Promo Pieces

As the critical fourth quarter approaches, an uncertain economy could lead retail jewelers to second-guess their holiday-season marketing tactics. To help, JCK queried promotions experts to find out what will work best now to attract shoppers.

Maintain the same level of media exposure. This assures your customers that even though Wall Street is facing tough times, your business is as strong as ever. “To do otherwise might suggest there are problems,” says Rick Arnemann, president, A.B. Studios, Nashville, Tenn., makers of the Harmon Catalog and a full-service advertising agency for the jewelry industry. “Right now is a bad time to show weakness.”

Promote your better-quality basics. In times of uncertainty, basics are always safe sellers. “We’ve seen a lot of our better-quality—and size—basics selling this year,” says Rick Romero, vice president and partner of Wilkerson & Associates, Kansas City, Mo., and head of the company’s wholesale division “They’re sticking to diamond studs and gold hoops, and they’re accessorizing with those purchases.”

Promote symbols of love, including items relevant to family, emotions, and spirituality. “These fundamental selling positions for jewelry remain constant,” says Arnemann. Pursuing this angle will inspire customers to buy.

Advertise your credibility, and stress the fact that shoppers can trust you. Most people won’t be affected by recent Wall Street woes, say experts.

Start your holiday advertising early—in October. Research shows that after Thanksgiving, shoppers are bombarded with ads. The most meaningful—and remembered—ads will be those that reach customers before family visits and meal preparations begin.

Maintain visibility and enthusiasm. Use signage, send direct-mail specials to your best customers, host an event or sale, and constantly remind people why they should shop at your store. “When consumers regain their confidence in the economy, they’ll want to reward themselves and loved ones,” says Amy Bauman, marketing specialist, Wilkerson & Associates, Stuttgart, Ark. Arnemann agrees, stressing to his clients the importance of maintaining visibility during the down market. “You could actually gain market share when things turn around,” he says.