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Beware “Checklist Marketing” for Your Jewelry Brand

Do you sometimes feel completely overwhelmed by all your marketing initiatives? Do you feel pressure to “do” more marketing, just to keep up with your competitors and your head above water? If you answered “yes” to one or both of these questions, then you may be guilty of participating in “Checklist Marketing” for your jewelry brand.

In his acclaimed marketing book Get Scrappy, Nick Westergaard introduces the concept of “Checklist Marketing”, a term that he coined to describe a very common yet misguided approach to marketing. Westergaard explains that far too many business owners skip the SMART goal-setting process, so they’re clueless about what they want their marketing to achieve and disappointed when their marketing doesn’t achieve it.

Instead, they experiment with every digital marketing channel under the sun and then go through the motions with their marketing efforts, copying their competitors’ marketing campaigns or fulfilling what they believe are today’s marketing best practices. Then, they wonder why they aren’t seeing results and often blame others for their shortcomings. “The new Instagram algorithm sucks” or “The influencer marketing agency screwed me over.” While it’s true the new Instagram algorithm sucks or that the influencer agency may not have delivered on its promises, it’s more likely that you didn’t set SMART goals before posting to Instagram or working with the influencer marketing agency. Alternatively, Instagram/influencers may simply be boxes on the great Marketing Checklist in the sky; that doesn’t mean they’re right for your brand or that you should be investing in those channels.

Checklist Marketing is a dangerous and, frankly lazy, attitude that revolves around checking all the boxes when it comes to marketing. Instead of thinking strategically about where to invest your time, effort, and money, you simply fulfill what you believe are the basic requirements and then tell yourself you’re doing great. In order to achieve your jewelry brand’s marketing and business goals, you’ll need to choose a plan that’s right for your brand, your budget, your and your audience.

Nearly every time I have an initial consultation with a prospective client, he or she will ask me how to do more marketing and keep up with every marketing channel. The prospective client will want to know how to maintain a presence on Twitter, Pinterest, and TikTok, in addition to Instagram and Facebook. This approach to marketing would make anyone’s head spin. Instead of asking “How can I do more?”, what if you asked, “How can I use marketing to help me achieve my goals?”

I want to let you in on a secret: you actually don’t have to be on every marketing channel to achieve success. I promise! I’m giving you permission right now to drop some of the marketing channels that aren’t yielding any results or aren’t helping you communicate your brand, so you can take the time to focus on the marketing channels that do.

In April 2019, the beauty brand Lush (@lush) decided to quit Instagram. In one of their final posts, they wrote, “…social media is making it harder and harder for us to talk to each other directly. We are tired of fighting with algorithms, and we do not want to pay to appear in your newsfeed. So we’ve decided it’s time to bid farewell to some of our social channels and instead open up the conversation between you and us instead.” With a brand that’s dedicated to authenticity and humanity (to this day, each container includes the name of the person who handmade the product), Lush decided that Instagram was no longer serving their branding and marketing efforts.

So how can you avoid Checklist Marketing and feel like you’re actually telling an authentic brand story through your marketing efforts rather than doing what you feel you need to be doing?

Set SMART Goals

Before you move forward with any marketing initiative, you should first take the time to set SMART goals. To do that, you’ll want to be specific about what you want to accomplish, determine the metrics you’ll use to assess your progress, keep the goal attainable, make the goal relevant to your overall business goals, and assign a timeline to your goal. Some examples of SMART jewelry marketing goals include: “Within the next six months, we’d like to grow our email marketing list by 25% in order to maintain relationships with new customers and inform them of upcoming promotions.”; “Within the next three months, we’d like to add 1,000 new followers to our Instagram account, since most of our website referrals have been coming from the social media platform.”

Know Your Target Customer

In a perfect world, everyone would be your target customer. However, the reality is that most people probably won’t be interested in your jewelry. That’s a good thing! The better you can know and understand your target customer, the more efficiently you can market to her and then develop loyal followers who not only return again and again but who also refer you to other target customers. If you don’t know your target customer, how will you know where she spends her time? Not everyone surfs Instagram or Pinterest. If she’s not on TikTok, why would you even bother opening an account? Before you check a box with yet another marketing campaign, make sure it will actually reach your target customer.

Revisit Your Brand Story and Voice

Believe it or not, not every marketing channel is suitable for every type of story. For example, if it’s difficult for you to communicate your brand story through Instagram, which is best for brand stories that can be communicated through photos and videos, maybe it’s better to focus on event marketing, which is more tactile and allows you to speak to the customer in person. When are customers most responsive to your brand? Consider how you can communicate those qualities through your marketing touchpoints and strategically decide which medium is best suited for them.

Be Honest and Authentic

Moving away from Checklist Marketing does require some courage and faith. It’s natural to feel “FOMO” or fear of missing out when you see that your competitors are engaging in marketing efforts you’ve decided don’t work for you. If you’re not on Twitter or not working with influencers, you may panic when you see a competitor doing those things. Be honest with yourself and remain authentic to your brand; you know your customers and goals better than anyone else.

Remain Open to New Possibilities

One of the best things about cutting your ties with Checklist Marketing is that it frees up the time and energy that you otherwise would be spending on dead-end marketing efforts. Now that you’re focused, you’ll be able to better see what does and doesn’t serve you. As a result, you may come across opportunities that don’t appear on any checklists, like unique brand collaborations or other out-of-the-box marketing ideas uniquely suited for your brand. Be open to new possibilities and realize that your marketing should be exclusive to you.

Are you guilty of Checklist Marketing? Don’t worry. Nearly every brand under the sun has been tempted by it, especially when a new marketing channel gets introduced. For example, when TikTok started gaining steam last year, many brands simply signed up for an account, so they could claim their username. That doesn’t mean the channel is right for them. At the very least, we hope this post inspires you to take a step back from your current marketing initiatives and reevaluate what is and isn’t truly working for you, so you can approach marketing in a more mindful way.

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