Imagine turning on the TV to check the weather only to see a rebroadcast from the previous day.  The following day you turn on the set and get a repeat – the same taping from two days ago. You, along with most viewers, will get a little flustered and begin to lose interest fast.  The reason is quite simple; the information provided is outdated, stale and irrelevant with regard to what’s happening right now.

Small businesses should also exercise caution when running the same ad over and over. It is very easy to lose audience interest when they can see a repeated “punch line” coming from a mile away.

Fresh content will always be the key for retaining audience interest. So where can you find inspiration for keeping your marketing ideas fresh? Below, I’ve outlined seven  places to look when new ideas are hard to come by.

No. 1: Talk to the customer.
Customer feedback should be your very first stop on the road to new ideas. What are they saying? What do they want? What appeals to them? If you must, break out the suggestion box so that you are getting the input you need to keep your marketing fresh and most important, instep with where your customers really are.

No. 2: Keep up with the news.
Current events are a great place to look for new marketing ideas. This is especially true for things going on that have a direct impact on how your company operates or what your company offers. Keep your ear to the ground and change your message accordingly.

No. 3: Embrace technology.
Everyday technology seems to present a newer and better way to communicate. Be willing to take a step beyond traditional media and learn about the virtues of immerging technology. As you do, you’ll discover a host of new ideas and ways to communicate.

No. 4: Be willing to blaze a trail.
When the light bulb comes on in your mind and presents a new idea, don’t look for a precedent –set the precedent. Be willing to be “first” to try an idea for the sake of your business.

No. 5: Be a student of your industry.
Keep up with all of the trends, changes and other particulars for your industry. These things will allow you to craft messages that are on the cutting edge for what you provide. Sign up for as many trade publications, industry newsletters, online resources and conventions as you can.

No. 6: Take a trip around town
Get out of your monotonous environment and look around town. Snap pictures of store signage, color schemes, architecture, window signs, decals plastered on the sides of buses, shopping bag graphics, logos on business cards seen in fishbowls in restaurants and anything else that captures your attention.

No. 7: Listen to your employees.
Take time to brainstorm with your employees. Give them an open, consequence-free place to express their ideas.You never know what gems will immerge as a result of simply getting their input.

Walter R. Dailey is a former ad agency partner and experienced marketing professional. He is a marketing speakerand executive producer at Dailey Sound Vector Media, a creative services organization that specializes in developing radio ads, jingles and marketing campaigns for small businesses throughout North America.  Ask Walter your questions at walter@dsvmedia.com