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Let me tell you…

by Ellen Fruchtman, President

Lately, I have seen a rash of advertising advice from other marketing professionals in our industry. Some are providing me a significant amount of angst. Because after reading those recommendations and not-so-solid ideas, I’m quite certain the advice is actually bad. Not just bad because they are from some competitors, because I have deep respect and admiration for many competitors. I will certainly give credit where credit is due. When it’s not due, and it literally makes my hair stand on end, is when I start going off the deep end and can’t keep quiet any longer. It is rookie advice from people who should know better. It’s like taking advertising advice from Matthew McConaughey. Although, he had a great quote about giving advice:

“The best advice comes from people who don’t give advice.” You’ve got to admit that’s not bad advice.

So here it goes, Matthew be damned.

Should you put your dollars into one or two main media channels? That was a question, one of my competitors answered. And the answer (according to him) was this:

“I suggest you pick one medium, dedicate your dollars to it and stick to it for an entire year. Frequency over time changes minds.”

Here’s where this is right and wrong. To be fair, it was mentioned prior that every market is different, and therefore your marketing dollars, and how you spend them, will be different. I agree wholeheartedly. And “frequency over time changes minds” is a great quote which was part of this marketer’s article. Here is the caveat: The number of times you hear a message equates to recall. In a time where our brains are infected with anywhere from 6,000 – 10,000 advertising messages in one day, frequency is not the definitive answer. To understand the complexity and differences is to understand in the 1970s, that number was somewhere in the range of 500 – 1,600 messages a day. Once upon a time, Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan coined a phrase that became the media bible, “The Medium is the Message”.  This was taught in my advertising classes at Boston University back in the 70s. However, at the time, there was no proliferation of media channels and ads fighting for our attention. People sat down to really watch TV and really listen to the radio. People spent quality time reading a newspaper. People were not on a multitude of devices at one time. And in the jewelry world, we have many different audiences. Surely you understand the bridal customer is not consuming the same type of media as your affluent boomer customer. And so, selecting one or two platforms was great advice over forty years ago. But it is not great advice for you now. I prefer to espouse to an old philosophy that was an important advertising message then from one of the greats – David Ogilvy. Because of the abundance of media, nothing could be more important in the world of advertising now. Here’s what he said: “What really decides consumers to buy or not buy is the content of your advertising.” In other words (with great reverence to Marshall McLuhan, it is the message and not the medium. Sorry, Marshall. It is about great advertising.

So, I call on you to take a look at what you are saying in your advertising. Is it ordinary or great? It doesn’t need to be wildly creative to make it great. It needs to be succinct (because our attention span is nil) and tell a unique story about you. Don’t believe me or David Ogilvy? Well another advertising great, Bill Bernbach, said, “Nobody counts the number of ads you run; they remember the impression you make.” And let’s remember another thing the great David Ogilvy said, “If it doesn’t sell, it’s isn’t creative.” Isn’t that the truth?

Adding insult to injury, I had to endure another industry marketing person respond to the article with great advice on direct mail – as if it was the savior for your business. Can it be effective? Yes, when used properly. Can it also be some of the worst returns on investment if used to prospect? Most definitely yes.

A few days later, I receive an email from yet another competitor. This email surrounds a social promotion the likes of which flies against all (not just mine) best practices we know today for social media. There is nothing remotely redeeming in doing a social gaming promotion. Nothing. This one provided ridiculous stats like Customer Reach: 1.8 million; Clicks: Over 170,000; Entries: Over 63,000! A social contest or game is for people who solely want to win something. They are prize pigs. It will not increase sales; it will not build brand enthusiasts. This company clearly doesn’t understand that it’s 2020 and the rules have changed. They clearly have no social strategy other than to sell you one of the worst things you can do for your business. And that makes me frustrated and sad, to be honest. If this is the best these so-called “industry experts” have to offer, then we are in a big heap of trouble.

Marketing Guru Seth Godin said it best: “Everyone is not your customer.”

What do you need to do to be successful this holiday season and beyond? Well, David Ogilvy, once again, said it far better than I ever could: “Great marketing only makes a bad product fail faster.”  It doesn’t matter if you spend all the money in the world if you don’t deliver great products and services. You have to make your store and brand the best it can be. You must target those people who are most likely to be attracted to your brand. Do an exceptional job and you will create exceptional word-of-mouth, which quite frankly, is the best marketing of all. And it’s free.

So be wary about taking advice from companies and individuals who clearly don’t understand your business and the marketing world today. In thinking about it, maybe, just maybe, Matthew McConaughey had it right after all.

Interested? We’d love to talk. Contact suits@fruchtman.com and see how we can take your business to the next level. With solid advice.

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