Advertising, is it gambling or investment?


The reason for this is that I equate a need to advertise with a
failing company, higher than necessary prices and probably shoddy

I have to respectfully disagree with your entire post. I’m sorry but
Tiffany’s is not a failing company and does not produce shoddy work,
nor do I. We’ve both been advertising for years, as have, quite
literally hundreds of thousands of companies worldwide, the vast
majority of whom are not failing. Advertising does work. It may not
always be necessary, and in an ideal world everyone who wanted work
like mine would know where to find me, but it does work and it can
absolutely increase your business. The fact that a company can be run
without advertising does not mean it couldn’t do better with
advertising and the fact that it advertises does not mean it’s a
crappy company. And quite frankly, the number of small companies who
fail despite having a good product or idea (often because they can’t
reach their target audience) is astronomical.

This is, after all, the 21st century. Things have changed and
markets need to be created. In simpler times it might have been
possible to be the local jeweler, but how do you do that now when
there are ten local jewelers and not just the one? Is it possible to
run a nice small company without advertising? Sure. But you come set
up shop in my city, pay my rents and expenses and then tell me that
you don’t need to advertise, regardless of how good, bad or
indifferent your product is, in order to survive.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC

You know, it's no longer necessary to say "50% of my advertising
budget is wasted, I just don't know which half." Google adwords are
measurable. If an ad is not working, you can see that, and you
change it. You can see exactly your click through rate. 

Sure, that and $1 will get me a McChicken sandwich at McDonald’s.
When my landlord starts accepting click-throughs for my rent payment,
maybe I’ll be a little more excited. :wink:

My point is that, while a LACK of click-through’s definitely shows a
failure of advertising, a million aren’t a success unless they
actually increase sales.

Lee Cornelius
Vegas Jewelers


Right on - and knowing what it is that you really want, and are
genuinely good at. Huge numbers of businesses do very well up to a
certain size, then overexpand and implode. They reach a point that
is past what they can handle, whether in terms of logistics, finding
suitable employees, keeping a handle on costs, whatever.

Be honest with your self about what you want, are, and can do. Then
stay within those parameters.

You’ll be a much happier camper!

Beth Wicker
Three Cats and a Dog Design Studio

Be honest with your self about what you want, are, and can do.
Then stay within those parameters. 

I absolutely agree… I’m just not sure about the advertising part.
In 7 years we have spent a LOT of bucks advertising and most of it
did absolutely nothing for bringing in clients. We didn’t over extend
ourselves, we over-expand, and we have not yet imploded. Advertising
is a total “hit and mostly miss” experience. I find that word of
mouth, is much better.

once when i had my first shop in black mountain north carolina a
friend who had been to business school told me he had learned from
his classes and studies that a business person should expect 10 times
what they spend in advertising to come back to them as sales,
following this rule $100 spent on ads should bring $1000? i have
never seen this happen for me.

best regards goo

For almost 50 years my father ran a very successful business
without ever advertising once! More business than the company could
cope with came just from word-of-mouth recommendations. 

I am reading now notes from Amazon shareholder meeting. To quote Jeff
Bezos “advertising is the price business pays for having boring
product or service”.

Leonid Surpin

My point is that, while a LACK of click-through's definitely shows
a failure of advertising, a million aren't a success unless they
actually increase sales. 


Living on an island focuses advertising quite well. There are for
ever reps walking in selling advertising. And I have tried them all,
over the years.

Hotels, art magazines, fliers, newspapers, tv, postboxes,radio
street signs etc etc. That is the gamble part.

And after all was said and done only ONE worked for me. A magazine
called Destination, which is an in flight magazine put in the
aircraft for tourists to read on their way to St Maarten. Captive
market and all that. And that is the investment part. And here is the
strange thing.

There are about 50 other jewellers advertising in it as well. All
the big boys, Cartier, Guchi Yurman, that kind. And lil’ 'ol

It costs me $12,000 per year for one page only. Luckily, I get a
right hand page. Very important, that. The eye falls naturally on a
right hand page.

Never advertise on a left hand page.

As they say in Afrikaans “Ek poep bakstene vir dit” ( I am not
translating that, but it’s something to do with bricks:) But I make
money back in the first month or so after publication. So it pays me.

