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Fearful or Foolish?

By Ellen Fruchtman, President

I just completed a 3-day stint at the Centurion Jewelry Show. One of the first speakers was Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute who proceeded to talk about too many items to mention, but one brief subject matter became the impetus for this article: Fear. The fear of doing something different. The fear of doing something that hasn’t been done before.

The fear I want to focus on is the fear in marketing, obviously. The fear in trying something innovative and new. Most of all, what continues to baffle me are sophisticated brands and retailers who fearfully live with what has always been done. Why? The two answers most prevalent when asked are, “it has always been done that way” or “if it’s not broke don’t fix it”. When business is good (and it is), being complacent with your marketing, not looking at new avenues to try, or merely accepting the status quo can be detrimental to the continued growth of your business. We all know what goes up will typically level (or go down). So this is the time to question. This is the time to look at every line item.

Some of the biggest brands are the most reluctant to change. Some supply you with co-op dollars, which in theory should be instrumental in driving traffic to your store to sell their brand. But, these sophisticated brands seem fearful. Co-op guidelines remain the same as they have been for umpteen years. Traditional print and billboards continue to be the mainstay of their offerings. And, perhaps in certain markets that’s the right approach. But you should always be prompted to question why. Yes, in this day and age, kudos to brands who are supporting their retail partners with co-op. Many have ended those initiatives. And, of course, with margins tightening, and business getting overall more difficult, you can certainly understand why. But, when it comes to big brands continuing to offer support, you should question why have they limited themselves to the same co-op offerings. The creative is typically not in your favor. Your logo usually represents 10-20% of the space, and you pay 50% of the price. But, it’s not just that reality. It’s the reality that there are much better measurable and targeted marketing initiatives today that simply make sense. Mediums that receive far more attention than a might-be person of interest who is flying down the highway at 70 MPH who can barely read your name. No? I propose you ask what’s their fear of changing up marketing guidelines? What if something is “not” in the guidelines but might actually be better in your market?

Is it fear? Foolishness? Or the perfect combination of both?

As you are finalizing strategies and budgets for 2022, and you are a store working with co-op dollars, have a serious talk with your brands. You are a partnership. Ultimately the goal is to sell more of their product. Ultimately it will make you both more profitable. So approach co-op with your eyes wide open.

Approach your entire strategy and marketing with your eyes wide open. Change can be good. In a marketing world that is changing so quickly, don’t you owe it to yourself and your business to try some initiatives you haven’t tried before? The monsters are not in the closet..

There’s nothing to be fearful about.

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