John Akerson's Thoughts

Business, technology and life

Are You Stale?

Are you stale? Is your business stale?

I was in a wonderful quaint gelato shop earlier this evening – Café Gelato. I enjoyed the chocolate and amaretto gelato, and I was amazed to see the clerk there (Sarah) reading a copy of “Always On.” For those who haven’t read it, “Always On” is a slightly dated but very useful book that describes the impact of the internet on marketing and advertising, from a customer perspective.
Always On” talks about looking at the customers viewpoint, listening to the voice of the customer, and it was fairly predictive, even though it is a few years old now. The book does NOT explain how the Old Spice guy could put about a hundred videos on YouTube, and DOUBLE sales of Old Spice products… But the book explained how that could be done, before Old Spice executed it. The book emphasized the importance of customer-focused advertising and marketing. That is absolutely essential.

So back to the question – Are you stale? You may never want to ask the question, “Are you stale?” It sounds like a negative question. Nobody wants their business to be stale, nobody wants to be seen as unchanging, static, or inflexible. Nobody wants to be wearing an five-year-old dusty suit or dress and nobody wants to give the appearance that they are caught in the 20th century. But what about your business? Is it stale?

You might not want to ask that question either – so try asking this: “Are you fresh enough?” Think about what that means. Are you new enough? Are you current? Are you fresh? Are you fluid? Are you flexible? Are you responsive? Most importantly, are you as fresh as you need to be to keep your current customers, and deepen your relationship with them? Are you as fresh as you need to be to get new customers? Ultimately, are you as fresh as your customers want you to be?

If it is important to be fresh, and important to not be stale, how would you measure it?

This is pretty easy. If you have never asked this question before… you are stale. If your website hasn’t changed in 6 months, you are stale. If you haven’t tweeted this month, you’re stale. If you’ve never put a video on YouTube, you are stale. If you are only now realizing that Facebook has gone from 53 million users to 500 million users in the last two years… you are stale.

If you put a new sign up at a brick-and-mortar business every three years, that might be frequent enough to keep it fresh. But the internet is always on. The news cycle is always on. Advertising and Marketing is always on. The great effect that has is that social media, internet and all of its tentacles are a living breathing thing that works for your business 24 hours a day, every day, every week. The not so great effect is that if your business’s online footprint is stale, your octopus might as well be wearing a five year old dress.

Is that an unattractive picture to paint?

Fixing it is up to you. Painting it is up to you. It is up to you to make your online marketing and advertising fresh. Make the decision to ensure that your online presence is always fresh. Keep it fresh. Be fresh. Your customers will know, your revenue, and your success will reflect that.

DO something about your online presence. Do it today.

September 4th, 2010 Posted by | Business, Competitive Advantage, Continuous Improvement, Marketing | one comment