I like to collect vintage sheet music and old 45s and usually have luck finding them at garage sales, flea markets or at older music stores. I’ve got a stack of 45s I recently purchased that still have the original paper sleeves that the records came in.

Note to the millennials out there: a 45-RPM record predates 8-track tapes, cassette tapes and anything digital. We used to buy them for about 79 cents when the Beatles and a thousand other groups you never heard of were popular.

Anyway, I was looking over one of the 45s I bought, and I thought about how this recordRCA Victor 45-RPM used to be sought out by buyers who paid full price for it. Now it was just a shabby reminder of an era long gone. And then it hit me: How many organizations are using outdated material that should have been pitched out a long time ago?

More than I care to guess. Evidence came to me last week when I sat down with a sales rep who had something for one of my clients. He had several product brochures – none of which looked like they came from the same company. Some of them were so outdated they had stickers covering key information.

“Why do you have stickers on these?” I asked.

“Oh, we changed distributors last April, so our delivery times had to be adjusted.”

Do you believe that? Eleven months after changing their delivery times and the company is still sending reps out with the old material! What does that have to say about their operation?

Digital printing in small quantities has never been more affordable. There is no reason to go out into the market with outdated materials. If you do, well, let’s face it, you look cheap and more than a little unprepared for today’s competition.

Producing new materials doesn’t have to be expensive. Simple brochures and price lists can often be done at your local Kinkos-FedEx or Staples with nearly instant turnaround. And they will look so much more professional than pulling something off your copy machine.

Redesigning your more significant marketing materials can help reposition your company in the aftermath of the pandemic that has plagued us during the last month or two. Take the opportunity to tell your story in a way that focuses on your strengths and the value you bring to your clients.

Now that the Corona virus has given us some extra time, maybe now is the time to junk the stuff that’s collecting dust and start producing materials that give you and your sales representatives a fighting chance to make a truly good impression.

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