And I stand out from the rest because I make different jewellery.
Make it. Not resell it.

My inexpert opinion is that if you advertise, advertise something

No same old same old.
Works for me.
Cheers, Hans

The reason for this is that I equate a need to advertise with a
failing company, higher than necessary prices and probably shoddy
work. Any company which produces good work or a good product and
satisfies its customers will have a waiting list of customers... 

Well, by that way of thinking McDonalds, Sony, Motorola, all the
banks, all the restaurants, all the department stores - including
Tiffany’s and Macy’s and Sak’s - are all shoddy. I really have a
problem with that!

Sorry, but unless you are only interested in a very limited local
customer base, you need to advertise to inform possible customers
that you even exist; to remind them that you exist, and maybe it is
worth their while to take a few minutes longer to reach you; that you
offer something they would like to have and hadn’t thought of.

I do business with businesses all over the world - and if they
didn’t advertise, I would never know most of them even existed. One
example is Orchid’s own Ahmed Shareek with Crescent Gems - if he
didn’t advertise, I would have had no way of knowing he existed, and
would have missed out on both some wonderful stones and an internet

A gallery owner was telling me this morning that studies show you
should be spending 47% of your efforts on marketing. Interesting.

Beth Wicker
Three Cats and a Dog Design Studio

To quote Jeff Bezos "advertising is the price business pays for
having boring product or service". 

This is a very dangerous comment! While it is true, it is also true
that advertising can make all the difference. Even exciting products
don’t always just sell themselves by word of mouth. Some businesses
are fortunate that they can prosper without paid advertising. But
some businesses stagnate because they never advertise. Would you
exhibit at a trade fair or an arts festival that didn’t advertise?
It must be really boring, otherwise they wouldn’t advertise. No, that
is not the way it works. If someone takes this glib and dismissive
comment to heart and rules out advertising as an option when they
really need it, that is bad advice. Advertising should be a business
decision. Unfortunately it is far to often driven by vanity. Don’t
let vanity make you think that advertising is some kind of a badge
of mediocrity. Yes, the comment above is very true, but it does not
automatically follow that an exciting product won’t sell even better
with good advertising.

For those on a tight budget or just starting out, public relations in
the form of newspaper articles, tv news segiments, taking part in
local charity auctions, and, of course, encouraging referrals and
word-of-mouth advertising are more “sweat equity” than dollar costs
and are pure gold.

Remember that all the local media has to fill an enourmous amount of
space/time each week and if you can give them an interesting story -
they’ll love it. Send them a press release or feature suggestion via
the mail or fax, not by email. Cost $0.44 a piece to send - results
can be priceless. Unfortunately, email doesn’t work so well for this
purpose and you need to put a piece of paper in the editor’s hand.

The best, most realistic, how-to for low cost / no cost advertising
that I’ve ever come across is Jay Conrad Levinson, called “Guerrilla
Marketing: Easy and Inexpensive Strategies for Making Big Profits
from Your Small Business”, now in its 4th revision (I think). There
are a ton of this author’s books but this is the most intelligent and
relevant to jewelry designers & galleries.

Almost any library has one of the revisions or can get it or buy it
at your local bookstore - and be sure to tell the clerk about your

Ray Gabriel
Since 1975 - Gems to excite your imagination! ™

Hi Daniel,

I'm sorry but Tiffany's is not a failing company and does not
produce shoddy work, nor do I.....................Advertising does
work. It may not always be necessary, and in an ideal world everyone
who wanted work like mine would know where to find me 

I did not mean my post as an attack on anyone. Tiffany’s has a long
and proud reputation which is largely based on customer service and
innovation. One would have to wonder whether they would still be in
business if advantage had not been taken of the French Revolution and
the association with P.T. Barnum. Obviously their success in the
French Exposition of 1878 played a major part in the company’s
and whilst in some terms this could be considered as advertising, it
was a one-off and not as we would think of advertising today. The
point is that the company flourished because it produced beautiful
and reliable goods and looked after its customers well. Once it had
broken into the ‘Royal’ market its reputation spread by word of mouth
with each piece jewellery acting as its own very effective

This, then really proves the point that I was trying to make and
which you, in fact, reiterated - that, in most cases, a good product
and good customer service make advertising unnecessary. Without these
foundations no amount of advertising will bring repeat business and
without repeat business, any company will soon founder.

