Already more than two weeks ago now, on the 27th of November, the Black Friday bonanza warmed the hearts of many deal-seaking and shop-loving Americans. Not at any other time in the year can you find this many bargains at this many retailers.

So, what is Black Friday and where did it come from? It actually finds its origins in the holiday that is always on the fourth Thursday of November: Thanksgiving. This American tradition has been around since 1621, when the Native Indians and Pilgrims burried the hatchet and celebrated the first harvest in the New World. In 1924, the first Macy’s Day Parade  turned the holiday from a family gathering to a marketing movement. The parade created such positive associations and left the department store at the top of the minds (see how this works in ‘Happy Turkey Day‘) of everyone who watched or heard of it, that the store’s sales spiked after day after the parade. Every since, the day after Thanksgiving has symbolically marked the start of the Christmas season, and thereby holiday shopping season. Others started participating and the reached sales volumes were immense. In the 60’s the day received its catchy name, based on the fact that accounting records black (profits) from red (losses).

Nowadays, the hype is unbelievable. People camp in the cold outside of Old Navy, post up with coffee and snacks in line for the best deals at Best Buy, and nap in fold-up chairs by JCPenney’s, waiting to storm the store. You can get incredible value for your money, with the steep discounts and free goodies. But you have to work for it, and you may get slapped in the process. The really serious retailers open their doors at 12Am (0:00 for us Europeans), and stay open until 5 or 6 the next day: a true shopper’s marathon.

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Even though the price reductions on most of the items are not anywhere near the handful of doorbusters that attract the serious bargain hunters. The sheer gratification shoppers feel from getting that one amazing item, or getting the majority of their christmas shopping done in one night/day is monumental. The savings create a lot of customer satisfaction.

Now that e-commerce is a staple in our shopping culture, and incorporating the fact that some people are not up for the bustle of fighting for the last cashmere sweater at the Gap, a whopping 34% of Black Friday revenues came from mobile shopping. As such, Cyber Monday (the monday after Black Friday) is quickly becoming just as important as Black Friday. What would this online purchasing process do for the customer’s experience and resulting gratitude and satisfaction? Without having to brawl for your presents, can the consequent sense of happiness really be just as intense?

The funny things is, that the Christmas season starts on this particular day, because Thanksgiving is the last American holiday before Santa Claus comes to town. However, countries outside the States have jumped on the Black Friday bandwagon. In the past years, the concept has crossed the pond. It’s demand-creating, revenue-raising discounts attracted the attention of retailers here in Europe. Especially  in Great-Britain, the event has gained significant traction.

How long will it be until we can enjoy the wonders of free cameras with our €200 purchase, 50% off our new laptops and New Year’s Eve outfits for next-to-nothing, in the Netherlands, with the bruises to prove it?

Susanne ten Brink

Since this is my first blog for The Amsterdam Marketing Student, and since we are a (GREAT!) marketing blog, I thought of talking about the most interesting and fun part of the marketing concept: creating marketing ideas. Sometimes, I have the feeling that all people around me, come up with the greatest ideas every day, and that many of them are capable of brainstorming with just their selves, within their creative master minds. But why don’t I come up with such inspiring ideas every now and then? Do you recognize this and do you have the same feeling? Well, the next tips might help you disclosing your creative mind and uncover your personal marketing ideas. Especially for you, I have collected the most interesting tips and tricks! Try out every tip and discover which way fits you the best for creating creative marketing ideas. After every tip, think about how you can implement this manner within the marketing area. So, how can you tell your story in the best way to your (potential) customers? Or, in what ways can you make people enthusiastic for your brand or product?

Written by Susanne Deen

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1. Get yourself out of your comfort zone. By creating marketing ideas, it is very important that you are able to look into the world from thousand and one different perspectives. If you want to sell your product to the consumer, the most important thing is to feel a strong connection with the people you try to reach. You have to create a high level of empathy for your customers in order to understand them completely and get their needs, wants and wishes for 100%! The best way to get there is to, literally, take a step into their lives. So what should you do? Try out hobbies, habits, favourite coffee spots, restaurants, songs, clothes and bags, (sun)glasses, jewellery, the usage of words, movements, sports… all kind of things that, for you, are completely odd, but what’s for others their daily business! In this way, you can transform as fully as possible into your (potential) customers, and look into the world through their view. I can tell you, after fulfilling this experiment, the change is quite high that you’re mind will come up with some amazing new creative marketing ideas.

2. Get inspired by the little things around you. Try to focus on the little things within your daily life and don’t put too much attention to the ‘big world leading concepts’. For example, stand still for a moment in your own street and listen carefully to the sounds around you. What does your neighbourhood sound like? What kind of feeling does that give you? Maybe you can attract people to your brand or company by giving them the same feeling.

3. Close doors. As weird as this sounds, by discovering and highlighting what you do not like, you might get a step further in the process of what you do like. Make a list of things you don’t want to be connected with and set a clear statement of all the points you don’t stand for. This might help you ordering your brain and this might give your creative mind some space for new ideas.