Jewelers Suite JHJ Magazine

Interview with Shane O’Neill

written by Lee Wiser McIntosh

I’ll start where my conversation with Shane O’Neill ended… with one thing he knows to be true:

“The digital world is here to stay and as a business you either evolve or cease to exist.”

So now that I have your attention, is your business evolving?

Has foot traffic ceased to exist? Is your e-commerce effectively picking up the slack?

Are your advertising dollars pointing customers to a robust website?

Needless to say, O’Neill, a vice-president at Fruchtman Marketing is articulate and focused. With 28 years in the agency business, his path started on the creative side as an art/creative director, and he moved over to the business side. It’s that left brain-right brain mindset that enables strategic thinking that’s especially relevant through their creative execution. 

Fruchtman is a full service agency devoted entirely to the jewelry industry. Their wheelhouse is impressive with expertise in paid search, digital display advertising, social media management, Facebook advertising, digital co-op and email marketing. In other words, there’s not much they don’t do. And most importantly, they see everything through the lens of jewelry. Their holistic understanding of the digital media landscape allows them to tailor solutions to the variables unique to your business.

Most importantly, they don’t create executions in search of a strategy. Everything falls under a strategic umbrella, or it isn’t done.

Fruchtman Marketing has had a front row seat to the jewelry industry for almost forty years. They’ve witnessed the trends and economic cycles that have had an impact on the way we do business, and they took careful notes during the economic collapse of 2008. The biggest mistake stores made then is being made now: tapping the brakes on advertising in order to conserve cash. Those who doubled down, aggressively captured market share. Lesson: stay the course! Especially when those around you are not.

O’Neill sees major opportunity in bridal and in media like YouTube and Hulu.

The bridal customer remains unchanged by the COVID-19 business atmosphere. It’s still a 3-4 month buying cycle comprised of research, co-shopping, and virtual shopping. What has changed is that during this time people are working from home with more free time, and internet use went up dramatically. Research and virtual shopping took on whole new proportions, and if your store didn’t have e-commerce in place, business was lost. Savvy media buys for their clients have produced a 40% drop in cost-per-click in the bridal category. Notably, the fashion/designer jewelry category did not encounter this kind of dramatic value.

Hulu’s ad-supported streaming TV platform presents a huge opportunity that’s sure to be replicated by Netflix and others in the months to come. These platforms make economic sense now and will continue to gain relevance for advertisers.

Never forgetting the practical things that jewelry stores can and should be doing, Fruchtman Marketing offers solid, actionable information through their T3 (Tuesday Tips and Tricks). Explore the T3 archives on their website to see if it isn’t thought provoking and then sign up for fresh, succinct content delivered to your inbox on Tuesday mornings.  What’s on the horizon for Fruchtman Marketing? A podcast is scheduled for launch Q1-2021, and I’m looking forward to it. I’m pretty sure it’ll be a fun ride… and educational too!

Let me end this article where our conversation began… naturally we spoke of COVID-19 and the impact that is having on sales and foot traffic. This perfect storm of uncertainty, disruption, and opportunity has created a refining moment where digital marketing will revolutionize the jewelry industry.

And even faster than we ever imagined.

Stay safe. And stay the course!  

This interview with Shane O’Neill is the second in a series of conversations with prognosticators, visionaries, and super smart people who know our industry and seek to make us better and stronger. Our last interview looked at the research, and this interview shows what an agency can do for you with that data. I’m looking forward to delving deeper into different verticals and sharing those insights with you.

lwM / The Jewel Vox.