Why “Good Enough” Hurts Your Marketing

As buyers we’re increasingly content to choose the “good-enough” option, rather than the better (or best) one.

Ten years ago, for example, upgrading your PC meant comparing CPU speeds, screen resolution, and hard disk storage capacity. Today PC sales are falling, as most people’s computing needs can be more than adequately met by an iPad or a Chromebook – regardless of whether it’s for business or pleasure.

Most people use their PC for sending emails, sorting and sharing photos, buying and playing music, or drafting the occasional letter. Even the most basic CPU today is more than capable for such tasks. Storage is increasingly moving to the cloud, so gargantuan internal hard disks are less of a draw.

Going with Good Enough is all that most people need.

Good Enough Is Everywhere

Good Enough touches more and more of our behavioral choices. Starbucks coffee isn’t the best coffee you can get, but most people are happy to settle for it. It’s a similar story when buying music as MP3 files, or flying on a no-frills airline.

Yes, there are better options, but for most people Good Enough is good enough.

Accepting Mediocrity

More often than not, any individual marketing project is born as a response to a perceived problem or issue.

  • “Our website isn’t generating leads for the sales team and doesn’t rank well in search engine results.”
  • “We need to increase awareness and close more on-booth business at our next tradeshow.”
  • “Our existing sales and marketing collateral looks poor against the competition.”

The response is swift and – more often than not – addresses the issue to the level at which most stakeholders are content. The result may not be anything ground breaking or jaw-droppingly awesome. But it’s delivered at a sufficient quality that (hopefully) makes the problem go away. Done and dusted, time to move on.

To all intents and purposes it’s fit for purpose. But is it enough?

Is Good Enough sufficient to win? Can a mentality of Good Enough gain traction to change the status-quo? Can it produce something that will reinvent and revitalize your business? Your job? Your Future?

Changing The Rules

The problem with Good Enough is that it’s the safe bet. It’s not rocking the boat. The requirement is solved even if the solution isn’t exactly setting the world on fire. Producing something that’s Good Enough probably won’t end with you losing your job – which is partly the problem.

But what if the original brief was different? Supposing the goal was to radically change the existing landscape, take people out of their comfort zone, and produce something so awe-inspiring that it would force the audience to re-evaluate their perception of such things to the point that they’d talk about it with their friends?

The potential of creating something like that could be amazing. It could exponentially better for your business, your career, your life. But the risks involved are immeasurably greater too. You might be ridiculed. You might fail. You might get fired.

The Search For Something Better

For hundreds of years the way we approached a problem was to work on it until we came up with a good-enough solution, instead of coming-up with the right solution. In the past this didn’t matter, as the marketplace rewarded solutions that were Good Enough – and often cheaper to boot.

Today, however, that’s no longer the case.

Thanks to the internet, and therefore today’s global ultra-competitive commercial environment, the market is moving in two opposing directions at the same time. On the one hand we’re drowning in high-volume, low margin Good Enough stuff – exactly the same mindset and process that you’ve been adopting all these years.

But there’s another – far more interesting – direction. There are those on the continuing and passionate Search For Something Better. These are companies and individuals who are fed-up with Good Enough, aiming their wares at a like-minded audience.

These are the people who believe there is a better way to buy stuff (Amazon), travel from one end of the city to another (Uber), or find accommodation (Airbnb). Their solution isn’t for everyone – but it’s not meant to be. And that’s fine.

You can resign yourself to the well-trodden path of Good Enough. Alternatively you can take the less-traveled road of re-invention, iteration, and changing the rules on an ongoing basis.

One of these options may take you out in your comfort zone, and involve an element of risk. But at the same time it may be the only way to get results beyond what you’re getting to date.