I remember coming across this quote from somewhere else before and really loving it. Then, Seth Godin comes up with this fantastic (and somewhat frightening) thought:
Most marketing efforts are projects in response to problems. “We need a box for the product launch.” “We need a press release for the tour the boss is doing.” “We need an ad campaign for the Super Bowl.”
In response to projects, many organizations figure out the resources they’ve got and then work hard to do something good enough. On time, within budget. Meeting spec, after all, is your job.
You end up, if you’re talented, with something good enough.
Is that enough? Is good enough enough to win? To change the game? To reinvent your organization and your career? In a crowded market, when all the competition is good enough, not much happens.
Good enough is beyond reproach. It’s safe at the same time it represents quality. Good enough demonstrates effort and insight and ability. People rarely get fired for good enough, which is a shame.
If you redefined the objective to be, “makes some people uncomfortable, changes the entire competitive landscape and is truly remarkable in that many of the key people we reach feel compelled to talk about it,” what would happen?
First, it would require significant risk-taking. Which would include the risk of failure and the risk of getting fired (omg!). Can you and your team handle that? If not, might as well admit it and settle for good enough. But if you’re settling, don’t sit around wishing for results beyond what you’ve been getting.
Second, it would mean that every single time you set out to be remarkable, you’d have to raise the bar and start over. It’s exhausting.
Third, it means that the boss and the boss’s boss are unlikely to give you much cover. Are you okay with that?
I hope so. It’s worth it.