What was once state-of-the-art or award winning, now may not even qualify you for the competition. Allow your marketing agency to keep you current.

I recently saw a comparison between the gold-medal-winning women’s Olympic vault performance from 1956 and 2012. The difference between the two is vast. What was once worthy of winning top honors on the international stage is likely now part of the warmups for the performance required to achieve the same results today.

See the comparison here. I was stunned at the advance in technique, complexity and the abilities of a very well-trained athlete. I, like most people, only watch gymnastics every few years during the Summer Olympics, but this sporting comparison started me thinking about the constant need to improve.

With regards to your company’s marketing, it should be a perpetually evolving process. Evolution is better than revolution in most every case.

I’m consistent in my sentiment that consistency with regards to branding is the best approach, so I don’t recommend radical changes in the direction of marketing for no reason. Evolving to maintain relevance is what you should strive for.

The perfect time to take a step back and look at the overall scope of your company’s marketing efforts is when you do your primary strategic planning. For most this is around the new year or the end of your firm’s fiscal year. You can also be forward looking after a significant project, a new product launch or end of a key trade show for instance. The point is, take some time to think about the evolution of your marketing efforts. Ask yourself, what have you been doing that’s worked? What has your competition been doing? What’s changed in your industry that may impact your marketing efforts? Are sales up or are they in decline? Main thing to remember is, review where you’re at and realize that if you’re resting on your laurels you’re going to eventually fall behind.

And when you get behind it takes extra work to get back out front. I’ve worked with clients who at one point were state-of-the-art in their business, but they’d come to me after several years of declining sales and loss of market share. It’s often due to the fact that their product hadn’t kept up and competitors innovated past them. Even so, marketing definitely has a role to play in retaining marketshare beyond the performance of the product or service being produced by your firm. A great example is the fact that as of early 2015, America Online still had 2.1 million subscribers for their dial-up service. If you’re reading this you’ll realize that dial-up internet service hasn’t been state-of-the-art for a decade at least by 2015.

So what’s the best thing to do in order to continually evolve and not rest on your laurels?

Ask your full service marketing agency for their counsel. If you’ve partnered with your agency, they’ll have a very good grasp on your business and should be keeping tabs on your industry and competition. So engage them in some strategic planning and ask for honest input. Strategic, big picture thinking without getting caught up in the details of tactical decisions is what will help you evolve your marketing. Even if your agency created much of your current marketing that you may hold dear, everything needs a refresh now and again. Plus, your agency should jump at the chance to improve your market position because as you grow, so should their work for you. Remember, you don’t want to end up being the warmup routine.