This may be hard to imagine, but people are not choosing your company, product, or service because you’ve been in business for a hundred years.

Let’s say you go into a job interview bragging about your 30 years of experience, and you’re up against someone who only has 5. Do you really think sheer numbers are going to get you the gig? Heck, no.

That hiring manager is going to ask a lot of questions about how you work and what you can do for them. 30 years means nothing if you’re still using a rolodex and a land line. But 30 years of creativity and innovation? Now we’re getting somewhere.

If you really want to get hired, you’re not going to spend your precious interview time laying out the nitty gritty details of every job you’ve ever had. You’re going to lead with the cutting edge stuff you’re doing now. And how you can use those skills and talents to solve problems and deliver value.

Skip the history lesson

There was a time when the “we’ve been around forever” story was an important part of an organizational marketing message. But that was back when businesses ran on handshakes and cigars. And people associated longevity with quality.

50 years ago, if you would have told a group of suit-wearing business chums that Sears would someday be a failing brand, they would have laughed in your face. And maybe even spilled their martinis. Or asked their secretaries to take a note.

We’ve moved beyond that now. Modern day business is all about innovation, problem solving, and staying relevant. Your current customers aren’t interested in where you came from and what you used to do. They want to know where you’re going and what you can do for them today. Like, now.

Focus on what matters

Do people like to work with a business that has a good reputation? Yes. But in today’s world, this doesn’t refer to how long you’ve had your doors open.

Today’s consumers are looking for different kinds of relationships. It’s not about how long have you’ve been around. It’s about how you can help them solve their problems. And how quickly.

You’ve got to be innovative and adaptable. You need to be doing new things and using new technologies. To attract people (and talent) to your business, you can’t just brag about how long you’ve been at it. In a world filled with rapidly advancing technology and a culture of instant gratification, this simply isn’t appealing.

What is appealing is what you have to offer. But it’s not just about your product or service. People want to know how you are taking care of your customers, your employees, your community, and the planet. 

Look to the future

When a future customer goes to your website, they want current, relevant information about how you can help them with whatever it is they need.

If you’re stuck in the past, here’s how you can bring your business marketing strategy and message up to speed.

  • Gather up all of your marketing materials and take the time to read through them. All of them. But don’t read them with your own eyes. Read them through the eyes of your target market.
  • Look at articles published about you, ads you’ve placed, and any client-facing materials you have. Then read your entire website, page by page. Look at your messaging, photos, and taglines. What does it all say?

Are you speaking the language of your customers?

Can they see themselves in the marketing world you’ve created? Does your message speak to the kinds of clients you want and the kinds of employees you’re looking for? Does your organization care about the things they care about? If so, can they see it? Hear it? Feel it?

This is how you win the hearts and minds of those you want to work with. Because now they want to work with you, too.


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