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BLOGBlack Friday

by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, Global Business, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Promotion, StrategyTagged as: ,

If you are an American, you know precisely all about Black Friday: it is when herds of people get up early, head to the stores (usually online these days).  It occurs the shopping day on the Friday following Thanksgiving.  If you live outside of the United States, you probably have noticed an interesting and recent local phenomenon: Black Friday sales in your city as well.

Black Friday is a great example of the leakage of culture (and marketing)  that moves from one jurisdiction to another.  It illustrates how an event, lubricated by social media discussions, advertising, and media has little respect for national borders.  Sometimes called globalization, this has had an interesting impact on much of the trading world:

  • The impossibility of fully containing a negative viral meme.  Brand damage in one market can now be lethal in another.
  • The ability to develop a critical mass of customer-based product support, with contributors located around the world – including in markets that couldn’t afford a support infrastructure of their own.
  • The almost impossible challenge posed by gray marketers, who arbitrage pricing differences from one market or another.  The internet helps them spot both purchase opportunities and markets for sale.

The question for many businesses is whether it makes sense to “import” some of the innovations from other markets into the local one, as non-American retailers often now do with Black Friday.  Here are four criteria to consider:

1) Does importing the practice provide either a competitive strategic advantage, or at least a short-term leap ahead of the competition?

2) Is importing the practice important defensively?  Another key reason for Black Friday in Canada is to reduce the number of Canadians taking the day to shop at American retailers.

3) Are the costs of implementing the practice in line with the expected return on investment?

4) Does importing the practice fundamentally change how the business operates?  (If it does change, is it for the better?)

THIS WEEK’S ACTION PLAN

Check out the competition in another country.  Are there any ideas – beyond Black Friday – that meet these criteria?  If so, jump on them.

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