and encourage (responsible) spending during this uncertain time?

5 ways to supercharge your Black Friday marketing during a cost of living crisis 

1. Student discounts

Research by the Student Beans insights agency, Voxburner, revealed that 99% of young people will be looking for student discounts during Black Friday/Cyber Week (US 2022), so make sure that these additional discounts have a prominent position on the brand’s homepage so that your target audience is immediately engaged upon visiting your site. This can be made even more impactful by promoting these student discounts on your socials and via email – this will undoubtedly help to increase the conversion rate. Unsure where to start? Get in touch with Student Beans to understand more about the student market and how we can help you turn browsers into repeat purchasers.

In terms of specific offers, popular searches include additional student discounts (90% of US students will be searching for this) and higher than usual student discounts (85%).

2. Extra incentives

Sometimes a student discount just isn’t enough – Black Friday is the time for freebies, interaction and surprises! 72% of US students would like free delivery, 72% free gifts, 40% extra fast delivery and 31% would like virtual wheel spins to determine discounts/prizes. Black Friday is an exciting time in the Gen Z calendar, and boosting that engagement through interactive offers will keep them hooked and encourage them to share with their friends. 

3. Consider what you’re discounting

The easiest approach for you might be to offer a broad discount across your entire site, but this isn’t as enticing as you may think. Young people are cutting down on essential spending, meaning they’ve limited the sectors that they’re willing to spend money on. Of those who are cutting down, Voxburner’s Cost of Living infographic revealed that they’ll be holding back on: eating out (80%), everyday clothes (52%), holidays/travel (49%), alcohol (48%), home decor (44%), makeup (41%), tech (37%), TV subscriptions (37%), and video games (29%). 

This suggests that gaming, entertainment, tech and makeup are the sectors that Gen Z not only find the most necessary, but are also the most willing to spend money on. Consider this when creating your marketing strategy – how can you push these products and their discounts? (Hint: Check out point 5 for more…)

4. Christmas gift giving

According to The Drum, 21% of consumers are looking to use Black Friday as an opportunity to shop for Christmas gifts – a jump from 2021 when it was just 4%. Now facing a cost-of-living crisis, spenders are more conscious of their disposable income and are savvy with their spending and bargains, using this period as an opportunity to think ahead and shop for gifts. Tapping into this and centralising your campaigns around Christmas and gift giving is a sure way to engage these keen shoppers.

5. Looking to the future

Black Friday isn’t just an opportunity to engage some one-time customers. It’s a time to begin or build on brand-consumer relationships and start the journey to earning loyal customers. An important part of this sits with the authenticity of offers – after all, with limited cash to spare, young people aren’t going to take any financial risks. Of those US and UK students who aren’t planning on spending any money this Black Friday, 23.5% said it was because offers and discounts are misleading/disingenuous. 

There are two ways you can overcome this issue: 

  • Partnering up with a publisher, like Student Beans, will not only instantly verify students and provide a secure and trusted platform for your discounts to be hosted on. But will also help you find, attract, engage and convert them. Publishers provide a friendly face for young shoppers, reassuring them that their money is safe. 

Be honest and transparent with customers from the beginning in your campaigns (and make it clear, don’t hide anything away in the T&Cs!) and ensure great customer service. Not only will this improve your relationship with existing loyal shoppers, but it will also pique the interest of prospective customers.

Any kind of spending is difficult for many right now, and this is only amplified by Black Friday. Overall, it’s up to your brand to strike the fine line between engaging and enticing Gen Z into spending whilst also not taking advantage of them. Having said that, young people need a bit of excitement right now, and saving money and treating themselves/others is the perfect excuse! 

Want to find out more about how you can connect with students, achieve your objectives and drive sales this Black Friday? Check out our Black Friday and Cyber Monday hub.

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