Marketing to Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Though most people in the U.S. celebrate Thursday’s day of thanks with family and friends, come Friday through the following Monday, thankfulness transitions from what they have to what they can purchase.  Thanks (no pun intended) to ever growing technology, the tradition of Black Friday shopping in person at brick-and-mortar stores has extended to include online shopping with a day of its own: Cyber Monday.

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Last year Adobe – which collected data on the 2015 Cyber Monday – discovered that $3.07 billion was spent on online purchases alone, breaking the all-too-recent new record set by the 2015 Black Friday amount of $2.74 billion.  Having just “celebrated” Black Friday and having yet to “celebrate” Cyber Monday tomorrow, we shall see what is to come of this years’ totals.

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But regardless of the amount spent, this is clearly “the most wonderful time of the year” for companies to shine through marketing.  So how should marketing go about to be able to “dance like sugar plums all in [people’s] heads”?  Well, there a few things a company, wanting to do so, should consider.

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In the United States, Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving that marks the beginning of Christmas shopping.  Cyber Monday, is the Monday immediately following that Black Friday that promotes similar shopping via online stores.  When it comes to marketing, a company needs to know their target audience well enough to consider whether there should be a focus on marketing for only Black Friday, only for Cyber Monday, or both.  A company should also consider its resources. For a large company tackling the whole weekend from Black Friday to Cyber Monday may not be as challenging as compared to a small business.  It is critical to know the target audience and understand that though marketing efforts may reach new people, the focus should be much more on retaining the current audience.

Image result for green iphoneAdditionally, a company needs to consider the variety of technical devices – especially mobile, hand-held devices.  Because of such gadgets, people shopping in person on Black Friday may very well be researching and comparing simultaneously to online deals.  A company would need to consider whether they want in-store deals to be different or the same as online deals and whether those deals will be different or the same on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or both days.

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Lastly, a company needs to consider social media – especially when it comes to Cyber Monday.  With so much engagement taking place via social media, this needs to seriously be considered within the marketing strategy as it ties in to these large kick-off holiday shopping days.  The engagement must be consistent and be of the proper “language” according to the social media platform being used.

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These considerations are nothing outside of what many would consider to be in likeness to common sense.  However, though they appear to be minor, they can be significant in the success or failure of a company’s marketing for the start of the Christmas shopping season.






Wattles, J. (2015). Cyber Monday hits $3 billion sales record. CNN Money. Retrieved from:


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7 Responses to Marketing to Black Friday and Cyber Monday

  1. Dawn says:

    Hi Kristina,

    Certainly a timely post! Black Friday through Cyber Monday certainly puts a lot of pressure on companies, and yes, they have a lot to think about when it comes to managing media and engaging consumers. In all of the flurry, I wonder how many of them are thinking about the consumer and they are experiencing. Personally, I find Holiday deals exacerbating. If I buy something online on Black Friday, will it be less expensive on Cyber Monday? Will Black Friday and Cyber Monday be the best prices of the season, or should I wait it out? Are the door buster prices really only going to be during the door buster time? Will the in-store prices be the same as the online prices? As complicated as it is for companies, it can be equally frustrating for consumers. I’m feeling like everyone could benefit from a little simplicity.

  2. Lilia says:

    Hi Kristin,

    Every year I tell myself that I am going to take advantage of the weekend deals, but as Thanksgiving approaches my inbox becomes bombarded with emails on Thursday night sales, Friday sales, and so on. I become overwhelmed that I figure I’ll just wait till Cyber Monday to makes my purchases. Yet, most of the time that doesn’t happen either. I understand companies are doing what they can to capture consumer dollars as this is a huge weekend for retailers, but where do we draw the line in the amount of advertising or least email is sent to consumers? I don’t mind the emails throughout the year, but during this time, I almost want to unsubscribe! Okay, sorry for my rant, but I did notice a huge presence through social media this weekend, especially through a company called They help fashion bloggers communicate the exact or almost exact brands of their outfits to their Instagram followers. Each time a follower likes their photo, an email is sent with the post and a link for each specific item. Click on the link and bam you are ready to add to your and purchase! Very dangerous! This weekend fashion bloggers were going crazy with the advertising! I had to force myself to ignore the posts so I wouldn’t go broke! Great use of social media from retailers!

