Last updateThu, 22 Feb 2018 4pm

George Prout

Applied Marketing 101: The disappearance of the big spenders

As I write this, it’s the evening of December 22, and I’m on a train from New York City bound for home, several hours away. I spend the first 22 or so days of December each year at our office in Manhattan, monitoring our customers’ progress with our promotions, managing an enormous in-stock merchandise assortment (everything from $29 steel bracelets to $15,000 diamond Riviera necklaces), working on next year’s programs, and even occasionally answering the phones when we’re totally slammed with incoming reorders. We set all sorts of records this month, so as I now return home in a combined state of satisfaction and exhaustion, I have very high expectations for next year. But I’m also troubled by what I’ve been hearing all month. Something has changed, and I am now sensing that a fundamental alteration in consumer behavior may have taken place that bears examining.

Applied Marketing 101: 2013: The incipient arrival of the digital natives

As the nineteenth century drew to a close, scientists could reflect with satisfaction that they had discovered pretty much all of the mysteries of the physical world: electricity, magnetism, gases, optics, acoustics, kinetics, and statistical mechanics, to name just a few, had fallen in order before them. If a thing could be oscillated, accelerated, perturbed, distilled, combined, weighed, or made gaseous they had done it, and in the process produced a body of Universal Laws so weighty and majestic that we still write them out in capital letters: the Electromagnetic Field Theory of Light, Richter’s Law of Reciprocal Proportions, Charles’s Law of Gases, the Law of Mass Actions, among many others. Indeed, there was general agreement that scientific inquiry had essentially reached its final stages, to the extent that Lord Kelvin famously asserted, “There is nothing new remaining to be discovered. All that remains is more and more precise measurement.”

Applied Marketing 101: Using value and price to drive traffic (Part 2)

Last month, we examined the current state of the art in retail pricing strategies from a conceptual standpoint. Now, let’s take a pragmatic look at the question of how to use price and value to drive traffic in the jewelry retailing environment.

In order to understand how best to drive traffic, it’s useful to reconsider the classic definition of “marketing.” Increasingly, marketing needs to be seen as the act of paying the consumer to shop in your store. How much you’re willing to pay is important, but even more critical is the question of how you’re going to position your payment offer so that it sounds like a really good deal.

Applied Marketing 101: Using value and price to drive traffic (Part 1)

Anyone engaged in retail understands that in today’s environment, it’s hard to drive traffic without providing your target audience with a sense that you’re offering a terrific deal. But how do you create a sufficiently compelling offer without corrupting your margins? In this article and the next, we’re going to first examine this issue conceptually, and then offer some real world examples of how to put Price Theory into practice in the jewelry retailing environment.

Applied Marketing 101: The view from England

As a student of history, it has always seemed a bit surprising to me that American society has enjoyed such extraordinary tranquility, given the fact that our country was founded on two mutually incompatible principles: Liberty and Equality. There has always been a natural tension in our politics that arises from the fact that government initiatives that make us more free make us less equal, while conversely, those that make us more equal make us less free. The political lubricant allowing these contradictory principles to peacefully co-exist has been the uniquely Jeffersonian idea that the government’s power comes at the will of the people, such that we derive our individual rights not from the government, but rather from our humanity. And in turn, our government derives its power from the governed. 

Applied Marketing 101: A credit program that competes with the malls

For the past year, I’ve been investigating a new way of offering credit in retail jewelry stores that potentially represents an enormous breakthrough. The implications from the data we’ve been collecting in test stores are staggering, particularly in the Bridal sector. Just imagine how much your sales and profitability could increase if almost anyone who entered your store could obtain financing. For any student of jewelry retailing, universal access to credit represents the Holy Grail, and it looks like we have actually found it!

Applied Marketing 101: The view from Hong Kong

The Boeing 777 is a long-range, wide-body, twin-engine jet airliner manufactured by Boeing Commercial Airplanes.  As Boeing’s first fly-by-wire airliner, it has computer mediated controls; it is also the first entirely computer-designed commercial aircraft. In many ways, the 777 represents the ultimate expression of the art and science of aircraft manufacturing, which is a good thing, since as I write this, I am sitting in seat 4D, enjoying the first of what will likely be several glasses of champagne, on a Delta “Triple Seven” flight en route to Hong Kong.