While we haven’t even enjoyed our Thanksgiving turkey and dressing, we’re decorating our Christmas trees in anticipation of…even more turkey and dressing. That’s partly the fault of advertisers, for whom the two holidays have blended into one big marketing event. So as soon as the Halloween costume ads disappear, we’re bombarded with a smorgasbord of both Thanksgiving and Christmas sales. It can be quite confusing. I mean no one gives gifts until Christmas so why the early sales? Obviously, increased revenue. The fact is, Thanksgiving advertising can literally “make or break” an entire year for many retailers, and they fully intend to make the most it.
So on Thanksgiving Day, instead of spending the afternoon spent curled up in a turkey coma, many of us scramble to take advantage of the early “Black Friday” sales. While it’s tempting for retailers to jump on this bandwagon, it’s not always good for business. Research shows that many people are becoming increasingly offended by the “Today Only” offers on Thanksgiving Day. Their argument makes sense. Not only are retailers capitalizing on their consumers’ coveted family time, they’re making disgruntled employees work on a holiday.
That’s why as an advertiser, you really need to know your demographic. If you’re marketing to baby boomers who are tired of shopping in a frenzied environment and would prefer spending time with their families, it might behoove you to have a literal “Black Friday” sale, not an early one. Conversely, if you’re marketing to millennials, it’s possible you can’t afford not to advertise on Thanksgiving Day. Why? Because millennials love to shop.
According to Kathy Grannis Allen, Senior Director of Millenial Relations at the NRF, “Millennials love buying for themselves in large quantities and not thinking about people on their lists that weekend.” That may not sound flattering, but what it really means is that many millennials have discretionary income. So they’re not too worried about Christmas presents quite yet. If there are items they’ve been wanting to buy for themselves, they’ll devote the entire holiday weekend to taking advantage of great deals.
As a retail advertiser, you need to approach the holiday season with a plan. Don’t get so caught up in the holiday marketing clutter that you lose sight of who you are targeting. Research your consumers’ lifestyles and buying patterns before jumping into the Thanksgiving feeding frenzy.