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Educational Marketing More Appealing Than Hard Selling
By: Cindy Wendland
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We recently attended two networking meetings that turned into some potential business opportunities. (That is the point, right?) During the discussion, we talked about what components of the networking meeting we liked and those we didn’t. In one group, one member per meeting is selected to give a five-minute presentation where they can tell or sell their business. The other group has a ten-minute presentation for a member who is asked to provide an educational focus rather than a sales focus. We found the educational approach more beneficial because we had a valuable take-away from the meeting.

In retail, the same educational approach can be very helpful. Macy’s used it, and it was memorable. On Macy’s website, they offered a page titled “10 Pieces of Jewelry Every Woman Should Own.” It drew us in. We wanted to know if we had the “right” ten pieces. If not, should we own them? The ten pieces are:

1. Diamond stud earrings
2. Pearls
3. Gold hoops
4. Sterling silver hoops
5. Gold necklaces
6. Sterling silver necklaces
7. Locket necklaces
8. Bracelets
9. Rings
10. Watches

A friend described her “go-to” earrings. These are the earrings that go with everything, that look good, and that you love wearing. These are the diamond stud earrings, so check. Pearls — well, my sister owns them, but they don’t reside in my jewelry drawer, and locket necklaces don’t either. The one I had from high school is tarnished. Some of my rings were sold to the jeweler. Bracelets are in good shape, and there is one watch.

What this list did is make us think of Macy’s as a helpful retailer who wanted us to be prepared to have what we did. Yes, we would think of them when we went to fill in our missing jewelry categories, which is appropriate since it is good to patronize people who help you. It also gave us good gift ideas, and it allowed us to compare ourselves against the norm. Sometimes that is helpful.

Macy’s educational approach to jewelry was more helpful than just showing the latest jewelry they are offering. It was fun and helpful. Nice approach.

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About the Author
Cindy Wendland has a background in marketing and finance. She is the creative director for an online men's health magazine, BrainBrawnBody.com, and she gets to write their leisure/travel blog. She is also a web designer helping her clients with online community engagement, websitesbywendland.com. Prior to her web years, she worked in pharmacy consulting.
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