Early on in my career, someone asked me if I believed the perfect marketing plan or flawless execution was more important. It was during an interview and I chose execution which is what the person thought as well. Lucky me…
Since then, I have seen many marketing teams look for the perfect slogan or the perfect image or try to develop the perfect piece of content. But if another company reaches that buyer first with their message then the perfect campaign will not even be considered as that buyer will have addressed their need. Just like products, being the first mover can create a significant advantage. Not to mention it gets leads to the sales team faster.
Time and time again, my instinct to focus on execution has proven to be the right path. In fact, I think waiting for perfection is a big mistake. I am a firm believer that an 80% plan executed really well will always do better than the perfect plan that is executed later or not at all. And this same argument applies to each and every piece of content, ad, or campaign tactic that is iterated on forever in the hope of perfection.
That’s why I think all marketing needs to adopt an approach similar to the Minimum Viable Product (MVP), pioneered by Eric Ries. For those that don’t know this term, I encourage you to explore it but basically it is defined as “a product with just enough features to satisfy early customers, and to provide feedback.”
For marketers, our product is a marketing campaign and we need to launch something quickly and then iterate with what we learn from the feedback. And what we can learn today is huge with the analytics and insights that current tools provide on just about everything.
Now I’m not suggesting anyone publish crap or things that they know do not work. What I am suggesting is that you don’t constantly tweak your ad, email, social media post, web page or whatever tactic it is before you launch. Instead get it out there and then improve it based on data. I guarantee you’ll get better results than if you launch really late, or not at all.
While it’s not a campaign, let’s look at this post as an example of adopting this approach and not aiming for perfection. I did a rough outline and then a bit of research on MVP before I wrote this post in one sitting. I reviewed it a couple of hours later as it always helps to put a fresh set of eyes on things.
Is it perfect? It’s not :). But is it a minimum viable blog post? I would say yes. Could it be better if I waited another week? Probably. But would it be significantly better and attract a lot more more readers? I doubt it.
That’s why I clicked publish. I had also set a deadline of doing one post a month and hadn’t done one for February so my back was against the wall. Deadlines help is another takeaway here.
Now that this is live and you are reading it can I improve my next post? Absolutely, but I will do that based on what I learn from this one. So please send me your feedback plus I’ll review some analytics around it to see what else I can learn.
Many times perfection can get in the way! The MVP approach gave everyone permission not to aim for perfection but instead to launch a product and then iterate. And, while this may seem foreign to some of my fellow marketers, I encourage you to take a chance and launch your next marketing tactic before it’s perfect. Then get feedback and iterate.