By Jim Ackerman, The Marketing Coach to the jewelry industry
By the time you read this, I hope the Corona Crisis has passed. I hope. I’m not optimistic. But there are some business lessons you can learn from what we’ve been through with all of this.
I try not to wax political in my columns, but this time the implications are so profound, I’m afraid I must.
Let’s begin with “herd mentality.”
It is almost axiomatic that when a crisis strikes most people tend to overreact. It’s virtually guaranteed that politicians will.
It’s also near axiomatic that if one politician overreacts, the rest will fall in line. This is true regardless of party. Executives – presidents, governors, mayors, etc. – instantly feel they need to fix the problem and they enact measures to do so.
Lawmakers – congress, legislators, county commissions and city counsels – well, they’re called “lawmakers”, so what do you expect them to do?
And when one jumps, the rest feel like they have to jump that much higher. For example, if one “recommends” everybody in town wears a mask, the next will insist upon it.
There’s always a lot of talk about justification and science and the public welfare and whatnot, but more often than not, things aren’t thought through very thoroughly and the unintended consequences of these mass, kneejerk reactions can be devastating.
In this case, we all lost income; many have lost their entire businesses and life’s work.
But such is the case with herd mentality… the tendency to follow like sheep, even among so-called leaders.
But herd mentality can be used to your benefit as a jeweler as well. It is the very powerful principle of influence called “social proof.”
Why do you think reviews are so important to your business? Same with testimonials. You get enough positive reviews and people naturally think, “Well, if it’s good for all those people, it’ll be good for me too and I’ll do it.”
If you’ve ever had somebody come in and say, “I saw your reviews on Google or Facebook or Yelp”, you know what I’m talking about.
Wilkerson and The Edge make excellent use of testimonials in their advertising, and so do I. But I don’t see very many jewelers use testimonials, and that is a mistake and an opportunity. When you start using them and none of your competitors are, you’ll be the winner!
You also can capitalize on the herd mentality in your advertising and offers. Bill Warren and several of my clients have conducted online sales during the Corona lockdown. They’ve done it like QVC or the Home Shopping Network… limited supply of limited items at very attractive prices, and when a sale is made, a bell goes off and the hosting jewelers says, “Ah, there’s the bell. Item #2 is gone.” It creates a feeding frenzy similar to an auction situation, and the sales roll in.
How can you adopt and/or adapt this idea for your jewelry store? How can you use it post-corona in your ongoing advertising and marketing efforts?
Now let’s take a look at “herd immunity.” In the virology world, it means enough people have been infected with the disease and developed antibodies to combat it, that the disease can no longer get a meaningful foothold in the at-large population.
Some scientists have argued that our quarantining steps have slowed society’s ability to develop this herd immunity, pointing to countries that did NOT take such drastic measures and have weathered the disease as well, or perhaps better, than we have, without the devastating economic consequences. (Sweden for example.)
Be that as it may, I’m talking about herd immunity in your advertising and marketing.
Have you noticed that during the heart of the Corona Crisis, virtually every ad run by virtually every company took precious time and/or space to talk about the steps they’d taken as a company to “keep you safe.” Personally, after the first week, I tuned out all of those messages, and I’ll bet you did too.
Why? Because first of all, it’s the very least we’d expect from our merchants and vendors. Second, because we know those steps had been mandated by governments anyway. Third, because we know they’re just covering their butts against legal action, and fourth, because once we heard something so often, our brain automatically tunes it out. Especially if it is perceived as a platitude.
My point is, most advertisers, including jewelers, talk in what I call “ad speak.” It’s the same old messages, delivered in the same old ways, with the same old offers and the same old claims.
You talk about how long you’ve been around, how friendly and reliable you are, how you care about your customers ahead of yourself and blah, blah, blah. If you make offers at all, they’re typically discounts with no point of reference for contrasting one price against another.
And the public tunes it out because of herd immunity. They’ve developed advertising antibodies and you just can’t “infect” or EFFECT them with these tired old arguments.
Speak to them about the real DIFFERENCES you bring to the table. Get creative with your offers and events. Give people a reason to choose YOU instead of the jeweler down the street, the chain jeweler boasting better pricing, or worst of all, the Internet.
I’m not talking about cute, clever or so-called “creative” advertising. I’m talking about giving them legitimate, credible and compelling reasons to believe you are the right jeweler for them. And do it in a warm, friendly, conversational way, that sets you apart and above.
That’s how you beat herd immunity and herd mentality and get your business prospering again.
About Jim Ackerman
Jim Ackerman is known as The Marketing Coach to the Jewelry Industry. He has helped some of the most renowned jewelry retailers in the nation experience dramatic increases. In the post-corona world, Jim is offering readers of The Retail Jeweler a Jumpstart Your Business Consultation to get sales moving again. This is a $500.00 value offered our readers FREE, with Jim’s compliments.
click here for complimentary access.
This article was originally featured in the latest issue of The Retail Jeweler, available online now. The Retail Jeweler’s June issue will only be distributed as a digital flipbook. To read the full issue, please visit: theretailjeweler.com/flipbook.