Last updateTue, 07 Jul 2020 11pm

George Prout

Applied Marketing 101: The view from Croatia

Playing Diocletian’s Numbers Game

As I write this, I’m seated on an American Airlines flight from Dubrovnik to Philadelphia. I had travelled to Croatia to spend a week on a Leopard 45 catamaran out of the Croatian city of Split (about 130 miles north on the coast), but the huge masses of tourists thronging from America to Dubrovnik caused American to launch direct flights from Philly, so I decided to take advantage of the nonstop round-trip flight.

Applied Marketing 101: Becoming Zara: the critical merchandising transition from fast sellers to fast fashion

As I write this, I’m sitting in seat 13D on an American flight from Hong Kong to Los Angeles, having just completed an extremely fruitful product development trip to the Hong Kong Show. My annual trip to finalize the assortment for our Fall programs is always important, but this year, I have been especially focused, because a palpable shift has occurred in what’s working in the retail environment, and so I traveled to Hong Kong this time on a specific mission to significantly adjust our merchandising paradigms. I believe it’s inevitable that you will similarly need to do the same, as you react to some of the same factors, so I thought you might enjoy a look into the analytic process that I have used to develop the new strategy.

Applied Marketing 101: Maximizing the power of branded collections

One of my favorite professors at Brown was Dean Hazeltine, whose duties included teaching the only two courses offered in the business realm: Introduction to Management, and Introduction to Marketing. Hazeltine wasn’t a big believer in quizzes and term papers, so the entire grade for both courses came from the score on the final exam, which in the case of the Marketing class was a 24-hour take-home test based on a Case Study. And in 1975, the Case Study was a 36-page analysis of the highly publicized failure of a well-funded company in Boston that had unsuccessfully launched a brand of Lobsters (using a thought process parallel to the highly successful launch by Frank Perdue of chickens sold under the Perdue brand).

Applied Marketing 101: At last, a Christmas to remember!

On a Friday in late September of 2008, I used my three-hour drive home from New York City to call a group of close friends who owned jewelry stores and warn them that I was seeing extraordinary signs of an impending economic collapse, causing me to re-evaluate likely forecasts of Christmas sales in their stores. One of them chided me for being overly pessimistic, but promised to poll a group of about a dozen friends with whom she was having a getaway weekend to see how they were feeling about Christmas. She didn’t wait until Monday to report her findings. She actually called me in a panic that Saturday night to report that to her extreme alarm, every single one of them had simultaneously decided to put a halt on “extravagant” (read: Jewelry) Christmas purchases. Her subsequent sales that December were down over 40 percent, and average independent jewelry store sales were down about 35 percent nationally.

Applied Marketing 101: The Age of the Independent

Last month I experienced an epiphany. It happened when, for the first time in many years, I had a chance to buy Signet stock for 50 dollars a share. Having watched the inexorable rise in Signet’s sales, profits, and stock price over the years, under normal circumstances, I would have rushed to buy shares at such a heavily discounted price relative to historical earnings. But these are no longer “normal” times, and as I contemplated the likely trajectory of Signet’s future sales - in fact, the likely future trajectory of the majors in general - it suddenly occurred to me that for the first time in my life, I actually see a window opening that favors the independent jeweler.

Applied Marketing 101: Using Segmentation Strategy to weaponize your loose diamond business

Bridal is the most important category in your store. But if you’re like most jewelers, you’re still searching for the best method for maximizing sales and profit from your engagement ring department. Fortunately, the answer for how to accomplish your objective can be found in a fundamental marketing concept called Segmentation.

Applied Marketing 101 - The view from Hong Kong 2017

ProutGeorge Prout reports on his annual trip to identify trends for the 2017 holiday season 

As I write this, I’m in seat 11J on a Delta 777 flying from Shanghai to Detroit. I’m working on my first scotch, and am reminded of the fact that there are no finish lines in business - just new starting lines, and this year’s race to get ready for JCK will be especially intense.