12.10.2009

Behind the Scenes: Planning Ahead with a Jewelry Marketing Calendar

princess frog prince silver charm disney jewelryFrog Prince, Beth Hemmila (Hint Jewelry):
fine silver frog prince charm

A couple of weeks ago, I caught one of Disney's promos for The Princess and the Frog opening in movie theaters December 11th. If someone had snapped a photo of me it would have looked a lot like a woman panicking as she watched her plane take off without her. How could I have missed this cool opportunity to launch my Frog Prince charm alongside a Disney film?

Business takes planning and in this Behind the Scenes blog feature I'm going to offer some insight into how I have developed a seasonal marketing calendar to keep me more on track. This calendar is a work in progress, so if you have experience that can help me as well as others understand how to keep your business in step with the seasons I'd love to hear more.

It all started this summer, when I began reading my Etsy emails and noticed that they had started an aggressive campaign of merchandising using seasonal themes. Remember I'm not business savvy, so duh a light bulb went off, there must be a calendar out there that stores use to plan their marketing strategy for the whole year. I never found a calendar online that completely made sense to me, but Jerry Smith, Beads & JSBeads.com compiled some great ideas on how to get started on a marketing calendar.

I drew up a document that sketched out month by month what I should doing. There are three main categories of work that I need to focused on:

1. Launching and fabricating seasonal charms.
2. Designing and marketing seasonal jewelry.
3. Designing stamp molds for future charms.

By understanding how long it takes to make charms, design jewelry, and photograph work, I began to see a pattern. I should always be working at least two months ahead on fabricating and designing jewelry and for marketing seasonal themes, I should be working at least one month ahead. Here's an example of a project plan for January 2010:

JANUARY

Holidays
New Year's Day
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Lunar New Year
Lincoln's Birthday

Fabrication & Design: March
Fabricate spring charm & jewelry collection
Plan bridal collection

Marketing Campaign: February
January 1 - February 13: Valentines charm & jewelry collection
Chinese New Year's charms and Pisces charm

For each month, I went through my desk calendar and noted all the holidays in my merchandising plan, so if I see a connection to one of my charms or jewelry designs I can use it for tagging and marketing.

As you can see this calendar could become more complex as my business grows, including key dates for submitting ads, magazine designs, and applications for jewelry shows. This year I'm starting simple and noting where I may need to make adjustments.

All this work on my jewelry marketing calendar, and I didn't account for popular culture. This is where my Frog Prince charm fell through the cracks. Ironically, Frog Prince is one of the first stamp molds I created, but the silver charm has never seen the light of day because he needs to be redesigned. All the little details like his crown and froggy feet need to be enlarged so they are more successfully rendered using a rubber stamp mold.

This year I have been stepping away from popular culture: hiding out in my studio, watching less TV, and reading fewer magazines. Nevertheless, it seems sensible that when you fully define your audience, you need to stay in touch by following at least one form of media. The focus of my business is still a bit scattered, and I haven't fully defined my audience. So understanding my market is one area growth for 2010.

To learn more check out my Behind the Scenes series, where I explore making jewelry, designing metal clay charms, and running an online business.

12 comments:

  1. you know, for a woman who claims to be not very business savvy you tend to blow my mind with how savvy you really are! the projects and plans you share all belie a very balanced mind - your left brain certainly can go toe-to-toe with your right brain! i have had to start thinking of these things as well... i will admit, i have a hard time designing warm weather items in the cold and vice versa... i seem to be really connected to my world and don't function well in a land of projection... a goal... but we should all have them, for that is what keep us moving forward, right?
    thanks, as always for opening my eyes to the many facets of your world - both business and art...
    you are aware that hp & the deathly hallows pt. 1 will be released in 2010, right? and of course - tim burton's alice... that is going to be released in march (for the march hare i am guessing)...
    beth, you must must must make a cheshire cat face!! you have a rabbit, perhaps a bottle for the charms? or a hat for the mad hatter (who will be johnny depp and no doubt a very popular figure)... xo

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  2. Working ahead, what a concept!! I really need to get on this planning and producing program. Thanks for the info!

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  3. Great point and something to incorporate in my to do's!

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  4. I have to thank you again for sharing. You are such an inspiration to me. I've been struggling with finding and keeping up momentum with my work. Seeing your beautiful creations and learning from your business knowledge is giving me the kick in the pants I need. I think creating a calendar for myself as you describe will get me on a kind of schedule and looking forward. Thank you Beth!

    p.s. the frog prince is adorable!

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  5. thank you for sharing your plans! I have done this too, but usually I get carried away by orders that roll in unexpectedly and blowing my plans into pieces... However, it is very helpful to see your lists and schedules all at once, for whole year :)

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  6. great blog post, thank you sooo much. I never thought about a marketing calendar before, and it seems like big 'opportunities' seem to pass me by as I wasn't prepared enough, but would have been if I thought a few months in advance, thanks!

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  7. Glad this is helping people organize their business!

    Mary Jane, I had forgotten Harry Potter was coming out in 2010 and just saw the ad for Alice in Wonderland last night :) Looks really cool!

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  8. Thanks for sharing this great information.
    I don't think of your business as being scattered at all; you are very saavy and an inspiration and your work is very unique.
    The calendar idea is great idea, I've never thought of that.
    Can't wait to see what the future holds. Much more success to you!

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  9. Your posts continue to be so helpful. I have only been on etsy since April, so my marketing is a work in progress. I took a long time to make the decision to get on etsy but when I did I had an identity, logo, and cards. I read an article about branding and how important it is for customers to make a connection with your name. I also visited etsy shops a lot before I opened mine, and took note of what my favorite shops were and why. The common theme that appeared was great photos with simple backgrounds that were not too busy or cluttered. I also preferred shops with products that have a common theme, it gets confusing when I see jewelry and purses in the same shop. This prompted me to open a bead and jewelry shop right from the start which I think saved some time and customer confusion down the road.
    I love your photos and the simplicity of your backgrounds. Thank you for continuing to be so generous, a marketing calendar is definitely in my future.

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  10. Sandra, glad this calendar idea is something that could be useful to you!

    Anne, sounds like you did a lot of research up front and found the things that are working best for you. I love that you have a clear vision. Happy to know a calendar may be in your future!

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  11. Thanks for sharing this with us (I saw your post on Etsy so came over to have a read of this article). I am certainly going to give this more thought and look into creating my own seasonal calendar for marketing and trends with regards to my creations.

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  12. Great post! I'm working on my own marketing calendar right now, so your timing is perfect.

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I'd love for you to share your ideas and stories on my blog! Please know that I may not always be able to e-mail you a direct response, so be sure to check back to my blog and continue the dialogue. Many blessings for connecting with me through word and image :)