Best wishes,

Sheffield UK

In 7 years we have spent a LOT of bucks advertising and most of it
did absolutely nothing for bringing in clients. 

Perhaps the advertising you were doing wasn’t being done right. There
has to be a very clear, concise, repeated message for it to work
usually. Over a 20 plus year period of advertising, we never changed
the basic format or message. It was always the same: An interesting
headline, a picture of our work that dominates the ad and our logo.
It worked because we showed what we did best: jewelry that wasn’t
like everyone else’s. If you spread yourself around and keep changing
your medium you get less focused. We did try various other media, but
found that for the times, print in our local paper worked best so
that’s what we stuck with. Even though we are currently moving our
focus into online advertising, we still won’t stop the print ads
entirely. And hey, just yesterday I sold a $6000 ring to someone who
came in because of the print ads. They live a good 30 miles from my
town. Can’t beat that for proof it works.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC

I have read many of the replies on this thread but not all, so
forgive me if I am repeating others. Advertising is a very important
part of any business today, new or old. If your ads look cheap then
you look cheap, if you put out nice looking ads it gives you the
same upscale look of your ads. When I opened my gallery I was nobody
in town, I knew 20 people, these 20 people were not going to keep me
open. I used advertising to create the image I wanted and the
difference of my store vs the others in town. It worked, all these
opinions against advertising being bad, are wrong. (in my opinion)
Many site the old timers who never advertised, my father was one of
those, there were 4 stores in town when I was growing up, when I
took over the new mall was built and there were 26 places selling
jewelry in the same town with the same population. What works for one
might not work for the other, if you are selling upscale you
advertise in upscale mags, do mailouts to the nicer homes, don’t do
lots of little ads and spread your money out. Do nice size ads in one
or two areas, personally I do not like the newspaper. Advertising
opened the door to articles written about the me and the gallery,
getting my jewelry in ads, etc etc etc. I have had people walk by the
store stop and come in because they realized it was the store they
saw the ad or story of in a magazine. People walk into my store
because it is more of an art gallery than a jewelry store and I only
keep 20 to 25 artist at a time so my store is not crammed full of

Also you getting out in the public is advertising, I never spent
money on expensive meals except for special occasions but part of our
ad budget was getting out where the local people hung out. We went to
nice restaurants with bar areas where we would meet people, we went
to wine tastings and fundraisers just to be seen. We sent thank you
notes to every customer, we invited them to special events with nice
invitations and they love it. We have pulled back now after 2 years
of hitting it hard just to see how it goes and regroup with what is
next for this holiday season. I think it was Tom Peters in one of his
books from years ago that said if you do not keep in touch with your
customers someone else will, and it is true.

Hans in his post talked about his ad in the flight mag, it puts him
on the same scale with the big boys and that is what the buyer wants.
His image just went up with the ad, I am changing that to his image
was just MADE with the ad. Because with the first time tourist to the
island he did not have an image and they most likely would pass his
store, but just like with me they see the store and remember the ad,
or come in with the ad just to see the piece.

My last statement Beware of all the advertising experts who have
never advertised.

Bill Wismar

that a business person should expect 10 times what they spend in
advertising to come back to them as sales, following this rule $100
spent on ads should bring $1000? 

Actually this is what you should expect (or hope for at least) and it
can happen. When we started our ad campaign in the early 90’s, the
first year of running ads was like throwing money down the toilet.
The second and third years, not one single day went by that someone
didn’t come in from the ads and buy something. Not one single day.
And we saw a return of 10 to 1 for what we were spending. After that
it calms down a bit, but you have to remember something else. When
someone comes in and says they found you because of word of mouth, it
is entirely possible that the referral came from someone who came in
because of the advertising. All of it works together. You have to
have a focused clear message, repeated over and over for it to work,
but it can work.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC

Obviously their success in the French Exposition of 1878 played a
major part in the company's success and whilst in some terms this
could be considered as advertising 

While by today’s standards this might not be considered advertising
it most assuredly was at that time. Tiffany’s has always tended to
stay somewhat ahead of the curve on all of its advertising.

that, in most cases, a good product and good customer service make
advertising unnecessary. Without these foundations no amount of
advertising will bring repeat business and without repeat business,
any company will soon founder.

