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Andy Malis: Advertising Your Store on TV or Radio in 2016? Good Luck!

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Election year requires a shift in marketing strategy.

This article originally appeared in the January 2016 edition of INSTORE.


Andy Malis talks advertising strategy

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An improving economy, a presidential election and the Olympics. All in the same year. It’s the perfect storm. And not in a good way for advertisers.

What does it mean for your advertising plans? Trouble. Lots of it. It means higher rates and tight inventory. It means making plans and then seeing your ads bumped for endless campaign commercials.

Who can you thank for this mess? The politicians. They passed a law that guarantees all broadcast TV and radio commercials sold to candidates must be at the station’s “lowest unit rate” during the 45-days before a primary and 60-days before a general election. Well, guess what? The “lowest unit rate” will not be that low. And you’ll pay a lot more if you can even get on the air.

Even conservative estimates predict that spending by all candidates in the 2016 presidential election will surpass $5 billion, double the level in 2012. Add in all state and local races, plus issue-based advertising and the total will be $10 billion.

Who wins? The media. Who loses? Just about anyone who relies on TV and radio advertising to drive traffic to their stores.

If you don’t have a proactive plan in place to deal with this, start now. Here are five things to do today to protect your sales in 2016.

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1 Love your customers like never before. Make sure you have their email addresses. Remember their birthdays and anniversaries. I’m not a huge lover of direct mail (it has the highest cost-per-thousand of any medium), but this year I am. Use it. Plan more events like private sales and market them directly to your existing customer base — direct mail, email, social media, personal contact, etc.

2 Shift some of your budget from TV and radio to online. Social media advertising works and it’s cheap. Review your search engine marketing program and make sure it’s performing. If not, get a second opinion. Make sure your website is up-to-date and that you have a mobile version.

3 Completely avoid the 45- and 60-day windows prior to the election. In most states, there will be nothing but political advertising running during this time. In 2012, people started to deliberately tune out. They started watching more on-demand and online programming. This is particularly so for millennials, your best bridal clients. They’re watching 23 percent less TV than just five years ago.

4 Leverage volume and relationships. The TV and radio stations know this party will end on Nov. 8. If you’ve been a regular advertiser, they’ll say they’ll try to look out for you. But, don’t kid yourself. The stations are gorging on this money. If you don’t use an ad agency or media buying firm, this may be the year. Because they represent lots of advertisers in the marketplace, the stations will be a lot more concerned about them than they will be about a single advertiser. Any good agency will know the daily inventory situation and be able to get the best deals.

5 Trust but verify. If you use an agency, find out how they monitor your buys. Many agencies track commercials as they air. That way they know if your spot was bumped immediately and can ask for a make good.

Is there a silver lining? Yes, save as much as you can for the 2016 holiday season. Starting Nov. 9, own the retail jewelry category in your market. Prices will still be high because of pent-up demand, but if you plan right, you’ll get through this. Good luck!

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

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VIDEO HIGHLIGHT

Wilkerson Testimonials

New York Jeweler Picks Wilkerson for Their GOB Sale

Jan Rose of Rose Jewelers, located in Long Island's famous Hamptons beach district, explains how she chose Wilkerson for her closing sale. Jan's suggestions: reach out to jewelers who have been in similar situations to find out what worked for them, and look for a company with experience in going-out-of-business sales. Once you've done that, the final step is to move ahead and trust the process.

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Dave Richardson

Why Flip Charts Are Superior to Whiteboards

This could be extremely important to your sales performance.

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WHY IT IS TRUE: Many powerful ideas are shared in brief meetings with your sales staff prior to opening the store. Traditionally, these ideas are recorded on an erasable whiteboard in the training room or office. Once erased, the ideas may be lost forever.

PLAN OF ACTION: Invest in a flipchart and marking pens, and use them generously to record sales training conversations, discussions and commitments during your staff meetings. At the conclusion of the meeting, post the valuable information recorded on the chart to prominent locations in your office or training room. Refer to these in future daily meetings, focusing upon ongoing value to your store and your customers.

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Editor's Note

We’re All Quitters Someday

A successful ending to your retail career requires planning.

