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For many, Black Friday is as much a tradition as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, turkey and football. While I’ve never done it, some of my closest friends and family live for the experience every year.  One day, once dominated by discount, big box and electronic retailers is now a universal consumer state of mind. And, this consumer state of mind extends beyond just Black Friday, as brands can not discount the growing popularity of Thanksgiving sales, Small Business Saturday & Cyber Monday.

So, what does this week-long shopper marketing trend mean for brands? It’s not just about who has the lowest price. It’s who is providing the best overall savings experience.

1. Free Extra

The concept is simple, but people love “Free” especially when the “Free” is an extra — Free Shipping, Free Monogram, Free Gift Wrap. Most importantly is that the free extra provides a real value, consumers don’t just care about price anymore.

2. Exclusivity

Shoppers love exclusive deals and benefits available to loyal shoppers, card holders, the first 100 people, etc.  It stokes the ego of your most loyal customers, and makes them feel appreciated by the brand. Target will be offering exclusive deals, including early access to Black Friday daily deals online, for anyone who has a Target REDCard.

3. Personalization

It’s all about choice, and consumers are busy, so personalization is key, especially online. Personalize email communication, engage with consumers on social media, and overall, be sure to have an integrated approach through multiple mediums.

4. Create an Experience

It’s not all about Black Friday anymore. Small Businesses, once left out of the “Holiday” can now benefit from Small Business Saturday. Create an experience for shoppers, an atmosphere that no big box can compete with and ultimately win with customer service — and yes a deal…

5. Differentiate

You don’t have to be a retail brand to participate, services can benefit too. Offer a point of difference, donate to charity every time ships a package or uses the service. It’s the value that matters and if consumers recognize this value you’ll win. FedEx is doing just this with their #CountlessPossibilities campaign supporting Teach For America. For every shipment sent using the FedEx One Rate and every use of #CountlessPossibilities in social media before December 23rd, FedEx is donating $1 to Teach For America.

While I won’t be rising and shining with the diehards this Friday morning, I can’t ignore the overall value brands are offering the next few days. What drives you to purchase? Is the value enough for brands or is it still about the price tag? Let us know below.