So if this is the case, then why exactly does Tiffany’s keep
advertising (and we’re talking about tens of millions of dollars of
advertising each year)? Because they like to support the local
advertising community? I don’t think so. They keep advertising
because despite their customer service and their product it is a
NECESSARY part of doing business. Advertising can come in many forms
but it should always be a relevant part of any ongoing business
concern (remember that just having interesting business cards is part
of advertising).

You personally, Ian, might not respond to advertising but a whole
lot of people out there do. And it is a critical part of any
business. And by the way, here’s the difference between you and I
when it comes to all self promotion/advertising. When obnoxious
salesmen come into MY store, I try to turn them into customers. You
just get rude with them (sorry your own words here). I think of
everyone who walks into my store as a potential owner of my jewelry.
Even those in the trade already. Because you just never know where
your next dollar will come from.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC

I’ve never verified this statement, but I’ve heard it from several
different folks in different businesses about advertising.
Advertising once or twice is a waste of money. For advertising to be
effective the same add should be repeated at least 3 times. Seems it
has something to do with how we retain info as humans.


For advertising to be effective the same add should be repeated at
least 3 times. 

Actually the figure that I learned from Jay Levinson’s guerrilla
marketing books was that it needed to be seen 27 times! It takes an
average of 9 viewings for a customer to respond to your ads. But they
only see it once every 3 times it runs. Therefore you need to run it
27 times. Coincidentally when we started print advertising we ran ads
every other week in our Sunday Boston Globe Magazine section. Didn’t
do a thing for the first year (that would be about 26 times). Then it
kicked in. And it worked, and worked, and worked.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC

Interesting article in the NY Times [] on online
advertising, data mining, etc.:

ON a recent Thursday, Darren Herman, the president of Varick
Media Management, was sequestered in his SoHo office. He wasn't
scrutinizing a television ad or images from a photo shoot. He
was combing through graphs and Excel spreadsheets. 

Mr. Herman had run 27 ads on the Web for his client Vespa, the
scooter company. Some were rectangular, some square. And the
text varied: One tagline said, "Smart looks. Smarter purchase,"
and displayed a $0 down, 0 percent interest offer. Another read,
"Pure fun. And function," and promoted a free T-shirt. 

Vespa's goal was to find out whether a financial offer would
attract customers, and Mr. Herman's data concluded that it did.
The $0 down offer attracted 71 percent more responses from one
group of Web surfers than the average of all the Vespa ads,
while the T-shirt offer drew 29 percent fewer. And Mr. Herman
didn't just compare the messages in the ads he also looked at
the sites where they ran, when they ran and what groups of
people responded. 

From the "Mad Men" era until now, advertising has been about a
catchy tagline, an arresting image, the Big Idea. But Mr. Herman
and his competitors are bringing some Wall Street-like analysis
to Madison Avenue, exploiting the huge amounts of data produced
by the Internet to adjust strategy almost instantly. 

"It's putting numbers to an industry that never had numbers
before," says Mr. Herman, 27, who started and sold three media
and technology companies before founding Varick last summer.
"It's nice to be able to tell your brand manager or the chief
marketing officer which audience is interacting with the unit,
what time of day, what day of the week, and what the response is
on certain types of offers. Before, nobody could really tell you

This approach turns marketing "upside down," says Ron Proleika,
the vice president of marketing communications at Windstream
Communications, an Internet service provider and a client of Mr.
Herman's. "It forces marketers to stay on their toes and think
of thousands of small great ideas instead of one great big one." 

Major advertising holding companies like WPP, the Publicis
Groupe, Havas, MDC Partners and the Interpublic Group are
starting data practices, hoping to latch onto what is expected
to be the fastest-growing category of online advertising in the
next five years. 

Where the data guys were once an afterthought in a marketing
presentation, now they are at the core of the online strategy.
What's more, they can help advertisers save money in traditional
media by testing different phrases or images online to see what
works before producing an expensive television commercial or
magazine ad. Who attracts more clicks in a grape juice ad, for
example the blond girl or the brown-haired boy? 

