Last updateThu, 22 Feb 2018 4pm

George Prout

Applied Marketing 101: Probability and the primate brain

Nearly everything in life, as well as in business, can be represented by mathematical models. Even if you’re uncomfortable with math, your brain still creates models for a variety of activities, and the decisions that you make are significantly influenced by this modeling behavior. We do this instinctively, since there were distinct evolutionary advantages for our ancestors who were able to correctly gauge the chances that food (a good thing) was just around the corner, or that a lion (a bad thing) was lying in the tall grass. Unfortunately, our capacity for correctly gauging the probability of the occurrence of good or bad things is skewed by the way our primate brains are wired, which in some cases diminishes our ability to understand and anticipate the likely outcome of certain actions.

The Sword of Damocles

Of the many Greek and Roman political philosophers whose writings provided the foundation for modern-day democracy, Marcus Tullius Cicero, who lived during the time of Julius Caesar, was one of the most influential. As a rhetorician and orator, Cicero was without peer, but he was also a superb storyteller. And one of his stories, about a courtier named Damocles, provides an elegant object lesson for those of us who live in these very peculiar times.

Applied Marketing 101: An empirical approach to December reorders

In the late 1800s, an economist named Vilfredo Pareto undertook a ground breaking study of the distribution of wealth in Italian society. He found, unsurprisingly, that eighty percent of the wealth was concentrated in the hands of twenty percent of the population. He was subsequently amazed when, in conducting similar studies of other European countries, he found that each, regardless of their political system, evidenced precisely the same allocation of personal assets. This universal pattern in the distribution of wealth became known as Pareto’s Law.

Applied Marketing 101: In search of an effective private label credit program

How important is access to credit in the average consumer’s jewelry purchasing decision? If you study the data, you will discover that about half of all the jewelry bought by Americans is purchased using an in-house financing plan. So it stands to reason that any jewelry retailer who is interested in increasing revenues would benefit from the introduction of a strong private label credit card program. In fact, you’d think that an effective credit program would, for many stores, be a huge game changer.  But if you poll independent jewelers, it’s actually pretty hard to find one that is happy with their store credit program, and some don’t even bother to promote the availability of financing, because their personal experience with approval rates is so poor that the whole idea seems like a lost cause.

Applied Marketing 101: The Chocolates are coming!

One of my favorite aspects of my job at Gems One is directing our global product development team. In this role, it’s my task to try to guess what consumers will be asking for, months in advance, so that we can make it, shelf stock it, and produce advertising materials for our customers to help them connect with the trend, at exactly the right time. In this context, I thought you might be interested to see an analysis of what’s likely to happen for the upcoming Holiday Season.

Applied Marketing 101: A foolproof method for increasing your bridal business

In times like these, the only sure path to sales and profits in the retail jewelry business is Bridal, so I emphatically urge you to focus your efforts on growing that portion of your business. Fortunately, there is a very specific course of action you can take this Fall that will seed your Bridal business for next year. Even better, this course of action is self-funding (in fact, it creates incremental sales and profits, in addition to expanding your customer base), so you’ll actually make money while creating next year’s Bridal customer base.

Applied Marketing 101: How Neurophysiology impacts advertising effectiveness

In recent years, marketing practitioners have been making great strides in understanding how the brain receives, stores, and reacts to advertising messages. I’m fascinated by this field of inquiry, because it opens potential new windows into how best to construct advertising strategies. The background information is a little too involved to address in a brief article, but I think you might enjoy a look at a recent study of how the brain works in this context.