Riding the Digital Wave Successfully

With over 25 years of experience in the business-to-business diamond, gemstone and jewellery industry, ELLE HILL, Founder & CEO, Hill & Co., has amassed an unparalleled array of international business growth, digital strategy, management expertise, omnichannel marketing savvy and a stable of A-list clients served by her and her team of industry experts. Richa Goyal Sikri catches up with Elle to understand what steps gem and jewellery businesses should take to ride the digital wave. 

What should be the focus for gem and jewellery manufacturers, designers, and retailers right now? What are some of the questions they should be asking themselves?  

Richa: Gems and jewellery have served as markers of human emotions and experiences. The act of acquiring a piece is sometimes more important than the acquisition. Can designers, brands, retailers recreate that personal touch virtually? If yes, what tools do they need?  

In your experience, what are the top three mistakes companies make when they are trying to go digital?  

  • They think that “going digital” equals to selling online 
  • They forget that people do business with people. You must mobilise your sales and marketing team to engage with your potential clients as individuals. 
  • They do not collect, measure and analyse data. Posting on social media does not equal digital marketing. If you’re not measuring, you’re not marketing. And if you are only pushing posts, emails and ads out but haven’t set up your website to capture data on inbound visits so you can use it, you’re missing more than half the power of digital marketing.  

One of the most prominent worries jewellery designers have when it comes to social media is that larger-scale manufacturers will copy their original designs  what would you say to them? 

I always laugh at this. If no one knows you, no one will copy you. They are correct. So they are safe. But where does that get them? None of their potential evangelists and customers know who they are either. So is that a win? 

Another thing is that the designs are not everything. There is so much talent in the world. It is not talent that makes a business successful. I’ll use this analogy: my husband is a good cook. Guests often say to him “You should open a restaurant”. And it’s the same ridiculous thing. Just because he has the talent to cook doesn’t mean he has any of the skills to run restaurant operations, staff, promotion, etc.  

Skill or talent is only a small ingredient among many, many ingredients that make up what it takes to have a successful business. It is one of the most important. But it is only one. 

Besides business-to-consumer marketing, are there any steps you would recommend industry players adopt for B2B marketing?  

I have been banging the business-to-business marketing drum for an age! This is where all the money is left on the table in our industry. Some of the biggest players in our industry are in mining, cutting and polishing, and some in manufacturing. They think their buyers know them. They are so big that even though 63% of business-to-business buyers are millennials who may never have heard of them, they’ll stay on top. 

My advice for them is to invest a fraction of the money that you would have on all the trade shows this year and create a robust digital marketing and sales journey strategy. You need to ensure that you use your activity online to drive revenue. That means all your activity online, your website, your emails, your LinkedIn posting, your social media, they all must provide value to your potential buyer, show how you are uniquely positioned to solve their problems and hold up a mirror to the best version of your business at all times.  

Then, you must have data capture points on your website and analytics tools in place that will allow you to see who is visiting your website, what they are interested in so that your sales and marketing team can show up where they are online and continue to establish and deepen relationships with them there.  

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