I kept grabbing papers and magazines and stacking them up in the corner. It seemed like the supply was never ending.
Then I bound them up with string and made a nice bundle out of them. The salvage fellow said if I put them in neat bundles he wouldn’t charge me as much to haul them away. Oh boy, aren’t I lucky?
I thought about this for a minute. Here I am willing to pay someone to take away these newspapers when I myself had to pay money to get them in the first place. I calculated that I had collected approximately 75 papers that I had paid more than $100 to acquire. Now, these papers were worth LESS than nothing.
I came to the conclusion that yesterday’s news is worthless. In fact the older the news gets, the less people want it. It ends up costing you money just to store it or remove it! Today’s news is worth about $1.25 (per newspaper). But what about tomorrow’s newspaper? What would tomorrow’s news be worth if it were available TODAY? Everyone knows that. They’d be worth a fortune.
If you think about it, the more timely the information, the more value it holds.
Yet if you look at most web sites, or on-line marketing you will see old, expired, uninspiring and out-of-date information. Even in the brick-and-mortar world current, accurate information is scarce. Brochures and promotional material reflect worn-out ideas and concepts.
Businesses, it seems, will invest uncounted hours and thousands of dollars developing new concepts and ways to communicate them but will give not the least thought as to how to keep fresh these ideas and corresponding marketing mediums.
Are we so arrogant as to think that once we have established our idea in the marketplace that it will not be challenged?
Do we believe that the market that we occupy will be free of change over time? Or that our customers will always want the same thing?
Or are we so ignorant that we expect our competition to remain stationary?
I hope not.
Keeping our ideas fresh requires always improving and tinkering with our products, services and with the way we communicate with our customers and business partners.
Sometimes it’s not about creating a new idea but rather communicating our idea in an entirely new way. This requires constantly re-framing our products or services for the market. Take Apple computers. They went from being the computers made exclusively for geeks to the computers that make a fashion statement.
Or what about the big tobacco companies? They have radically changed their advertising from a message that says: “Oh what a feeling” to “check out our great product stewardship and risk reduction efforts.” They in fact have spent billions on these new communication initiatives and despite that fact, thousands of people die every year from lung cancer you can still buy cigarettes at your local grocery store. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t condone smoking, I am merely pointing out the fact that they changed their message and this has resulted in continued growth.
Think about your company, product and service. Here are some questions that you can ask yourself to ensure that you are communicating fresh ideas, and providing inspiring and up-to-date information. I have also included some examples of what we at the SBA Network are doing to put these principals into practice:
- How “newsworthy” are the ideas that you are communicating? Do they reflect the current “thought-trends” in your industry? On our web sites we allow people to listen to our latest radio shows, on demand. They feature some of the leading business experts in the country. This can be done at any time and any place in the world at small business hour
- Are you willing to give a little up-front in order to influence your constituents? For example we make our entire library of articles available to visitors by posting hundreds of articles on our web site in the Library of Business Development Articles section. These are completely FREE. In order to view these all someone has to do is give us their email.
- How easy is it for people to connect with you? Are you visible enough or are you out-of-sight and therefore out-of-mind? I’m not talking about being pushy and constantly pitching your product or service. This will only push people away. I’m talking about sharing valuable insights, information, applications and FREE offers. One of the things we do to stay connected every week is to send this email that you are reading right now. It is non-pushy, yet informative, sometimes inspiring and often educational for our business partners. What can you do to stay connected?
- Can others transfer your ideas in a smooth way? For example we offer site visitors 2 sets of our radio show CDs for FREE if they agree to forward this email to 10 friends. This is strictly on the honor system but people seem to follow suit non-the-less. And when they get their 2 sets of CDs what do you think they do with the second set? That’s right, give it away. You can check out our free coaching cd’s
- Can people get small chunks of your solution for FREE? Some consultants and service providers are afraid of giving away too much of their solution. “Don’t tell the customer too much. Then they won’t need you.” I totally disagree with this. Knowing the right thing to do is different than knowing how to do the right thing. Anyone can go to our web site and listen to a 20 minute audio workshop telling them How to Get More Appointments or How To Be More Productive or How to Motivate Their Staff. learning programs I’m not at all afraid of sharing this information with people. In fact I hope it helps them so much they DON’T have to hire me! Then they’ll tell everyone they know about it. Share your information and secret ingredients freely and watch people become your loyal followers.