Market Harder

All of us take things for granted—the accumulated wisdom of experience, what we learned in school, and what we have picked up from associates, friends, philosophers, and business writers. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves to pay attention to that wisdom. Well, listen up, because here’s another reminder:

We have to market harder.

Mark Straus, publisher of Interior Design magazine, a Reed Business Information publication that’s a leader in its field, recently addressed his sales staff on the topic of the uncertainty of the design marketplace. This is what Straus said:

“In a challenged market, it is simply a fact that everyone has to work harder. That goes for our customers, our readers, and ourselves. Those who retreat into their shells clearly end up making a difficult situation much worse. Now is the time for your advertisers to market harder to end up with a better result. [By] not taking this step, they can absolutely guarantee they’ll get the worst of a challenged market.”

In recent weeks I’ve spent time on the road talking with JCK clients and readers. It’s fair to say that the jewelry business at the manufacturing level is challenged: Everyone is waiting for something to happen in Iraq, London, or Washington. They wonder what it will be and what effect it will have on the jewelry business at retail. Since Sept. 11, 2001, retail jewelers have been cautious about buying. Will that change? Will the war in Iraq be short? Will there be terrorist consequences at home? These questions seem to paralyze many industry decision makers.

We have seen similar situations—World War II, Vietnam, Operation Desert Storm. The jewelry and timepiece businesses for the most part are not luxury businesses. They are grounded in emotion and in the significant moments in people’s lives. When the uncertainty is over, we will return to our workaday world of buying and selling, of meeting clients’ needs and expectations.

Whether you’re a manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer, remember that marketing harder in uncertain times is critical to your success when the uncertainty is over. Marketing harder means all the things you do to bring your product, store, or ideas from their source to the ultimate consumer. It doesn’t mean pulling your business into a shell and waiting for the war to be over. And if your competitors are withdrawing into their shells, now is the perfect time for your business to create a positive impression in the minds of your customers.

Financial advisors tell us that regular purchases of securities will, in the long run, provide the best return on investment. The same principle applies to marketing.

fdallahan@reedbusiness.com