Letters

Marketing Mixer

Frank Dallahan’s Counterpoint (“The Marketing Mix,” JCK, May 2001, p. 34) hit on the very subject my marketing colleagues and I talk about every day. It’s true, many in the manufacturing community confuse “marketing” with “selling.” Marketing, for the most part, has to do with overall strategic planning and is critical for sustained short- and long-term business growth.

Having spent the last 25 years in marketing, I have worked with large and small companies in most manufacturing and service industries. Few understand the role of marketing as a part of managing and growing a successful business. Those who do are able to grow past the entrepreneurial stage of their business into stable, profitable national or global businesses.

Manufacturers should view marketing as related to sales, but as an “umbrella” under which sales strategy decisions are made. In other words, marketing directs sales. Additionally, marketing, or the marketing plan, is a component of the business plan.

Placing trade ads and exhibiting at trade shows is not marketing. Placing trade ads and exhibiting at trade shows as part of an overall marketing strategy based on a business plan is marketing.

I would recommend the Guerilla Marketing books series as a starting point to anyone who is a small manufacturer looking for free ideas and direction. Beyond that, it is usually helpful to hire a marketing professional.

Marketing is a religion, and for those who are true believers, the rewards are many.

David Schwartz

Corporate Director of Marketing

Aurafin OroAmerica Inc.

The Extra Mile

Last week, there was an error made in our shipping department. The labels for two packages were inadvertently switched. Well, one of them was an overnight package and the 30th wedding anniversary was that day!

Our client received the package on time, but with the wrong contents. When our supplier, Barry Kronen, found out that the client was about one-and-a-half hours away from them in Florida, his company created a new piece in five hours, gift-packaged the necklace, and had one of their employees drive to the client’s house to hand deliver the present.

Of course, we realize that this is not always possible. But the next time you are thinking about whom to do business with, ask yourself, “Will they go that extra mile to help us in a pinch? Do they just want to sell me, or are they my partners?”

Our client was appreciative of the efforts made after we made a mistake. Barry Kronen‘s people made us look like heroes. Vendors like that deserve our continued loyalty.

Jeffrey Badler, President

Maurice Badler Fine Jewelry

New York City

Is Branding the Best?

I have read with great interest over the past few years many items concerning branding of diamonds. It is sad to me that our industry has taken this route to increase margins and profits at the expense of the buying public. This is simply a smoke-and-mirrors scheme to convince the customer that a branded diamond is worth twice as much as a similar non-branded diamond.

A customer came to my store to sell a diamond he had purchased at a local store that sells Hearts and Arrows cut diamonds under a well-known brand name. The stone was a 1-ct., J color, internally flawless, 0 cut grade. He had the GIA certificate as well as an AGS certificate. He said he had paid “$9,000 or $10,000” for the stone. He asked if I was interested in buying it. I asked him why he had bought such a stone. “Well, they showed me a video and the stone through a scope and convinced me that it was dramatically more brilliant than a normally cut diamond.” I wonder if he ever got rid of that stone.

Are we really doing justice to the buying public with such slick marketing? Are we instilling confidence in the wisdom of their purchase? What ever happened to great service and customer appreciation to build a business? Has our business become so stale that we have resorted to gimmicks to overcharge our clients? I applaud the wizards of marketing for their preeminence in being able to increase profits at the expense of value.

Enough about the problem. Jewelers everywhere who aren’t into slick marketing can build their own name into the most singularly powerful brand imaginable, a brand no one can duplicate or steal from you. Our business is one that is dependent on relationships with our customers. Doing everything you can to strengthen that relationship creates a brand out of your own store name that has real value. You all know what I’m speaking about: special-ordering a $10 charm, resizing that ring for the third time for free, giving a refund after the normal period, delivering for free, etc.

What a sad commentary that we have come to this. Is diamond branding the best we can do?

David Kruger, Owner

Kruger’s Diamond Jewelers

Austin, Texas