Good enough?

There’s an article in a recent issue of Wired where the author lists a whole bunch of “technology” that, despite being inferior in build and results than more expensive competitors, is having a huge impact on the way business and industry are bringing their products to market. From video cameras to the MP3, today’s consumers are content to purchase products and services that are “good enough” for now, and almost adapting a disposable mindset.

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So what happened? Well, in short, technology happened. The world has sped up, become more connected and a whole lot busier. As a result, what consumers want from the products and services they buy is fundamentally changing. We now favor flexibility over high fidelity, convenience over features, quick and dirty over slow and polished. Having it here and now is more important than having it perfect. These changes run so deep and wide, they’re actually altering what we mean when we describe a product as “high-quality.”

And it’s happening everywhere. As more sectors connect to the digital world, from medicine to the military, they too are seeing the rise of Good Enough tools like the Flip. Suddenly what seemed perfect is anything but, and products that appear mediocre at first glance are often the perfect fit.

Is this new attitude making it more difficult to market products and services to the right target audience? It seems that, for a whole bunch of marketing communications, the thinking and creative behind them matches this “good enough” mentality. Especially in the digital marketplace.

The beauty (and possible flaw?) of most digital marketing is the ability to quickly adapt and change the look, feel, and message. It’s not like print ads or broadcast, where you want to be absolutely sure before you put something on press, on in the can.

But is this “hurry up and get the best message [for now] up” really doing a service for the advertising industry? I know there are still numerous agencies that still do focus group testing, and then use the learnings from such sessions to tweak and adapt the message to make sure they get the biggest bang [to the widest audience] for the buck. But that seems to be more of a rarity than the norm.

Of course, part of the challenge for this disposable thinking, is the constant shopping of ad business from ad shop to ad shop the minute sales stall or decline. Don’t people know that building a brand takes a little time? And that constantly changing your message leads to confusion, not brand loyalty?

Sure, there are times that I’ve adapted the “hurry up” approach to some projects. But only when it was appropriate. The rest of the time, I remind myself that, in this day of practically “no act left undocumented,” that it’s not just a company or product’s name on the communication. In a way, it also has mine.

Because of this, I’ll continue to take a little extra time to make sure the words are doing their job. And that I’m doing mine. Because anything less isn’t good enough.

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