business news in context, analysis with attitude

This is FaceTime with the Content Guy. I'm Kevin Coupe.

Today, I'd like to follow up on the column that Michael Sansolo wrote on Tuesday, and even disagree with it a little bit.

In his piece, Michael wrote about the importance of getting back to merchandising basics and the need for creative retailer-manufacturer cooperation that can lead to greater sales and profits. And one of the things that Michael said was that a workshop at the recent Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Show on this subject was as important as one that he did on social media or that I did on e-commerce.

I agree with all of that, except...

I really hate the phrase "back to basics." About as much as I hate the phrase, "get back to fundamentals." I've been writing about this industry for a long time, and I can't tell you how many times I've heard that phrase uttered from lecterns or used in articles - usually during tough times when companies are looking for a solution to their problems.

Here's the thing. If you're not already doing the fundamentals, if you're not doing the basics, then it may well be too late. You're dead.

There are plenty of companies that are, and that are building on the fundamentals with initiatives in e-commerce, social media or in other areas.

The fundamentals are a prerequisite just for getting into the game and staying in the game.

Sure, it is important to continue to improve your basic marketing and merchandising efforts. These things are never "done," and you have to get both more efficient and effective each and every day. But if you've lost track of the basics, if you don't think you are fundamentally sound in your basic business model, then maybe it is time to consider another line of work.

One other thing. Very quickly, being good at things like social media and e-commerce are going to become fundamental to a lot of businesses. To some extent or another, they are going to be prerequisites just to get in the game. And people will be building new initiatives - which we may not even be able to conceive of right now - on top of them.

The game keeps moving forward. Every day that you don't embrace this movement, every day that you resist change instead of actively pursuing it, is a day that your business may be getting closer to irrelevance.

At least, that's what I'm thinking this Thursday morning. As always, I want to hear what you're thinking.

KC's View: