Breaking through the clutter of promo season is always a challenge, but strong planning can set you up for success.
When considering promotions in general, there's always a seasonal aspect to take into account. Q4 typically emerges as the dominant period for promotions. Traditionally, Black Friday and Cyber Monday stand out as significant events in this space. More recently, October has been recognized as a gifting month, while December serves as a time for daily deals or additional opportunities to close out the year. These periods primarily serve as methods for companies to accomplish two objectives: they allow companies to check their inventory availability and also align with consumer habits. Many consumers are conditioned to anticipate saving up for these year-end deals. Consequently, Q4 tends to emerge as the hero season. However, depending on the industry or category, there are instances where Q1 can also take on this role.
For example, in the wellness sector, the “New Year, New You” vertical often brings about a surge in interest, creating opportunities for bundling or promotional activities to capture initial attention. Moreover, brands and retailers have begun exploring promotions throughout the year, not just confined to Q4, as a means to achieve revenue targets, clear inventory, and cater to various consumer mindsets during Q2 and Q3.
If someone is considering planning a Black Friday promotion, I would suggest having a detailed plan in place about a quarter in advance. This means starting to think about planning around September or October to ensure everything is thoroughly organized.But to work backward effectively, it's crucial to have a sense of inventory and marketing messages as early as June or July. This early preparation ensures that you have the necessary inventory, creative assets, and operational capacity to meet the demands of the promotion. Additionally, at the beginning of the year, it's beneficial to establish a blueprint outlining the number of promotions intended for the entire year. As the quarter progresses, particularly in the case of Q4, focus should intensify on the nuances and specifics of Black Friday and Cyber Monday as their dates draw nearer.
When comparing promotional activity between a service model and one involving physical goods and inventory, there are a few distinct nuances to consider.Arguably, the most significant difference lies in the physical aspect of planning—the selection of products to highlight and understanding the discounting strategy. While discounting strategies can apply to a SaaS model, the tangible nature of physical goods necessitates meticulous inventory management and consideration of the end-to-end supply chain process, including shipping and delivery. This aspect constitutes an additional workstream.Furthermore, managing returns for physical products differs substantially from handling subscription cancellations. Contingency planning becomes essential to address potential challenges such as high return rates and their impact on margins. Thus, there are more extensive considerations associated with the physical component alongside the digital experience inherent in promotions for digital goods or subscriptions.