Last Friday was Black Friday and I’d spent quite a lot of time in the run up to it joining the campaign to persuade people not to buy any more stuff. I am an advocate of minimalism and we don’t need any more clutter or expense and debt and anyway it’s a bandwagon and I avoid all of those like the plague, generally speaking.
Then I surprised myself. And did a volte face. Coincidentally I’d been on a website earlier in the day contemplating a purchase, discovering that it was a bit rich for my blood at £99. And then they sent me a BF offer, the same item I’d wanted and denied myself at £99 was offered to me at £60. So I bought two! The right offer at the right time, just what I wanted and just when I was looking for it and ready to buy.
This obliged me to re-think the whole BF thing.
I know that a goodly percentage of the world’s Black Friday spenders are not just hungry for more junk. They are canny shoppers. I am not one of those but I deeply respect those who are. If you can do all of your Christmas and birthday and other essential shopping in one bargain day online and save yourself a whole heap of money on stuff you were going to buy anyway, then why wouldn’t you? I’d be rude not to.
Yes, it’s a great day to make a protest about consumerism, especially if you have all you need, as generally I am lucky enough to be able to say I am. And I absolutely know I don’t want to queue online or off just for the sake of a bargain on something I don’t need or want.
But this lady was definitely for turning when the right offer came along at the right price on something I had already considered and rejected as too pricey to treat myself with. And it did have the added advantage of being consumable. It will be all gone by next Monday so there’ll be no clutter to be cleared at some future date and no stress to my tiny home by filling it up with unwanted and unloved, unused stuff.
I got what I wanted at the price I was willing to pay. And that’s all there is to marketing. Simple. You make your clients an offer and the right offer at the right time will result in more paying customers and clients for you. I tell my clients it’s like offering a guest in your home a plate of biscuits. You are happy when they take one. And happy when they don’t. It’s no skin off your nose if they decline your offer. But if they see one they fancy and they are delighted, they accept it with alacrity and there’s happiness all round. In a small way.
You are not being pushy in offering your stuff to potential purchasers, you are offering, no more, no less. You have the opportunity to surprise and delight them with the right offer (biscuit) at the right time. People love to buy stuff they want. I proved that last Friday. I took delivery of my parcel yesterday and I am consuming it today. I have something I wanted at a price I chose to pay and my supplier has made two additional sales. What’s not to love?
Do I feel that I have compromised my non-shopping principles? No. Was my supplier cutting their margins to an unsustainable profit margin which is why they can’t offer it at that price always? Yes. Did they get a great boost to their cashflow in one 24-hour period? Yes. What’s wrong with this entire story? I can’t find the flaw myself unless you consider the degree to which the planet was damaged in the packing and transportation of my purchase.
I had my eyes opened and my mind changed and although this hasn’t converted me to a being a fan of Black Friday, it has reminded me about the joys of buying something you want at a nifty little saving. That’s our job as business owners, to dangle some tempting little titbit into the right pond where the fish have been nibbling at our attractive bait for a while now and where they are just sitting and fishily waiting for the right offer at the right time.
What will you put on your plate of biscuits and how soon will you offer it? I hope your answer isn’t that you will wait until next Black Friday!