Eisenhower forgot to warn us about the Christmas Industrial Complex
By Chris Orzechowski
On January 17th, 1961 outgoing President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave an epic speech, warning the nation about the rise of the Military Industrial Complex. He viewed it as one of the greatest threats to democracy.
But what he didn’t warn us about was the ever-more sinister rise of the Christmas Industrial Complex. A movement – in the author’s opinion – that is potentially far more destructive to culture, democracy, business and freedom.
What Happens When Black Friday Sales Start On Labor Day?
Laugh it up.
But don’t you dare fucking say I didn’t warn you.
Because this is exactly where we are headed.
The Christmas Industrial Complex – according to the author’s definition – is the slow and steady spread of Christmas sales that seem to start earlier and earlier every year.
Today is November 20th.
Black Friday this year is on November 23rd.
One of my clients emailed me last week saying he started seeing Black Friday specials on November 15th.
This is fucking madness. But when will it stop?
The Christma-nuclear Arms Race and The New American Cold War
There is a great battle raging. And while everyone thinks they can start their Black Friday sales just a little bit earlier than the next guy… what they don’t realize is that they are going to destroy our little world of online marketing.
Here’s how it starts…
Everyone starts selling on BF.
Then, one jabroni shifts his sale to Thanksgiving night.
Then the sales happen Thanksgiving morning.
Then, you gotta start on Wednesday just to keep up.
But by then, everyone’s already started on Monday.
And to be fair… I am OK with that.
You wanna have 5 days of sales, have at it. I think that’s reasonable.
But pretty soon, if we continue this trend… we’re going to start sliding down a very slippery slope.
A “Sale” Is Essentially A Launch With A Discount
I have helped a lot of my clients with their launches. I’ve helped a few of them with holiday sales and promotions.
And they are kind of similar.
They work for a few reasons.
But one of the most important reasons WHY they work is because they have a set time limit.
A launch for a coaching program works because class is starting on Monday… and if you don’t get in now, you’ll have to wait until next year.
The urgency ratchets up the responsiveness of the offer.
Some Marketers Have A Big Dump In Their Pants
Should every product you offer be “habitually closed” all year until your big launch?
I don’t necessarily think so. But there is some merit in that.
For one thing… it gets people to COMMITT.
Some marketers have a big poopy diaper over the whole using “urgency” and “scarcity” psychological triggers of persuasion.
And yeah… when you say you only have 5 copies of your ebook left so you can try to trick people into buying more, then yes. You are a dickhead.
But if you have genuine urgency and genuine scarcity… then why not use every weapon of persuasion in your arsenal?
I know as a writer, if I don’t have a deadline, my shit will NOT get done.
I literally seek out people to hold me accountable.
Copy Chiefs. Coaches. Other writers. My accountability group (HOLLA!) My VA and her team.
I tell them to shame me until I do stuff. To be a thorn in my side and tell me when shit needs to get done… otherwise… it don’t get done.
And sales and launches are no different.
Every buying decision is made because the seller presented a reason to act NOW.
With Black Friday sales, we all share a common cultural understanding.
Everyone knows that on Black Friday (and Cyber Monday) they are gonna save hella dolla bills.
And businesses are going to make bank.
It was a good thing we had going. It wasn’t a perfect system. But it WORKED.
(Ok yeah, you’re right. I know more people have been trampled to death during Black Friday sales than have ever been trampled to death during the running of the bulls even though people have been running with the bulls since 1922… and Black Friday started in 1952… but like I said, it’s not a perfect system.)
But now, this entire delicate system is hanging in the balance. And we are doing everything we can to destroy it.
When You Drag Out A Sale, It Loses It’s Luster
When I do launches and sales with clients, we have anywhere from a 3-7 day period when the cart is open and you can buy something. Any longer than that, and you don’t really see a spike in sales. In fact, you usually see the opposite… because the deadline no longer feels real.
When you start Black Friday on Labor Day (which is where we are headed in the next 10-15 years), people know they have months until the sale is over.
At which point they will put off their decision and wait.
Sure, some people will buy during this extended sales period.
But these businesses will now be acquiring new customers and sales at a huge profit loss.
There Will Only Be A Handful Of Winners
You can’t compete with Amazon and Walmart and all these other monopolies. Yes, monopolies.
They can outspend you. They can take bigger front end losses than you. They can weather the storm and go negative for years, because they know once they sink their hooks in, they got you for life… mofo.
So what’s the solution?
The answer to this problem is to keep your sale contained. Let Goliath stumble and fall. Let your bigger competitors who know better choke as they try to gorge themselves on excessive sales.
Because one thing’s for certain…
The expansion of Christmas sales into every other phase of American Holiday culture will have a day of reckoning.
But it won’t be for a while.
And it will be at everyone’s expense.
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