The shift to data-based campaigns is forcing marketers to learn
new skills and drawing a new breed of worker to Madison Avenue.
While most data executives now in the field came from media
backgrounds, they are recruiting Wall Street math geniuses
because the job requires hourly adjustments in strategy based on

Mr. Herman is trying to hire people from Citigroup and Bank of
America, and he hopes that the layoffs in the financial industry
will help him do it on the cheap. 

"It mirrors the financial markets in many ways," he says, so
"that's where we go." 

Still, getting advertising agency employees to rely on data is
difficult, agencies say. And as people trained on Wall Street
migrate to Madison Avenue, executives anticipate battles between
creative types and wonks. 

Traditional ad agencies still don't have budgets that allow for
a lot of digital experimentation, Mr. Herman says. He notes that
most traditional agencies "make the bulk of their money in
print, radio and television." 

So even as this area becomes increasingly technology-driven, old
ways of doing business and clients reluctant to embrace
radically new approaches mean that the advertising culture won't
change overnight. 

"At the end of the day," Mr. Herman says, "the entire process
isn't digital because our clients aren't." 

UNTIL the Internet, advertising required heavy research at the
front and back ends. Millions of dollars went into television
and print ads, so the advertisers had to get the idea right
before they produced one. Determining the effectiveness of those
ads was hard. It required follow-up surveys and interviews. And
once advertisers began a campaign, they were locked into it they
usually booked TV spots four months before the season began, for
instance, and even if a show tanked, they couldn't always abort
their plans. 

"In the olden days, the consequences of planning were great, so
we'd spend nine months before air date" doing research, says
Barry Lowenthal, the president of the Media Kitchen, a media
planning and buying company that, like Varick, is a unit of MDC
Partners. "Then, nine months after we'd been running the ad,
we'd finally figure out whether it was working or not." 

Online, though, advertisers get instant measurements and can
make instant changes to a media plan. 

Varick and its handful of competitors cement their strategies
around a system called exchanges, a mechanism that helps online
publishers like or sell ad space. While
publishers have some ad space no company would bid on in advance
few advertisers would book a random Yahoo mail page, for
instance publishers still want to show an ad when someone loads
that page. So the publishers let an ad exchange like Right
Media, from Yahoo, or DoubleClick Advertising Exchange, from
Google, sell that space instantly, through an electronic
auction, and get a cut of sales. 

Such random, seemingly unwanted space could be virtually
worthless. But because ad agencies can now use multiple sources
to gather very specific demographic data about visitors, such
space gains value and can be brokered on an exchange. 

Among the sources agencies rely on for data-mining is
gathered from other sites. Imagine that every time
someone entered a store while shopping, she received a stamp on
her hand. By the time she got to Macy's, the clerk could see she
had visited Williams-Sonoma and Home Depot and could direct her
to housewares. A similar principle is followed online. 

When someone visits a site like Expedia or, that
site captures valuable Someone is a first-class
traveler, for instance, or shopping for a hybrid car. Those
sites have deals with data companies, like, to place a so-called
cookie a small text file on that visitor's hard drive,
indicating those preferences. An advertiser like Varick bids on
those cookies, instructing an exchange that it will pay a
certain amount for an ad when a certain cookie is for sale. 

Other companies, like Media6Degrees and 33Across, analyze the
world of social media, using cookies and interaction data to
find "lookalike" groups among friends on Facebook, Flickr or
other social sites. Their theory is that friends share values
and are likely to respond to similar marketing messages. 

Finally, companies can add cookies for anyone who visits pages
on their sites if someone gets to the checkout page, then
abandons his shopping cart, the company will probably pay lots
of money to advertise to him again. 

This combination real-time data and ad exchanges has monetized
what was once considered throwaway space online. ThinkEquity, a
research firm, estimated that advertising based around Web
publishers' extra space brought in $4.1 billion in 2008, up 32
percent from 2007, and it expects it to be the highest-growth
segment of the online advertising market between now and 2013,
outpacing even search. (It is still a small part, however, of
what ZenithOptimedia, a media agency, estimates to be the
overall $487 billion advertising market.) 

