“If it’s good enough for you, it’s good enough for me.” That’s a statement heard by no marketer ever.
Yet endless discussions about what quality means happen all the time. What is good enough? Are you so focused on creating something great that you delay or miss out on producing something good enough?
The trope that it’s better to get something out the door than to put too much effort into making it great is pervasive. Think of how many business books use one of these quotes:
- “The best is the enemy of the good,” from Voltaire (who was quoting an Italian proverb)
- “Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without,” attributed to Confucius
- “Striving to be better, oft we mar what’s well,” from Shakespeare.
Business writer James C. Collins’s quote “great is the enemy of good” often gets lumped in with the rest of these. The irony is, though, his full quote argues the opposite – that we don’t often achieve “great” because it’s so easy to settle for “good.”
In marketing and content creation, I see increasing tension around what “good enough” means. I once witnessed a debate between a marketing leader and sales director over the value of two content pieces. The first, an expensive white paper, attracted few downloads but a high percentage of conversions. The second, a short listicle blog post, got exponentially more views but a much lower conversion rate.
Both pieces produced the same number of leads in a similar time frame. The debate centered on which piece was “better” and – most importantly – which kind of piece the content team should focus on in the future.
Who was right? Many would argue to let the data decide and that both are equally valuable. But is that true?
I bet you’re asking the same subjective questions that occurred to me:
- What about the long-term performance?
- Which approach will strengthen the brand?
- Which direction creates a more loyal and educated customer?
- Which approach is more cost-effective?
- Which gives the team more leverage to repackage or reuse the content?
- Which approach provides the highest long-term return on the investment?
What does “great” or “good enough” look like? If you don’t know, then your organization can’t trust that one thing is better than another.
Too often, the debate about quality or value happens without any standard or discipline to ground it. It’s not that people disagree – it’s that they never settled on what the answer should be.
With no standards, the mindset “if it’s good enough for you, it’s good enough for me” can’t work. With no standards, nothing can be good or great. It can only be done.
To set the standards for distinguishing good from great, you’ll have to answer many subjective questions. Once they’re answered, stakeholders in your organization should agree that content will be deemed good or great based on the standards set by a few people (or even one person).
In other words, setting standards lets stakeholders confidently say, “If it’s good enough for you, it’s good enough for me.”
It’s your story. Tell it well.