AGS Speaker: Companies Must Connect With Consumers

The way companies connect with customers has dramatically changed, trend hunter Jeremy Gutsche said at an April 27 breakfast presentation at the American Gem Society Conclave in Miami.

“People, as they market, are realizing it’s never the product, it’s the experience,” he said. “Especially in your industry—you are connecting people with their dreams, with important experiences in their life.”

“When you create something that connects a product, a service, your story will travel faster than ever before,” he continued.

For example, Gutsche noted, Harley-Davidson doesn’t just sell bikes, they sell what an executive once called “the ability for a 43-year-old accountant to dress in black leather, ride through small towns, and have people be afraid of him.”

Among his advice:

  • Businesses need to stop benchmarking themselves against their competitors.

“See what you can learn from adjacent markets—fashion, design, pop culture. Look outside your industry for creative ideas.”

  • He argued businesses need to develop a “methodical approach” to marketing, and should try to understand their consumers by spending time observing them.
  • He also said companies should set up what he called a “gambling fund,” which allots a certain amount of money to risk-taking ventures. He said that when the BBC did that, it ended up with the hit show, “The Office.”

“There is no point innovating if you think you already know the answer,” he said. “The idea of innovating is: Is there a way you could push yourself to do something better?”

  • Companies should ask themselves, “Specifically, what are you trying to do?” and be able to state it in seven words. The message should be simple and direct, and give consumers a reason why they should choose you.
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