Lilian Raji is a strategic marketing and public relations adviser. Send questions for The PR Adviser to nationaljeweler@lmrpr.com or contact her at lilian@lmrpr.com.
Well, hello again readers!

I hope you’ve all been able to keep cool this summer. I’ve spent most of it working with clients in Montreal and have fortunately missed the worst of this steaming weather.

Enjoy the last of the sunshine now, as holiday season is around the corner and a broken air conditioner will be a more welcome problem than UPS’ and FedEx’s eventual holiday delivery delays.  

Below, I answer my latest question as National Jeweler’s resident PR Adviser, which comes from a jewelry designer experiencing email marketing frustration.

Dear Lilian,

Q. We’ve been sending emails to our retailers showcasing our press coverage, but only about 25 percent are ever opened, and even fewer are clicked through. What are we doing wrong?

Signed,
Why Am I Being Ignored?

A. First, let me say that 25 percent is by no means a paltry open rate. It is about what marketing emails garner on average, across all industries.

Now, dear readers, please have a seat for this next part of my answer. I’m about to say something shocking and I don’t want you to bump your head should you swoon.

Are you ready?

Dear Ms. Ignored, your retail customers don’t matter.

Wait everyone! Please don’t cancel your National Jeweler subscription! Hear me out.

Who is buying your jewelry?

Don’t tell me the store buyer! Let’s try again!

Who is wearing your jewelry? Who are you thinking about when you design your jewelry?

Let’s name the answer to these questions “Elizabeth Taylor,” with the name of this famous jewelry-loving lady standing in for the end consumer. Because, why not?

You’re making your jewelry for Elizabeth Taylor because she’s the one stockpiling your latest masterpieces. And while you’re doing your best to impress the retail store buyer, the retail store buyer is going gaga for Elizabeth Taylor. All Ms. or Mr. Buyer cares about is what Elizabeth Taylor wants.  

It’s good that you want Ms. or Mr. Buyer to see your press coverage, but it makes no difference to her or him. If time is money, how much money is she or he earning by looking at your emails?

Your only value to Ms. or Mr. Buyer is what Elizabeth Taylor wants. As long as she continues wanting your pieces, your relationship with the store continues. If she and her friends, however, stop wanting you, so does Ms. or Mr. Buyer.

When I first started in PR, back when fax machines were more important than emails, I too thought it was important to show retailers press coverage. I remember dutifully compiling press clips for my jewelry and watch clients and doing monthly mailings to their retailers, thinking they’d get excited about all the press my clients’ products were receiving.  

Yeah, no.

They appreciated knowing we were out there creating excitement about their inventory. But unless Elizabeth Taylor barreled into their store, clutching a Vogue magazine page showcasing my clients’ jewelry while throwing her JP Morgan Reserve card at the nearest salesperson, they didn’t give a flying fig.

Ahem.  

Don’t stop getting press coverage for your collection. How else is Elizabeth Taylor going to know about your jewelry?

As I continue working with business owners one-on-one, especially business owners whose end customer is not the person the business owner is interacting with directly, it’s clear to me, Ms. Ignored, that you don’t realize who has the most power.

The person taking your jewelry home is the most powerful. This is whom you need to impress.

Absolutely take care of your retailer relationships; make sure Ms. or Mr. Buyer and her or his team burst into song and dance when they hear your name.  

But remember: Just as you are beholden to Ms. or Mr. Buyer to order your jewelry, Ms. or Mr. Buyer is beholden to Elizabeth Taylor to purchase it.

My close friend is a senior sales rep for a well-known jewelry company. While everyone reading this understands just how rare it is for Saks to offer anything other than memo for its orders, my friend told me that this particular company’s deals with Saks were mostly cash and very little memo.  

Why? Because this well-known company has millions of Elizabeth Taylors, and if Saks wanted to continue swiping those Platinum cards, it needed to play ball.

And, to make sure the jewelry company kept acquiring more Elizabeth Taylors, it would happily treat editors at the major magazines to their very own baubles during the holiday season. And when I say “baubles,” I mean the finest quality VVS diamond-somethings the real Elizabeth Taylor would salivate to possess.

So, to answer your question more directly, what you’re doing wrong, Ms. Ignored, is focusing your energy on Ms. or Mr. Store Buyer instead of the most powerful person in the store—the customer.

Use your press and marketing strategy to acquire more Elizabeth Taylors, then I guarantee you Ms. or Mr. Buyer will program her or his Outlook to emit a special tone exclusively for when your emails come through.

You’re probably now wondering how to acquire more Elizabeth Taylors.

Well, my friend, that’s what I’m here for. Email me your pressing PR and marketing questions to answer in my next column, or better yet, invite me to your office!

Until next time, dear friends, stay cool!

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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.