All this tracking has raised privacy concerns. Some privacy
advocates have asked Congress and the Federal Trade Commission
to investigate the issue, seeking clear policies about sensitive
data, more on the way companies are tracking
consumers and options for consumers to avoid online tracking. 

So far, the commission has recommended that the industry police
itself. But Jon Leibowitz, one of the commissioners, warned in
February that the industry needed to do a better job or face new
laws and regulations. 

Without much regulation, says Michael Brunick, vice president
and media technology director for Cadreon, a competitor of
Varick's, "the data game right now is a little bit of the Wild

WITH so much to trade on, several advertising firms
are creating their own data-based practices. 

"We have, over the last year or so, gotten more and more
interested in the ways that you can use data to make advertising
more effective online," says Matt Greitzer, the vice president
of search marketing and auction-based media at Razorfish, which
is building its exchange group. 

In addition to what an ad should say, and where and when it
should run, advertisers have to figure out how much each ad, or
"impression," is worth. The data helps them do that. "You're
making, in some cases, real-time decisions about how much to pay
for a specific impression," Mr. Greitzer says. 

In a simple example, if an advertiser knew that his ads
attracted more clicks on than on, he would pay more when space was auctioned for
the first site. 

Edward Montes, the managing director for North America at Havas
Digital, who oversees its exchange group, says that his data
analysts are "basically looking for anything that affects
performance any time they find variance in the matter of how the
media performs, that's what they go in and exploit, and that's
what the exchanges are perfectly set up to do." 

As data executives continue to build on their research, this
arena could resemble Wall Street even moRe: yield managers could
hedge their purchases, buy futures to lock in prices and use
other trading strategies. And this type of sophisticated testing
and trading will require changes in clients' attitudes. 

Mediabrands, a unit of the Interpublic Group, has been quietly
running a data practice called Cadreon for nine months that it
soon plans to roll out more publicly. In addition to buying
standard Web site ad space, Cadreon also buys mobile
advertising, online video slots and, soon, spots on digital
billboards and other new media. 

Traditionally, marketers allocate certain amounts of money for
each medium. Quentin George, the interim chief executive of
Cadreon and the chief digital officer of Mediabrands, says
Cadreon instead would base its strategy on the audience, not the

For a campaign it's now running for a technology client, Cadreon
bought data on visitors to Web sites of the client's
competitors. It divided them into groups that its client already
used to segment existing customers offline like new parents,
gamers or designers. 

By examining clicks and other data, Cadreon determined the
demographic profile of groups that were most interested in the
ads. In this particular campaign, new parents responded at high
rates so Cadreon emphasized pitching ads online to that group. 

As more ads are bought and sold through exchanges, it could
transform the ad marketplace. "It is foreseeable that you can go
into the system, select an audience and not know whether you are
ultimately buying" a cellphone ad or a video ad on a Web site
like Hulu, Mr. George says. "That's a very, very big change."

When I talk to advertising salespeople that are very excited about
how sure they are that their program will produce results or me, I
ask if they will guarantee to produce the results they expect to
produce for me. No further discussion is attempted by them.

Richard Hart G.G.
Jewelers Gallery

When I talk to advertising salespeople that are very excited about
how sure they are that their program will produce results or me, I
ask if they will guarantee to produce the results they expect to
produce for me. 

I usually tell them that if they will run the ads free for me for a
year and prove it works that I will guarantee a two year buy after
that BUT I only do that with media that I already KNOW doesn’t work
for me.

It seems I am one of the few small potatoes out there who believes
fervently in advertising and uses it successfully so I’m going to
talk a little more about it.

  1. Get some professional help, at least initially, if you want to
    pursue a long term campaign. Once we had read all the Guerilla
    Marketing books (and a few others) and decided that we wanted to do
    the advertising campaign, we hired a woman to come in and help us get
    the initial ideas and overall look together. At that point, I
    certainly wasn’t a marketer, I was a jeweler. I needed someone to
    help who knew advertising. Once we got the campaign going, we were
    able to stop using her services (in part because we were sticking
    with only one concept for so long)

  2. Be prepared for the long term. If you think that you’ll see
    results after running one or two ads and that if you don’t you’re
    going to stop and try something else, don’t bother running the first
    ones because it will be a waste of money. All advertising is a long
    term proposition. Every new media we tried we would only go into for
    the long term. We tried running in a lot of small suburban newspapers
    at one point. They didn’t work for us, BUT we ran ads in them for
    over a year to find out. Same with radio. We tried it for a
    significant period of time and it simply didn’t work. So you need to
    be prepared to spend some significant money to see the results.

