Wake-Up Call

The JCK Show ~ Las Vegas will present a new face this June. Improvements—including grouping exhibitors according to product categories, color-coded sections, and more cafés and restaurants—will make the show easier for retail jewelers to work.

The changes, based on research within the retail community, have not been well received by many of the exhibitors who have been relocated to new positions. They fear that their “walk-by” traffic and opportunity to do business will be negatively affected.

Such a perspective is a testament to the lack of marketing acumen in this industry. It’s as though an exhibitor’s success at the show depends solely on location, and that retailers shop the show by randomly cruising each aisle, finding products by happenstance.

The Diamond Trading Company has a new initiative to focus the attention of the diamond community on the need for marketing. The lesson to be learned is that every manufacturer in the jewelry industry must do a better job of marketing its products and services to the target market—the retail jeweler. In the case of The JCK Show, booth location is largely irrelevant. If a retail jeweler doesn’t know what you bring to the party, he or she isn’t coming to see you no matter where you are!

Marketing is all about developing a product that meets the needs of your customers better than a competitor’s product, then communicating the differences to customers. Location at the show is secondary to marketing. For exhibitors, the target market is retail jewelers—22,000 of them from almost 9,000 retail locations.

The message to retailers is clear: Study the show materials before coming to Las Vegas. First, determine your goals. Review your sales by department and category. Compare your sales performance with your inventory levels. Determine what has done well and what has done poorly. This process will help you determine which vendors—current and potential—you need to see at the show.

Use The JCK Show Guide to plan your show itinerary. It lets you identify existing vendors and their locations as well as new vendors who have merchandise you’d like to check out. Many jewelers tear out ads showing “interesting merchandise” and sort them into two files—one for existing vendors, the other for new vendors.

The message to exhibitors: Prepare your communication plans—for existing clients and new ones—well in advance. Market your company and its products through advertising, direct mail, appointments, and entertainment opportunities offered at the show and around Las Vegas. Think about attracting new clients. In these days of increasing security problems, it’s important to do as much business as possible at the show with existing clients. But it’s equally important to attract new clients to offset sales lost when other clients close up shop.

The marketers at the DTC understand the importance of marketing to the ultimate consumer. Do you understand who your ultimate consumer is? If so, congratulations: You’ve taken the first step to a successful marketing campaign.

fdallahan@reedbusiness.com