But before you go changing anything, why not do a quick check about things with your clients or customers... because you may be quite surprised at their point of view.
We were doing a half day marketing strategy session with a client last week, and their website content came up for discussion. Quentin and I both agreed that the BEST thing on their site - a graphic that clearly explained in simple terms, exactly what their company did for their clients - was something they they'd moved to an obscure page, from having been on their home page for a couple of years, because they thought it was old and silly.
"No Way" - we said.
"Yes way" - they said.
We have convinced that client to not only feature this clever graphic, but within a few minutes had easily got them excited about creating more of this kind of thing to add to other parts of their marketing for easy explanations of their services.
You see, we spend so much time (years usually) with our own 'stuff' that it's easy to see it as flawed, old, and boring. Something new comes along and we are easily persuaded that a new look might be a brilliant idea. So - before you fall prey to this line of thinking, here's some useful things to consider that might save you thousands (dollars, headaches, I-told-you-so's etc).
1) If you have a really well established, well thought out, working hard for you marketing strategy, that includes good marketing collateral like images, fliers, website, a spokesperson or personality for your brand etc, then instead of changing everything, you might like to simply evolve some things first and see what how your market responds.
Update the look of your printed material, freshen up the colours from faded to bright and glossy, sharpen up the logo design - but don't CHANGE for the sake of change.
2) Bring in new things, like a key service offering, or customer service style after checking with your customers to see if that is what they want, and test it out a bit first. For example, let's say you are an accountant who wants to add a business planning tool to your range of services. This might be a big deal, and you see yourself as moving slowly away from regular compliance work, to strategy and planning. First ask a sample of your existing clients if they would value this, and what they'd be willing to pay for it. Then introduce it slowly, and get feedback and fine tune the new service.
Radical changes for many customers is just confusing - they wonder if your business is under new management or might wonder if you've started making too much money to think straight.
3) If you are decided to suddenly go hi-tech, from having been non-glossy and comfortable, don't be surprised if some of your existing clients resist the changes you make. They may like the way you present a non-complicated brand. Of course this also works in reverse sometimes, and you could attract new customers simply because they like the new you, or noticed you for the first time. If you wanted to shift your customers' perceptions about you, get some help to ensure you cover all your bases smoothly, and with minimum disruption to your market's understanding about what you do, and what has actually changed. If it's just a fresh look, that's fine, but if you are making other bigger changes, you need to strategically communicate too.
Communicate the changes and what they mean to your existing and potential customers so that they understand what you are trying to change. Take the Guess-work out of it all, and for this you may need professional marketing help.
4) Test your changes. I met a man on a plane one day 15 years ago, who at that time had been using the same woman to front his national television advertising for 9 years. He and his marketing people felt if was time to change from that style of advertising and that she was becoming too invisible to the viewers, because she'd been around for such a long time. He explained to me that within only a few months they went back to her to renew her contract because their brand took a hit and sales plummeted. 15 years later, she's still doing almost exactly the same style of advertisements for that company and I gather she's still making them a lot of money because she's a familiar face, who has grown to become an integral and trusted part of that company's brand.
Don't be afraid to change things back again if what you updated didn't get you the results you wanted. That's a better option than trying a succession of new things.
Change is good. If we didn't make changes, we'd still be buying our groceries from people behind a dusty wooden counter in tiny little general stores. But when it comes to marketing changes, don't go assuming that what you do well is no longer relevant, or appreciated by your target market, or that what you do doesn't work any more. You might even be very surprised at what your customers notice, and appreciate about you.
Maria & Quentin - Total Media Magic