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ALL GOOD THINGS must end. Yet every ending is a new beginning. I could keep going with the clichés, but you get the point: everyone eventually has to move on from jewelry retail. When the time comes, you want to go out on your own terms.

Podcast: Holiday Sales These Jewelers Will Never Forget
Over the Counter

Podcast: Holiday Sales These Jewelers Will Never Forget

Podcast: Get Your Employees to Act Like They Own the Damn Place
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Podcast: Get Your Employees to Act Like They Own the Damn Place

Podcast: A Classic Holiday Poem is Reimagined in a Jewelry Store
Over the Counter

Podcast: A Classic Holiday Poem is Reimagined in a Jewelry Store

With that in mind, our lead story takes you inside the transitions of six different jewelry retailers and explains why business expert Seth Godin says that one of the secrets of successful organizations is “strategic quitting.” Everyone reading this issue will leave the industry one day; now is the time to begin planning for it.

That said, many of you aren’t ready to retire, you’ve just lost your inspiration. You’re down and out, dejected, or maybe just bored. We’ve got just the thing for you to help you get your mojo back: our second lead story, “Mojo to Go.” It includes 12 different action items guaranteed to bring the excitement back to your business life.

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If that weren’t enough, we’ve also got what group managing editor Chris Burslem calls “lots of fun and interesting side bits” throughout, including why you shouldn’t discount shop labor, how to sell more safely, what your inventory management strategy can learn from dieting, and of course much, much more.

So remember, it’s not the quitting that matters — it’s how you plan to quit!

Trace Shelton

Editor-in-Chief, INSTORE
trace@smartworkmedia.com

Five Smart Tips You’ll Find in This Issue

  • Have your kids or your employees’ kids make Valentine’s Day cards and use them as props in your displays. (Manager’s To-Do, page 26)
  • Hold office hours for an hour or two a week for staff to talk to you. (Mojo To Go, page 44)
  • When role-playing sales with your staff, always take the role of salesperson first. (Ask INSTORE, page 58)
  • Renegotiate everything from your lease to Internet, cable, phone and even garbage pickup to save money. (Evan Deutsch, page 52)
  • Use an open-to-buy calculation to balance what you’re buying with what you’re selling. (David Brown, page 53)
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Commentary: The Business

Want to Survive? Go Custom

Tapping into jewelry customers’ desire for individuality is the key to retail success.

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YOU OFTEN HEAR THE words “it’s custom made” when referring to jewelry, but is it really? We all know there is a difference between “off-the-rack” and “custom-made” when it comes to clothing — jewelry isn’t any different.

The magic starts when the customer meets the maker. Each custom piece of art (which is what jewelry really is) should start with a conversation. Then the information provided — including style ideas, desired gemstones, personality traits and tastes, hobbies, work and social environments, favorite colors, you name it — should be incorporated into hand-drawn or 3D CAD rendered images for the client to choose from. Once a favorite design has been chosen, the creation and fabrication processes can begin.

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This specific value-add and brand differentiation is where clients realize the importance of knowing your jeweler. You have to trust the individual making the piece for you — that is paramount.

People are tired of sameness. From rampant copying to boring, uninspired designs, jewelry clients are becoming wise to seeing the same thing over and over again. The jewelry they are seeing does not speak to their individuality because these products are made for the masses on a gigantic scale. The anonymity behind fast fashion and easily consumed products that break or lose stones in a short amount of time after purchase don’t help the cause. Customer service only goes so far; the product has to have its own legs to stand on.

If you are creating one-of-a-kind pieces, you do not have the carrying costs associated with pre-fabricated designs and styles. You do not have to have liquidation sales of old, tired merchandise. You are creating exactly what the client is looking for. Being a specialty shop does not limit you to only creating custom pieces. It empowers you to design out-of-the-box and far-out jewelry that pushes the boundaries of style and uniqueness.

Seth Godin said that “survival is not the goal, transformative success is.” It is not always the strongest that survive, but those most responsive to change. Change is an opportunity that many see as a threat. It all boils down to our individual creativity. There is no competition when you create.

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