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Best of the Best: Bang For Your Ad Buck

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Missouri store hits the jackpot with customer “bailout” package.

[dropcap cap=K]as & Argo Fine Jewelry Designs is located in several lovingly restored Victorian homes in the Old Munichburg neighborhood of Jefferson City, MO. Business partners Kas Jacquot and Pete Argo emphasized their unique custom work and links to the community in their successful 2009 ad campaign, which they dubbed an economic stimulus package. — EILEEN McCLELLAND [/dropcap]

[componentheading]The idea[/componentheading]

[contentheading]A DIY Bailout [/contentheading]

Argo and Jacquot developed a plan to jump-start their own personal economy, and mailed fliers announcing the campaign to 3,000 customers in April 2009. The offer: $500 worth of “Bailout Bucks” that enabled customers to save up to 50 percent off the price of almost any finished jewelry in the store.

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[componentheading]The execution [/componentheading]

[contentheading]Print, Disburse, a la U.S. Mint  [/contentheading]

The pair used brown envelopes to make the mail piece look like a prize-winning announcement. They printed “economic stimulus package” on 2-inch gold foil labels and applied them to the envelopes.

They developed their own $100 bills and put five of them inside each envelope with a single page describing the rules of the promotion and the reasons they were trying to stimulate their own local economy.

SOME REASONS:
1 When you spend your bailout bucks you stimulate the economy right here in Old Munichburg.
2 We make most of our jewelry and you are helping us continue to pay our employees — no layoffs.
3 You help maintain the historic buildings Kas has remodeled and help our city keep looking great.
4 It pays all our salaries so we can buy things locally and we in turn help stimulate the local economy.
5 We say buy what you can. Life’s too long for ordinary jewelry!

They reminded customers of their in-house credit with 90-days free financing through GE Money and mailed the fliers in late April.

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“The Bailout Bucks, as we called them, could be used to purchase any in-stock jewelry or gift items excluding Pandora,” Argo says. “For example, if a ring was $1,000, the customer would pay $500 and give us $500 in Bailout Bucks.”

Argo even suggested ways the Bailout Bucks could be used for specific jewelry on his store blog.

[componentheading]The reward [/componentheading]

[contentheading]Sales Leaped 42% [/contentheading]

“Did it work? It sure did!” Argo reports. May sales figures exceeded December 2008 sales figures, and kicked 2009 into high gear. Through the end of August 2009, their sales were 42 percent ahead of sales for the same period of 2008.

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Added bonuses? The promotion helped weed out old merchandise, increased cash flow and re-established ties with lost customers.

“The only negative aspect is how are we going to outdo ourselves in 2010?” Argo wonders.

[componentheading]Do It Yourself [/componentheading]

ARGO SAYS you needn’t spend a fortune to run a successful promotion.

For example, he designed the “Bailout Bucks” in-house using Photoshop.

Modern Postcard in Carlsbad, CA, did the printing. “To save money, I laid out two bills on one 4-inch by 6-inch postcard and had each card cut in half. I ordered 10,000 postcards because I needed 15,000 bills for the campaign. The cost for printing full-color on one side including cutting was $850.”

The gold labels from U-Line cost $50 and the laser printing on them was also $50.

Three thousand brown envelopes and 6,000 labels from Staples cost $300.

The postage was $1,260.

[span class=note]This story is from the March 2010 edition of INSTORE[/span]

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