Monday, August 31, 2009

The principle of "Good enough"

Robert Capps has a close to brilliant article in this month’s Wired Magazine, writing about the phenomena of things and services that don’t strive to be perfect but just good enough. It’s the old but highly relevant story of creating value stories instead of striving for perfection. His examples are covering a wide area: From traditional phone to Skype, from high end video cameras to the Flip, from military jets to drones, from books to the Kindle, from the traditional television to Hulu and from computers to netbooks.

Why is the principle of “Good enough” so successful? A few reasons:

  • Over- Engineering: A lot of consumers never use all the functionalities that a particular product or services offers. In most usage occasions they only use a fraction of the overall offering. Today’s consumers have realized the myth of over-engineered products and are willing to get for a “Good enough” alternative.
  • Accessibility beats Complexity. For a lot of consumer it’s more important to have an easy to use and ready available product or service, instead of spending a lot of time and energy to unlock all the different potential functions that a product might have.
  • Value = Low price + sufficient quality. Consumers are more price conscious than a few years ago, so they are thinking twice before making a high price tag purchase decision. These “Good enough” products lower the threshold for a purchase, and they still provide good quality.
It seems that there is a strong parallel to today’s approach of designing marketing programs. The programs that require a huge amount of money and time will be more and more replaced by a larger number of quickly developed and quality wise sufficiently produced programs. These programs will cost only around 10% of the previously large scale generated programs, enabling a brand to launch 10 of these programs to the same prize. And these programs will be less placed in highly paid media locations but in the brands owned (e.g. Website, Store, Packaging) or brand earned (e.g. Social Media, Buzz) spaces.

It would be an interesting research exercise to count the number of all marketing programs that a particular brand is launching in 2009 versus 2005 or 2000. My hypothesis is that most brands have a significant higher number of programs with a dramatically reduced expense number per program. The principle of “Good enough” will enter the marketer’s vocabulary faster than we can say ‘Web 2.0”.

13 Comments:

Blogger Marcelo Perrone said...

Michael, i just read this text about the "good-enough" principle which reminded me of your post.

It highlights another crucial aspect of thinking about a valuable experience instead of perfection: agility and how critical it is for us agencies to deliver faster (yet shareholder-friendly).

http://www.janchipchase.com/fake-nokia-apples

6:13 AM  
Anonymous mjudd said...

I have a friend who often quotes, "Done is better than perfection." : -) Makes me think about how we approach our marketing programs at work. You are right, we have significantly increased the number of programs this year on less budget than previous years. With great results, and good channel recognition. Time and resources often biggest constraint. Thanks for the post. Interesting.

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