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Andrea Hill
Bruce Freshley
Pam Danziger (Photo by Hot Shots Unique Photography)

As the saying goes, the early bird catches the worm—or in this case, the customer. Make the most of the summer months by preparing a marketing plan for the holiday gift rush well in advance. 

While advertising on social media should not be overlooked, traditional marketing mediums like television, radio and print are crucial to spreading your message. To help retailers prepare for December, National Jeweler asked marketing experts for tips on how to create an all-encompassing media plan that’s sure to grab attention and business. 

National Jeweler spoke with Andrea Hill of StrategyWerx in Chicago; Kyna Steinfurth of Fruchtman Marketing in Toledo, Ohio; Bruce Freshley of Freshley Media Inc. in Mount Pleasant, S.C. and Pam Danziger of Unity Marketing in Stevens, Pa. 


1. Plan Proportionately

When it comes to the holidays, Steinfurth and her team see many retailers either underspending or overspending on advertising revenue. “If 20 to 25 percent of annual sales happen in December, spend a similar percentage of the annual marketing budget during that time,” she says. Spending all the budget in December can negatively impact sales for the rest of the year, she adds. 


2. Start Early

“If you want your brand to be top of the mind in December, start advertising in September,” says Freshley. It’s a “fools’ game” to start advertising for Christmas business at Thanksgiving, he asserts. Freshley also emphasizes the importance of persistence. “Until the market has heard your ad at least seven times, they will not remember your brand name.” 


3. Use your Clients

“The best advertising is done by the people who really know their current and future customers,” shares Hill. When placing an ad in print, for example, current customers can help. “Magazine publishers do a good job of sharing their distribution demographics, but a business needs to do their end of the work by asking questions about print usage and analyzing the responses,” she says. She suggests asking customers what they read, how often they read it, and how long they save it. 


4. Use Print for the Big Picture

Print is far from dead. Says Hill, “It’s great for big, juicy images.” Considering most people are now consuming Internet content on their smartphones, the maximum image size is necessarily small, she explains. “When I want to convey a big visual idea that can get behind people's eyeballs and stay there for a while, I choose print.” 


5. Plan Prudently for Radio

Steinfurth loves radio for its versatility, but warns clients to be savvy when planning airtime. “Stay away from paying for all-day rotators—Monday to Sunday, 6 a.m. to 12 a.m. spots—which stations love to propose,” she says. They look good on paper because their rating points are averaged across the entire day, she explains. However, ads are likely to run during low listening periods and will reach fewer listeners than expected. 

When it comes to content, Hill suggests planning a series of radio advertisements. “I’m a big fan of using radio for a set of different but related messages. That way, you have a mix of 15-second and 30 -second (spots) that together tell a story,” she says, adding that spots with more than one voice and a conversational approach can be compelling and a good fit with the medium. 


6. Be Direct

Retailers should make their stores gift shopping destinations throughout the year, not only in December, according to Danziger. She suggests sending consistent and repeated direct mailings. “Develop a strong mailing list of regular customers, visitors to the shop, and add it to outside lists filtered by location and income selects.” 


7. Choose Quality

Buyers should bypass “free” commercials often offered as part of a cable station’s advertising package, says Hill. “They typically lack the strong copywriting and acting that today's commercials require,” she says. Instead, Hill suggests hiring professional writing and production talent, then distributing the commercial to TV stations when making a buy. “It does cost more, but a ‘free’ commercial that turns off your target audience costs a lot too.” 


8. Savor the Simplicity of a Billboard

“The billboard is like a Hershey’s Kiss, a wonderful bite of something that goes by fast but makes you happy for that moment,” says Hill. Unfortunately, advertisers often spoil the sweetness by creating giant versions of their magazine ads, she says. Instead, Hill urges jewelers to keep it simple, as viewers only have a few seconds to take in the ad.

When choosing a location, Steinfurth suggests targeting boards on busy roads leading to the store or near competitors’ stores. Also, “Do not depend on the photo sheets (provided by) outdoor sales reps showing a picture of the location and what traffic each board receives,” she warns. Instead, retailers should take the drive themselves to ensure any the billboard has good visibility.