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Andrea Hill

How to Create Less Pain and More Gain in Your Marketing

It all starts with understanding your clients and having differentiating characteristics in your store.




WE HUMANS ARE more motivated to avoid pain than to pursue gain. Ask a person if they would rather take a painkiller now to alleviate pain or start a health regimen to achieve future well-being, and the painkiller nearly always wins.

You already know this. Show an engagement ring buyer the diamond they’ve been searching for and talk about how much they will love it, and they hesitate. Suggest the diamond will sell quickly and they won’t find another like it, and you’ve moved them closer to purchase.

I see the same behavior in marketing.

It starts with a business owner stressed over low website and foot traffic and failure to convert visitors to buyers. This is real pain that requires real attention. The temptation is to throw money at online advertising … easy as popping a painkiller! But even when additional traffic is the result, it often doesn’t convert to sales. Eventually, the business owner burns out on the painkiller but doesn’t know what else to do.

This is what happens when you treat a symptom (pain) instead of creating a health regimen. There’s nothing wrong with alleviating pain while solving the root cause, but if you only treat the pain, the results are either more pain or painkiller addiction.

So … how do you make your marketing work if your marketing isn’t working? By looking at what you’re marketing. I often tell clients that a bad ad about a great product may succeed, but a great ad about a weak product will simply win an advertising award.

A great product or service is something that A) meets the customer’s needs better than any of their alternatives, and B) is differentiated.

MEETS A NEED: It’s tempting to think in terms of someone needing a gift or an engagement ring. But go deeper. What are the underlying needs? Does your buyer feel inadequate at gift buying? Are they trying to make an impression? A statement? If you can tap into the underlying motivation behind buyer decisions, your marketing can speak directly to everyone who shares similar feelings. This is when your marketing messaging goes from “buy this!” to “we understand you.”

DIFFERENTIATED: If your store sells all the same things as all the stores within driving distance, or if your online presence looks the same and offers virtually the same products as every other online jewelry store, then the only thing you can compete on is price. No matter how much money you throw at online ads, visitors will arrive, think, “meh,” and move on.

Make your value proposition shine through in everything you do, from the physical store to your online presence. Who are you, what do you do that makes you different, and why do you matter? Do you carry unique designers? Do you have an outrageously interesting vintage section? Do you have a compelling social commitment to your community? Are you on a responsible sourcing journey? How do your values and your products solve relevant problems for or meet the unique needs and wants of your customers?

How you market matters too. If your marketing repertoire consists primarily of social media and email blasts, you’re not achieving the true potential of your marketing. But we’ll save that discussion for another day. For now, consider ditching the painkillers and going on a health kick by taking the slower, steadier route to marketing success.



She Wanted to Spend More Time with Her Kids. She Called Wilkerson.

Your children are precious. More precious than gold? Absolutely! Just ask Lesley Ann Davis, owner of Lesley Ann Jewels, an independent jewelry store that — until the end of 2023 — had quite a following in Houston, Texas. To spend more time with her four sons, all in high school, she decided to close her store. Luckily, she was familiar with Wilkerson and called them as soon as she knew she wanted to move on to bigger, better and more family-focused things. Was she happy with her decision? Yes, she was. Says Davis, “Any owner looking to make that life change, looking to retire, looking to close, looking for a pause in their career, I would recommend Wilkerson. Hands down!”

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