At first glance, a jeweler and a pizzeria might not appear to have much in common. But when Jan Marten, owner of JEM Jewellers in Carmel, Ind., was approached by the owner of Tony Sacco’s Coal Oven Pizza to do a joint marketing event last year, she saw that the neighboring businesses had hundreds of potential commonalities: their clientele. “About half our clients are bridal couples in their mid-to-late 20s,” says Marten. “Tony Sacco’s has a family crowd but attracts many dating couples.” A joint campaign, she realized, could sweep some of those couples and families her way. A plan was quickly hatched: Upon purchase, Tony Sacco’s customers would be entitled to draw from a jar filled with 200 cubic zirconias and one 1 ct. diamond. After selecting a stone, pizza eaters would be sent to JEM Jewellers, a few doors away, for appraisal. CZ holders would receive 10 percent off in-store purchases. The diamond winner, naturally, would keep the $5,000 stone—ideally commissioning a JEM custom setting.
It worked like magic. “Some people wanted to win the diamond so much they’d go [to Tony Sacco’s] every night,” says Marten. “And lots of new faces came through our door.” The store scored four custom designs and a number of other sales, and the diamond winner became a faithful, friend-referring customer.
After drawing a 1 ct. diamond at Tony Sacco’s Coal Oven Pizza, the winner had this custom rose-gold setting (above) made at JEM Jewellers.
As Marten realized, partnering with another business for promotional purposes can be a shrewd move: It can slash PR costs and double your marketing impact; moreover, it can tap into an otherwise inaccessible pool of prospective clients. “You’re piggybacking off your partner’s reputation to get in front of a new audience,” says Ashley Schaffer, senior account executive at PR firm Cashman & Associates. “[It’s] like receiving a third-party endorsement for your brand.” Benjamin Stahl, manager of Schwarzschild Jewelers in Richmond, Va., agrees: “People will come in saying, ‘I never even thought about coming here, but I love [your cross-promotion partner].’?”
Stahl often hears such remarks due to his store’s partnership with McGeorge Mercedes-Benz of Richmond. Three years ago, they teamed to give away a $5,600 IWC AMG timepiece. McGeorge sent a direct mail package, each with a different serial number, to thousands of customers, inviting them in to see if that number matched the watch’s. Eighty people filled the showroom in one afternoon. The dealership was so pleased that it began a campaign offering a $500 Schwarzschild gift card with each Mercedes purchase, paying for half of every card redeemed.
Both promos sent numerous Mercedes clients to Schwarzschild. “I had one Mercedes customer who’d never shopped with us spend $20,000—all because of that $500 tickler,” Stahl says.
While having only one partner is most common, some retailers engage in promotions with multiple participants. “From our perspective, the more partners we can involve, the greater our reach,” says Rebecca Hasson, marketing director at Bernie Robbins Jewelers in New Jersey. More partners mean more Facebook likes, more tweets, and, of course, more potential customers.
|Museumgoers (right) enjoy Ansel Adams pics and Gunderson’s rocks; this 17.49 ct. yellow diamond (left) is worth $850,000.|
Earlier this year, Raymond Lee Jewelers of Boca Raton, Fla., joined three businesses for a Valentine’s Day package: The winner received a $3,000 diamond tennis bracelet, flowers, a limo ride, and dinner for two. Similarly, Schwarzschild has hosted three in-store wedding salons with high-end bridal vendors. And this summer, Bernie Robbins is hosting a happy hour at its flagship store, partnering each week with a different local charity.
While the ultimate goal of every cross-promotion is to boost sales, success shouldn’t be defined solely by an increase in the bottom line. “It’s important to look at the big picture,” says Susan Morgan of Susan W. Morgan Public Relations. “Consider the long-term impact the promotion might have on your business.”
Schwarzschild had the big picture in mind when, upon opening a new store, it designed an event to bring in buyers and build a relationship with a budding market: young professionals with children. In tandem with the Richmond Ballet, which was kicking off its annual run of The Nutcracker, the store staged an all-day, bring-your-kid affair where dancers in full costume talked to children, read stories, painted faces, and more. Some 600 people turned up. “Nobody sold that day—people couldn’t even reach the counters,” says Morgan. Yet the community now knew the store’s location and Schwarzschild caught the eye of a new demographic.
Breanne Wittrock, VP of sales and marketing at Gunderson’s Jewelers in Sioux City, Iowa, takes a similar long view. Gunderson’s teams exclusively with local nonprofits in its promotions. “We don’t always see an immediate benefit, but we get customers saying things like, ‘Thanks for all you do for the community.’ People are spending in return [for our efforts],” says Wittrock.
Cross-promotions can also be a great way to showcase your assets, notes Wittrock. One very successful campaign involved the local art pavilion’s Ansel Adams exhibit. To accentuate Adams’ black-and-white nature photographs, Gunderson’s displayed its colored diamond collection, grouped by color, between the prints.
Since the exhibit’s April opening, countless people have visited Gunderson’s wanting to view the colored diamonds. “I don’t think we’ll sell thousands of pink or red diamonds because of it,” Wittrock says, “but people know we have them now. It’s possible.”