Think of it: There are many businesses that offer similar products or services. Prospective customers can purchase goods or services from any competitor, literally anywhere in the world if they choose to, thanks to the Internet.

Net result: effectively marketing a business, which translates to owning a slice of customer mind-share, is more challenging than it ever was. It takes something more to market successfully now. And it certainly takes something more than a one-time strategy and a couple of marketing tactics to be effective.

That "something" is relevance.

Many business owners and marketers think the answer is to continuously innovate—that by continually improving current offerings, or adding new ones, they add incremental value for their customers. Hence, continued relevance.

While that is true to some extent, there will always be competitors that will go one better, so innovation alone is not sufficient.

The Seven Cs of Relevance and Sustainability

Long-term relevance makes a business truly sustainable. It comes from a deeply ingrained set of values that go to the heart of a business. Like anything else of merit, the quest for relevance has to be constantly worked at while conducting day-to-day business activities.

This is the most important thing that businesses can do, since continued relevance sharply differentiates one company's brand from myriad others.

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Claire Ratushny is principal of, a resource created to assist small businesses with their positioning, marketing, and PR communications needs. Reach Claire at 860-974-1688 or