  3. Joseph Patrick says:

    Hi Kristina,

    I used to be such a victim to Black Friday and I always feel so bad thinking of all the money I could have saved in my undergraduate years. Thanks to technology and online shopping, I have stayed away from brick and mortar stores on Black Friday. I am not an online shopper during Black Friday or Cyber Monday either, and most of that is because I don’t see enough ads and promotions on social media. I receive a lot of emails that I don’t want to look at, but I don’t see much ads on Twitter or on YouTube. I agree that more focus needs to be placed on technological devices and social media. Like most people, I spend hours on my phone and if more ads were strategically promoted on hand held devices I would still be looking for deals tonight. Great topic and great post!

  4. Kiley says:

    Great post, Kristina. I am a huge Black Friday shopper! My husband and I drop off the kids with grandparents after our Thanksgiving meal and we hit the stores all night. It’s really more for the people watching fun, but we’ve come across a lot of really great deals too. Sometimes we plan out our trip if we’re going to get something very specific…other times we just drive here and there checking out all the big places.

    This year, however, we ran in to a bit of a snag. We went to Pottery Barn Kids to get our children a few items from their wish lists. Everything in the store was 20% off so we thought we were getting a nice discount. Then Cyber Monday hit and man were we wrong. Pottery Barn ended up offering a 40% off discount on one of the items we had already bought and 60% off another item. These discounts would have saved us $300 on our purchases. I was not a happy camper. I ended up calling the store and after a long conversation, they sent to me corporate and credited me the savings…but how many other people were in the same boat? I love that stores offer Black Friday deals and really love Cyber Monday…but they should be competing with each other. They really should make them different deals on different items.

  5. Sandra says:


    What a timely post, I have friends and family members that are very ritualistic about their day after Thanksgiving shopping. They have certain family members that get into lines the night before and then they have mapped out all the places they will be going, with coupons ready to go. While I saw some pretty considerable savings, I am not one to get up at the crack of dawn to push and fight my way through thousands of folks for a $50.00 savings on a big screen. I have been known to give them the money to pick it up for me. I am like Joseph, I will do the Cyber Monday thing. One piece of advice for those that do online shopping, make sure you are at home or someone is home for the delivery of your package, there have been a lot of thefts and getting it re-sent is a headache!

  6. Barbie says:

    Thanks for sharing this! Early reports of 2016 Black Friday spending showed that online sales grew 21.6% over 2015 (Carson, 2016). Much of this was attributed to mobile, which saw a 33% increase over last year according to Adobe Digital Insights.

    Carson, E. (2016). Black Friday online sales hit $3.3 billion, mobile up 33%. Investor’s Business Daily News. Retrieved from

  7. Thea says:

    Kristina, through no fault of your own, you made me recall THE MOST ANNOYING Black Friday/Cyber Monday email marketing campaign, executed by LolaShoetique. They are a very popular online shoe retailer in Los Angeles, that before now, has been very effective in sending promotional emails to their subscribers. Within 36 hours, I received 7 emails from them! I honestly felt harassed at one point. While their target market isn’t necessarily sensitive to email blasts, these efforts were out of line, even for a younger demographic. It bothered me so much, that I have chosen to unfollow the brand on all platforms (Instagram, Snap, etc.) and unsubscribe from all email communications. Not that I consider myself to be a V.I.C. (very important customer, lol), but I can only imagine how many subscribers had the same negative experience and also chose to disassociate with the brand. I took this as a learning experience and the major takeaway is-don’t annoy your customer! Know what they want, tell them a few times and leave the ball in their court. In other words, jab, jab, jab, RIGHT HOOK! So sad, I really wanted those pumps.

    Thanks for a fun read!



    (2015, August 27). Top 10 marketing offer campaigns for retail. Retrieved from

    Vaynerchuk, G. (2013). Jab, jab, jab, right hook: How to tell your story in a noisy, social world. New York, NY: Harper Business.