For my US readers I'd like to say Happy Black Friday!
Today officially kicks off the holiday shopping season in the United States. Many department stores and chain stores open very early today with "Doorbuster Sales" which usually end by Noon.
According to the Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English, the "doorbuster" is a special discount price available for a limited period, typically during special early-opening hours. From my experience, the items sold during these doorbuster periods are nothing more than loss leaders to generate interest and get people into the store.
Unfortunately, in the jewelry industry, especially fine jewelry stores, the idea of discounting or selling something as a loss leader is frowned upon. Some jewelry vendors specialize in low cost jewelry specifically so retailers can use them as loss leaders. In the past few years, some fine jewelry manufacturers have also started to produce special suites of low cost jewelry specifically designed for Black Friday.
Forward thinking vendors understand that a balanced offline and online marketing campaign takes a lot of time and planning, and independent retailers don't have that time. Many of those suites of low cost doorbuster jewelry are sold by the vendors as complete marketing packages which include all the marketing.
So far this all sounds pretty good for the jewelry retailers. Why not buy into a complete package of loss leader jewelry that includes creative direct mail, window signs, email campaigns, and even Facebook post. Over the last four years, including today, I've been asked to do a post mortem review of the campaigns to figure out why they didn't work as well as expected.
Interestingly enough, the mistakes I found are pretty obvious, but the retailers were so happy that someone else was doing the marketing for them that they didn't bother to scrutinize how it was being done.
Here are some of the very obvious mistakes I see all the time:
1. No phone number on the ad.
2. No address on the ad.
3. No mention of a website address.
4. No link to the jewelry store's website.
5. Use of technology in a cumbersome way
Obviously I'm a technology junkie. I'm the guy who owns both an iPhone 5 and a Samsung Galazy S III, but only because I test mobile marketing techniques all the time and I need to have both phones. But for your own purposes, just because technology is new and cool doesn't mean you should be using it or forcing it on others.
One vendor created ad campaign I reviewed recently included QR codes and directions to use them in the store windows. It makes perfect sense to use the QR codes in a store window because it will direct people to the jeweler's website. However, the vendor campaign also recommended that the QR code be used on the website's home page and on the jeweler's Facebook page.
This sounds like a good idea if you are expecting someone to jump from their desktop computer to a smartphone. Unfortunately, because of monitor flicker rates it's very difficult for a smartphone to actually scan a QR code from a desktop.
It's also silly to put a QR code on Facebook since desktop users could more easily click a link, and mobile users can also tap a link from the mobile Facebook app.
I'm all for the doorbuster deals and these unified product and marketing packages that vendors provide. However, please do your own marketing using their artwork as the basis for your own ads. Even though a vendor may have good intentions and their package deal makes it easy, the marketing I've saw last year and this year was a disaster.
Think for yourself and question authority.