Corporate Eye

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Brand Marketing Must Shift with Consumer Behaviors

holiday shopping saleFor consumer product brands that offer their products for sale in the United States, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are very important sales days. For years, brand marketers have reduced prices, opened retail locations early, and invested heavily in advertising to get a jump on holiday shopping sales. However, consumer behaviors are changing, and brand marketers have to shift their marketing strategies to meet changing consumer demands.

Whether consumer behaviors are changing by choice or they’re changing as a result of brand marketing is a debate I’ll save for another post. For now, let’s focus on how brand marketers can leverage changing consumer holiday shopping behaviors to improve their early sales volumes and return on marketing investments. Following are three consumer shopping behavioral shifts to consider as you develop your holiday marketing plans:

1. Black Friday is Already Too Late

When it comes to holiday shopping and getting the best deals, U.S. consumers are looking days (or weeks) before Black Friday. While many stores are opening earlier than ever for Black Friday, and some are even opening on Thanksgiving Day, many retail locations were already offering holiday shopping sales before Halloween arrived. In mid-October, it was not surprising to see Christmas decorations and hear Christmas songs in large retailer’s stores. By the time Black Friday gets here, many consumers will already have some of their holiday shopping done!

2. Cyber Monday is the Top Priority

Online sales are more important than ever with more consumers doing all or most of their holiday shopping online in 2014. Brand marketers who don’t prioritize Cyber Monday—and online advertising and promotions overall—will lose sales and revenue to competitors who understand how consumer holiday shopping behaviors have changed.

3. Price Wars Dominate

With holiday sales and promotions starting well before Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year, there is already a greater focus on price competition than ever. Brand marketers who can differentiate their holiday marketing to effectively bypass the price wars will reap the rewards. However, getting through those price wars to capture consumers’ attention won’t be easy. Brand marketers have to start their marketing efforts early and come out strong to break through the price messaging clutter that will dominate leading up to and continuing long after Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

How has your brand marketing changed to leverage the consumer behavior shifts of the holiday shopping season? Leave a comment and share your thoughts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday brand marketing in 2014.

Image: Jay Lopez

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.