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Marketing Tips

How Lab-Grown Diamonds Can Help Your Business Appeal to Younger, Socially Conscious Consumers

Want to feel old? Millennials, that emerging generation who are going to change everything, are now entering their 40s. Their moment is passing, and we now turn our attention to Gen Z. The oldest members of Gen Z have graduated college, are starting families, and most relevant to us, have disposable income to spend on luxury goods. Gen Z now comprise 40% of consumers worldwide, with $30 billion in disposable income. How, then, do we make sure Gen Z are spending that disposable income with us? One way to reach this socially conscious generation is through lab-grown diamonds, provided that you can demonstrate the sustainability and ethics of the product.

Meet Them Where They Are: Online

Before you can get your message across to Gen Z, you have to know where to find them. Though there is a growing dissatisfaction with social media among young people, Gen Z still spend more time in front of screens than any other generation. They are dissatisfied with the effect social media has had on society and on older generations, but despite this awareness, Gen Z are still an “extremely online” generation. They were the first generation to hold a smartphone as children and to live their whole lives with the internet as ubiquitous as television was for everyone else. The typical Millennial probably didn’t have an internet-connected computer until high school, and even then, it was most likely a family computer with a dial-up connection. Millennials may have grown up online, but Gen Z were born there.

While Millennials might be on Instagram or Twitter and Gen X and Boomers are on Facebook, Gen Z are mostly on TikTok and that social media platform that we don’t think of as a social media platform, YouTube. Between TikTok, YouTube, and to a lesser extent Instagram, Gen Z consume 7.2 hours of video content per day. That’s not 7 hours of total screen time—that’s 7 hours on video alone.

Gen Z turn to video for everything. Where a Millennial might use Google to find a relevant article, Gen Z will turn to TikTok, YouTube, or Instagram and search for a video, whether they want to learn how to cook salmon, learn how get a glossy lip look, buy the best microphone for their streaming setup, or find ethical, sustainable jewelry. The videos they connect with are delivered in a conversational, humorous style that entertains as it educates.

Be Honest About Your Claims

Video content is the way to reach them, but Gen Z are particular about who they will listen to. A Google search will bring up articles with the best SEO, not necessarily the most relevant articles, and right now, chatbots are not at the point in their development where they can be relied upon to give factual, accurate answers to questions. It remains to be seen whether changes in search engine algorithms will privilege human-written, human-centered, helpful articles, or whether the internet will be drowned under a tsunami of machine-generated text spam. So Gen Z turn to their social networks, customer reviews, and influencers who can speak their language for answers.

Grabbing the attention and the trust of Gen Z consumers means not overselling or overstating claims about lab-grown diamonds. Gen Z are inquisitive, values-driven consumers. More than any other generation, they are interested in how, where, and by whom their products are made. They want to know that their consumption is not making the world a worse place because climate change is much more real and immediate to them than it is to many older adults. They look at their future and don’t see an unending upward slope of progress; they see a world hanging in the balance. So they will want to know for sure if that lab-grown diamond is truly contributing less to carbon emissions than a mined diamond. They want to be sure that the working conditions in a lab are not worse than the working conditions in a mine.

It is imperative, then, for retailers to be just as inquisitive about their suppliers and really understand where their lab-grown diamonds come from, how efficient their labs are, and how workers are treated and compensated. If you can point to these facts and demonstrate that your product truly is an ethical and sustainable alternative to mined diamonds, then you will find customers among Gen Z.

Environmental Issues that Concern Gen Z

Beyond contentious issues of carbon emissions per carat grown or mined, there are other environmental benefits of LGD that retailers can communicate to Gen Z consumers. Water scarcity, deforestation, and human rights are all issues that will affect Gen Z purchasing decisions. Diamond mining has become much cleaner and safer in recent years, and many mines recycle the water used in the extraction process and rehabilitate the land after a mining project finishes. But contamination and waste are still byproducts of the mining process, no matter how modern the mining facilities.

Deforestation is also an issue of concern for Gen Z. Forests absorb both carbon and heat from the sun, so it is important to young people that we intervene in the environment in ways that conserve the planet’s remaining old-growth forests.

In some parts of the world, these untouched lands are also the homes of indigenous peoples. Gen Z care about protecting and empowering the people most vulnerable to exploitation. In Canada, diamond miners work with First Nations people to ensure that sacred ground is not disturbed and that the people who have a right to the land profit from it. But in many cases artisanal mining, or small-scale mining done not by large corporations but by local people, with no regulation or labor rights for the women and children who do much of the work, takes place outside of the law. While regulations and diligent manufacturers and suppliers keep the products of illegal artisanal mines out of the supply chain, they can still find their way in. The money from these illegal mines often funds drug and human trafficking. Lab-grown diamonds are one way consumers can be absolutely sure that they are not helping to fund these activities.

Even with modern technology, regulations, and public awareness, the effects of mining on local flora, fauna, water supplies, and people remain long after mines shut down. No matter how many environmental regulations mining companies comply with, the most environmentally friendly thing to do is not mine to begin with. Overall, however, it is important to recognize the strides the mining industry has made in the past 20 years to become a less exploitative, more sustainable industry. We can extol the virtues of LGD without denigrating or making overblown claims about the mining industry, or pointing to its past failures as examples of modern practices.

Gen Z are questioning the consumption habits of those who came before them, from homeownership as an investment to car-centered development to buying cheap products from developing countries. They are also a generation that gravitates toward brands that share their values. Lab-grown diamond marketing is an opportunity to connect with Gen Z on the issues they care about, but only if it comes from a place of honesty and authenticity.

How’s Your 2023 Marketing Plan Looking?

What are your marketing goals for 2023? You can’t grow your business without meeting your goals, and you can’t meet your goals if you don’t make a plan. While we might experience Covid outbreaks here and there for the foreseeable future, the “pandemic era” is behind us. On top of that, inflation is likely to ease in 2023. So with the two biggest challenges of the past few years on the way out, the future is now. It’s vital that you make a plan to carry you into the future in a position of strength.

A marketing plan is a document that sets out in writing an organization’s marketing goals and the specific methods they will use to achieve them. Other than marketing goals, a marketing plan typically contains analysis of target market, ideal customer profiles, marketing strategies used, budget numbers, and KPIs. Such a plan breaks down specific marketing activities granularly, whether by quarter, month, or even week.

You may already have a marketing plan in place. But once the hectic holiday season is over and you look toward the beginning of another year, you might want to take a look at the challenges that will make 2023 different from 2022 and rework your plan accordingly.

Writing the Marketing Plan

Before you begin, get information from your entire team, whether they are involved in sales and marketing or not. Every employee has their own experience of your business and might offer some insight that you weren’t able to see. Bring your sales, marketing, and purchasing leaders together to discuss the successes and challenges of the past year and to articulate a vision of the future.

The first thing that goes into a marketing plan is a statement of your brand vision. Why are you in this business? What is the purpose of your business? What do you do that your competitors don’t? What can you offer that they can’t? Stating a clear brand vision can help you not only identify your target market, but determine the best ways to reach them.

Your plan should consider all sales and marketing channels: your sales team, your website, social media, email campaigns, content marketing, etc. Identify the channels responsible for the most growth. Which channels are driving growth, which are lagging behind and need more work, and which should you consider abandoning? Not every social media platform, for instance, will yield the same results. It might behoove you to spend less time on one in order to really focus on growing another.

Knowing what your competitors are up to will also help you come up with a solid marketing plan. Have any old competitors gone out of business? Has anyone new moved into the area? Do you expect any changes in the coming year? Look at what your competitors are doing well and where they might be struggling. Maybe they’ve tried something you’d like to try but did not have success with it, or maybe they’ve done something well that you’d like to emulate.

Finally, make sure your marketing plan is based on data and contains hard numbers: KPIs, budget numbers, growth targets, and the like.

Stick to the Plan, But Be Flexible

Make the plan as perfect as it can be, but also understand that reality is not perfect. You’ll have to remain flexible throughout the year and shift targets on the fly when necessary. One way to stick to the plan while remaining flexible is to divide your marketing plan into quarters, and reevaluate goals at the end of each quarter.

It does take a little extra work to create such a plan, especially if you haven’t written one before. But the extra effort will be worth it when you see your whole team working toward the same goal by implementing a coherent, well-researched, step-by-step strategy.

Overall, it’s important to base your decisions on as much information as possible. No matter who the final decision maker is, gather input from as many members of your team as possible. It’s hard to believe that 2023 is only a few days away. Are you ready?