Since proposing on The Bachelorette, I’ve become slightly distant from jewelry shopping. After all, it’s much easier to have Neil Lane give you five options, then you pick the one she’ll love — even if you’ve only known her for nine episodes. But I realize Neil won’t be there to chaperone my jewelry journeys for the rest of my life. Sigh …
That said, I plan on ring shopping for someone special soon, but I honestly have no business being in a jewelry store. The thought of even walking by a storefront provokes a mild panic. Not because I’m nervous to make a commitment, but because it’s such a foreign, mystical land for me.
If I owned a jewelry store, I would put myself in the shoes of potential customers like myself — a Bachelor Millennial, or “Ballennial.” A Ballennial like me is a:
- Potential Customer. I’m in the market. It sounds easy, but finding me at this moment is not that easy.
- Researcher. I know little about diamonds, so I research online. And I’m sensitive to biased reviews, ads, and other noise that inhibits my research.
- Attention Deficit. I have the attention span of a fruit fly. I’m not a diva, but you need to grab my attention—and keep it! We’re all overloaded with products, content, and distractions today, so make yours count.
- Cost Conscious. While I think I know my budget, I may still be convinced to spend out of my range. If i’m educated in a non-salesy way.
Here are the top five things you should do next:
- Content Marketing. Content marketing is the genesis of modern search engine optimization. In other words, you need to publish relevant, consistent, and socially-activated content. This is key to engaging your target. Once your targets are segmented, determine which channels, communities, and social media are most effective. And don’t be seduced by the latest Johnny-come-lately social network. The key is testing different communities to determine what’s best for you. Set goals related to business success. What translates into revenue? Is customer service improving? In terms of content, education is the new selling. Ballennials like to do their own research and we’re very skeptical of salespeople. How about a blog dedicated to Ballennials considering getting hitched? Lastly, review your results often. As you try different channels, set a window for how long you will test.
- Brand Reflection. Nothing is worse than having inconsistent brand logos, missions and designs across the Interwebs. Use high quality images (a no-brainer in the jewelry industry). Visual networks like Pinterest and Instagram give you the vehicle to replicate an in-store experience. Curate your categories, pages and/or boards the same way you would in the store. Include URLs in posts that direct traffic to your website, then capture the potential buyer’s information and follow up with them. (Tip: Curalate.com is a great tool for this.)
- E-Commerce. The new e-commerce starts with identifying targets and using ongoing dialogue to make a transaction (offline or online). Ballennials may not be checking out of your e-shopping cart with $30,000 rings today, but we know there are options out there (e.g. Blue Nile or Brilliance). This will eventually become the norm, rather than the exception.
- Digital Focus Group. Use social communities as an extension of your company. Use your followers and fans to augment business functions like research and development, customer service, and design. Besides, who’s better to test products than your own customers?
- Mechanical Marketing. The secret sauce. Mechanical marketing activates all your other digital marketing activities with real-life engagement. Forget what you know about surface-level metrics such as tweets, likes and pins. It’s time to bring your brand to life. Make it fun! Use gamification for your next loyalty program. Crowd-source your next ring design. Ballennials love competition, so reward them with incentives or events that are socially-activated. Synchronize offline events with your digital properties. There are lots of free tools that can help with this. Your website should be the hub of all of your digital assets, so use technologies like content management systems to easily modify content and amplify socially.
Edward Swiderski is a digital marketing executive and thought leader with over 12 years of industry experience. His current role is senior vice president at Legacy Marketing Partners, an independent experiential marketing agency that inspires passion for brands by engaging people through integrated live and digital campaigns. Swiderski also co-authored Pinterest for Business, the first globally printed business guide for Pinterest. The book has been featured in Inc. Magazine, Fast Company, and several other highly accredited business publications. Ed also co-starred on ABC’s The Bachelorette, where he was selected as the final contestant. For more information, visit swiderski.info.
This article was originally published in the July/August 2014 issue of INDESIGN.