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Congratulations on Surviving the Recession … Now It’s Time To Put A Stake In The Ground

Andy Malis tells you what you need to do to thrive.

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IF YOU’RE READING THIS, you have my congratulations. You’re still in business. You survived the last recession. Maybe thrived.

You’re probably feeling pretty good about yourself.

But will you be in business five years from now? Don’t be too sure.

There are seismic shifts happening in every industry every day and no one can predict what’s ahead with any accuracy.

There are tens of thousands of retail jewelers in the U.S. And it’s nearly impossible to tell them apart. In my almost 30 years in marketing I have never seen a more “me-too” industry than retail jewelers.

Does this sound familiar?

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“We’re ABC Jewelers. Family owned and operated for four generations. Founded by our great grandfather 80 years ago. We carry the finest selection and provide the best customer service at the area’s most competitive prices.”

Really? Do today’s consumers care how old you are? Maybe your loyal customers do but they’re dying off (sorry, but it’s true).

Here’s my challenge for 2016. Be the customer and define yourself from their point of view. Mystery-shop your store. Put a stake in the ground. Differentiate or die. Stand for something. Anything. As long as it’s not what every other jeweler stands for.

While you’re at it, ignore your competition. Completely. Most of them don’t know what they’re doing. There’s only one group you should be learning from — the customer. And just say no to co-op. There’s nothing differentiating about co-op. The vendors pay you 50 percent but keep 90 percent of the ad space.

Here’s a surprise — people who are interested in a particular product go to the Internet, read about it, and find the closest dealer — all online. Can consumers in your area find you and the products you carry easily on the Internet? More important, can they read your website on their mobile phone? More than half of all Internet searches start on a mobile device.

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Succeeding for tomorrow depends on three things:

  1. Providing the right mix of products and services that consumers demand
  2. Delivering it to them the way they want it — in an inviting atmosphere for all customers
  3. Be liked. How? By creating a brand personality for your store that is humble, warm, friendly and doesn’t take itself too seriously

Take a good hard look at your business. How are you perceived? What do you stand for? Now’s the time to differentiate and leap ahead of all your competitors.

Andy Malis is CEO of MGH (www.mghus.com), an integrated marketing agency based in Owings Mills, MD. He can be reached at [email protected].

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