By Jim Ackerman
Jim Ackerman is a retail jewelry marketing expert who has spoken to jewelry retailers at JA New York, JCK, The Smart Jewelry Show and others. He can be reached at 800-584-7585, ext. 3 or by email at

Most jewelers, frankly, are dissatisfied with the results they get from their marketing approach. But, is this surprising given the “throw-it-at-the-wall-and-see-if-it-sticks” approach they take?

Ask the typical jeweler about his marketing budget and he’ll quote you a percentage of gross sales to be “thrown” at marketing. Ask about a marketing plan, though, and you’ll get a blank stare.

If you want to see the results of your marketing and advertising efforts improve, you’ll need to take a more advanced, scientific approach to planning for your own success.

Every jeweler should have a marketing plan and Q4, despite the business of the holidays, is the right time to create it.

A solid marketing plan consists of five key sections. Here they are.

1. Situation Analysis. This is the place where you look at where you have been and where you are. Take a look at your current revenue levels, closing rates, market trends, potential for growth and so forth. This is also the place to perform an introspective SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). In other words, get a good snapshot of where you are today.

2. Objectives Report. Once you know where you are, it’s time to figure out where you want to go. This is where you set goals for revenue, market share, image and reputation, awareness in the marketplace, lifetime profit value of a customer and cost of acquisition. And these goals should be set for the first six months and second six months of the year, along with second- year goals, five-year goals, and even 10-year goals. Of course, such long-term forecasting isn’t much more than a guess for the first few years you do it, but over time you’ll find yourself getting markedly more accurate.

3. Strategies Report. So you know where you are and where you want to go. The strategies section is where you lay out the roadmap for getting there. You should consider your Unique Purchase Appeal, or UPA--the one sentence that describes how you’re different from the competition in a way that appeals to your target customers. Also look at a strategic approach to pricing, compensating your sales staff, customer service, media advertising, increasing average transaction, getting existing customers back in more often, reactivating dormant clients, securing referrals and more.

4. Budgeting Is Next. Again, declaring that you’re going to spend 5 percent of revenue isn’t a budget. It’s a benchmark. A budget is determined by defining all the tactics you’re going to use to implement your strategies. That means identifying all the events and promotions you’re going to do in each of the three business-building categories--getting more customers, increasing average transaction and boosting frequency of purchase. Each project should be identified and categorized according to the primary objective (which of the three business-building categories it is targeting) and priority. The top priorities get fully funded. When you get toward the bottom, if you must make cuts, cut entire programs rather than semi-funding all of them.

5. Finally Is the Schedule. By planning out your entire year in advance, you’ll be able to see, week-by-week, what your marketing expenditures are going to be. You’ll be able to anticipate them and plan for them accordingly.

Interestingly enough, you’re likely to experience two favorable phenomenon when you plan your marketing this way.

First, you’ll actually have greater freedom and flexibility to react to market conditions. As opportunities or challenges present themselves, you’ll find you can react and adjust with greater confidence because you’ll be able to evaluate options in terms of your overall strategies, and you’ll also know the resources are available (or not) without upsetting your entire plan.

Secondly, you’ll find yourself much more motivated to track your marketing and advertising efforts, and hold them absolutely accountable to the bottom line. This will help you make better marketing decisions going forward in your quest to “genetically engineer” your marketing for ever-increasing success.

Marketing speaker Jim Ackerman has addressed jewelry retailers at the nation’s biggest trade show including JA New York, JCK and The Smart Jewelry Show. He is offering National Jeweler readers a free Marketing Plan Template, valued at $97. Send an email request to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.