How to Prepare Your Jewelry Marketing for 2019

Today, JCK published an editorial titled “3 Predictions for the Jewelry Business in 2019 and Beyond“. At the 2018 GIA Symposium, Scott Galloway – marketing professor and founder of market research platform Gartner L2 – shared his thoughts about the future of jewelry.

He predicts that in 2019, 1) lab-grown diamonds will potentially disrupt the industry, 2) the jewelry market will begin to see a consolidation of independents, and 3) brands will need to promote a culture of experimentation and innovation in order to stay relevant.

In this blog post, I’ll be focusing on the final prediction and how digital marketing can support this need.

Too many legacy jewelry brands are sitting on their thrones complaining that brick-and-mortar retail is dead and that consumer shopping habits have changed. They blame everything except their lack of experimentation and innovation for declining sales.

The truth is that brick-and-mortar is actually doing better than many critics expected, and consumer interest in jewelry is high.

For example, even though global sales of real and costume jewelry are rising, “Recent years have proven difficult for Tiffany,” according to AdAge. Once the gold standard for jewelry gifting, legacy brand Tiffany has not pursued the experimentation and innovation necessary to keep up with the tastes and preferences of younger generations.

While young brands do have an advantage, since they can approach sales and marketing with a fresh eye, every brand can benefit from creating and executing a digital marketing strategy that emphasizes and communicates their commitment to pursuing innovation, satisfying customer wants and needs, and anticipating new trends.

To stay relevant, before sure to include these elements in your digital marketing for 2019:

  1. Invite customers to peek behind the scenes. If your research and development truly revolves around innovation, then your customers will see and appreciate that. Through video, Instagram Stories, blog posts, social media posts, and other forms of content marketing, show your customers your creative process.
  2. Regularly ask your customers to provide suggestions and feedback. Incorporate surveys into your email marketing campaigns, do Instagram Story polls, and even consider forming a VIP focus group of some of your most enthusiastic customers. Offer special discounts or other perks in regard to the input.
  3. Consider creating limited-edition “experimental” designs to see how they perform and then build marketing campaigns around these news designs. Push the boundaries of what you already design and produce and try something completely “out-of-the-box”. Customers will return to your website again and again to learn about the “next big thing” you’ve made.

How are you preparing your digital marketing for 2019?

What’s “Marketing Myopia” and How Can It Affect Your Jewelry Brand?

Have you ever heard of a term called “marketing myopia“? You may have seen the word “myopia,” which is a fancy way to say nearsightedness. In relation to marketing, myopia means a brand has lost sight of the big picture and is focusing too closely on small details that only relate to short-term outcomes.

When a jewelry brand’s design and marketing teams are in the throes of product development and promotion, they often become laser focused on making sure a product is just right and that the corresponding marketing is attractive and appealing.

Let’s look at a more specific example. Imagine a jewelry brand’s marketing team has become obsessed with growing the brand’s Instagram presence because Instagram converts. They focus heavily on getting “likes” and feel discouraged when a post doesn’t attract as much activity.

Meanwhile, the brand hasn’t invested time, attention, and money into customer service, product innovation, content marketing, and real relationship building.

Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with focusing on Instagram, especially if customers are finding the brand through Instagram and actually buying products they see in posts. However, this approach is limiting for two reasons.

  1. When product development and marketing is the sole focus, a brand may lose sight of its overall mission. In addition, they forget what the customers really want, which is often more than a pretty picture they can “like”.
  2. Focusing all time, budget, and attention on Instagram strategy is short sighted, especially for a jewelry brand that hopes to remain relevant many years from now. Who’s to say that Instagram will still be popular in 5-10 years?

So how exactly can you avoid marketing myopia? First, you need to fully understand what you stand for as a brand and know what sets you apart in the marketplace. Then, you must never lose sight of your core value proposition and constantly consider how you can communicate it to your customers, whether your brand is 5 years old or 50 years old.

Studying heritage jewelry brands can help you better understand this concept. A brand like Tiffany & Co. has been around since the 1800s. It’s true they’ve pushed the boundaries with some of their collections over the years – appealing to new customers and evolving with the fashion trends. However, they’ve never lost sight of the fact that they make jewelry that people love to receive as gifts. They’ve kept their iconic blue packaging and the personalized shopping experience sacred.

Have you ever experienced marketing myopia? How do you pull your brand out of this state and reconnect with your customers on a more personal level that will stand the test of time?

The Role of “Curation” in Jewelry Marketing

Most shoppers crave a point of view; they want to understand how an article of clothing or a piece of jewelry like a bold necklace can fit into their lives and how they should wear those items. Otherwise, they’d be overwhelmed by too many choices.

At the height of print media, fashion magazine editors were the style curators, showcasing clothing and accessories they loved and that matched their publication’s aesthetic.

These days, anyone can curate a digital fashion and accessories collection based on categories like season, color, mood, and occasion. Pinterest and Polyvore, among other tools, allow anyone with an Internet connection to showcase a point of view.

Instead of shopping in a brick-and-mortar retail store, we might shop an Instagram post styled by a highly trafficked fashion blogger.

As a jewelry brand, you may find that some bloggers and social media users will add your pieces to their own curated Pinterest boards. Why not follow their lead and curate your own merchandise by organizing your jewelry offerings into manageable and “shoppable” collections?

Too often, I see jewelry stores with displays that lack focus. Most jewelers, especially those who sell bridal jewelry, cast as wide a net as possible when it comes to merchandising. Who can blame them? They believe the more styles they offer, the more customers they’ll attract. In reality, the lack of focus is overwhelming.

Online, the issue seems to be even more widespread. No physical jewelry case is limiting any one retailer from posting as many products as possible. The temptation to sell everything may be great, but marketing your curated jewelry brand will always win as the most effective strategy.

As an example, let’s view the Tiffany & Co. e-commerce website. In the “Engagement Ring” category, a user can shop by style or by collection. The collections have names like “Harmony” and “Soleste” and are divided into manageable groups that have been curated by a common design element like a pave diamond shank.

Someone who hasn’t done much engagement ring shopping or “dreaming” might not know where to begin in terms of style, but the person might have a positive visceral response to a collection’s overall mood. A collection can help focus and alleviate the anxiety of the subsequent buying decision.

Furthermore, creating collections within your brand’s jewelry inventory allows you to tell a story about your merchandise. In the highly competitive world of e-commerce retail, where you may never meet your customers face to face, you must distinguish yourself with a story that contains strong emotional elements.

When you curate your own collection, you can assign it and the items within it, names, and the product descriptions can be more than a simple rundown of the technical details. Instead, the item can become a character in the larger story of the collection.

Do you already use collections as part of your jewelry marketing strategy? If so, how do you decide which items to group together in a collection? Do you tell a visual and/or written story about the collection? Comment below with your thoughts.

Featured photo by Barta IV