Diamonds are a girl's best friend, right? Unfortunately, not always. After learning about some of the poor working conditions and high levels of violence associated with most diamonds on the market, many girls (and guys) have decided that a conventional diamond is not the ideal expression of their love. While some have turned to vintage pieces or alternate stones, one Los Angeles entrepreneur has provided a third option: high-quality jewels grown in a lab instead of under the ground.
Vanessa Stofenmacher did not know much about the jewelry business when she started VOW, her line of engagement, wedding, and promise rings. To cope with the limitations of current diamond-tracking laws, she opted to have the stones for her jewelry line made by Diamond Foundry, a laboratory that makes diamonds in California.
In her market research, she found that women in their twenties were likely to be concerned about the source of their diamonds. They typically did not mind wearing lab-grown stones as long as they looked as good as natural ones. This research made her line a success; the company, beginning with $8,000 in seed money, was valued at $3 million in 2016.
Don't Be Afraid to Live Your Values
Many of us feel that, in business, our personal convictions should stop outside the doors. However, if we do not create products and marketing campaigns that align with our own values, the chances are good that they will not hit the mark with anyone else.
By choosing a product that she felt strongly about, Stofenmacher found the characteristic that makes her product line different from every other one out there.
Millennials, in particular, are happy to do business with companies that take an ethical stand. By doing something about your beliefs, you can increase connection and engagement.
Think Like Your Customer
The other thing that Stofenmacher did right was seizing an idea that had been troubling many people in the market for diamond rings.
Is there an issue in your industry that you are in a position to address? It does not have to be an ethical concern. It can be a common pain point, such as:
- the amount of waste currently associated with a product.
- the inconvenience of current ordering practices.
- a lack of educational materials about your product and others like it.
- an area where prices are out of line with consumer expectations.
By looking at what your customer cares about most, you can increase the chances of creating a product and a marketing campaign that will resonate with them.
Listen to Your Customers
How can you find out what people want? Just listen. Stofenmacher learned about the desire for ethical lab-grown stones by perusing Instagram. You can set up social listening on platforms that include Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to see what people are talking about in your industry. Many brands also use customer surveys in front of gated content to learn more.
Over time, you will find that your customers respond best when you directly address an unmet need. The marketing campaigns based on this concept will get higher levels of engagement, a better conversion rate, and will help you build long-lasting relationships that are good for you and your customers.