  3. Every area is different and different types of advertising will
    work in them. I have friends in Vermont who were able to run a very
    successful radio campaign. But they were able to do it for about one
    tenth the cost of what I would have paid. Consequently their returns
    didn’t need to be as high. A jeweler I know in the South did very
    well with a billboard leading into her somewhat medium/small
    community. But in my area it costs upwards of $10,000/month to rent a
    billboard, which makes it prohibitive for someone like me. The
    Internet is everywhere, but you still need to work it so that people
    find you when they do a search in your area.

  4. While the “media pundits” claim you need to spend 2-3% of your
    gross advertising, I think you need to spend more than that,
    especially initially. I think a better range is 5-10% and I think you
    need to spend at least 5-10% of what you WANT your gross to be, not
    what it is now. So if you want to do a million dollars a year, I
    would encourage you to spend at least $50,000 per year on ads
    initially. Once established, it is possible to cut back as people
    think they see you whether or not you’re there. We routinely get
    people in the store who swear to me that they see my Sunday Globe
    ads every single week, even though there have only been one or two
    years in the last 18 that we have actually run close to that many.
    Currently I’m only running one a month and they still come in and
    tell me that.

  5. Pick a look and use it over and over and over again. Consistency
    is critical. If you change your ad formats every month, no one will
    recognize them. If you frequently change your logo, your type face,
    etc. no one will know it’s the same company. And…the jewelry you
    use in your pictures (assuming that’s what you’re doing) should be
    consistent in styling, at least until your ads are recognizable. I
    make and show a wide range of jewelry in my shop, but the stuff that
    is always in my pictures is the stuff that is more immediately
    recognizable as my work (even on my website). HOWEVER make sure your
    ads, whatever the format, can be tweaked a little. When we decided we
    weren’t selling enough diamonds/engagement rings, we went to Lazare
    Diamonds and got permission to get advertising coop dollars from them
    for our own ads. Then we added in their logo on the bottom, and ran
    a whole series of ads with diamond rings/earrings with similar
    headlines to what we already used but all related around diamonds and
    Lazare’s own phrasing. Boosted our diamond sales significantly at the
    time we ran them.

  6. If you are going to run ads in an expensive media (magazines,
    large newspapers) get a professional photographer. I know that
    digital cameras and a bunch of new developments in set ups that you
    can use on your own (Cloud Domes, etc.) have made it seem a whole lot
    easier to take pictures that sort of look professional, but trust me,
    when you’re up against the big boys you need your pictures to
    absolutely POP on the page. There is another local jeweler who is a
    friend of mine who runs ads in the same media we do. But all he ever
    does is complain about how he just doesn’t make any money from them.
    He’s a wonderful, creative, extremely talented jeweler but his
    photographs (which he takes) just suck. You can’t tell what the
    picture is of often and on top of that he clutters up the ads with
    writing that goes over the pictures often, making them even more
    impossible to visualize.

  7. Concerned about all the expenses involved? Talk to everyone you
    do business with about trading for their work. You’d be surprised at
    how many will at least do partial trades. Plus then you have another
    person wearing your work.

I know advertising isn’t for everyone. My long lost twin,
Neilthejeweler, doesn’t do any and he’s doing just fine BUT he’s in a
smaller community (he will stand out more easily) and he’s got a shop
that’s a little off the beaten path (lower expenses). Many of you
will say you’re doing fine without it. The only question then is, can
you do better with it? If your long term goal is to retire young (or
even retire) you need to have a store that is a) making a reasonable
amount of money that you can save heavily from over the years or b)
that is easily saleable to someone—but that can only happen if it
isn’t solely dependent on you for sales, which usually means you need
to grow the business somehow.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC