In Marketing, Speed Beats Quality

In my 10 years running jSinger Marketing, the most common mistake I see companies make is acting too slowly.

When companies fear a new marketing or advertising venture, their indecisiveness, or even failure to act, puts them even further behind competition.

I’ve seen companies try to perfect a blog post or website phrase, worrying about the wording of a sentence. They stall a timely blog post or website launch and lose a greater impact than if they just made a quick decision.

Today’s culture does not wait for you.

You need to move quickly. I still talk to small business owners on a weekly basis who are hesitant to try something new. It’s 2021, and every business, large or small, should be active in at least basic digital marketing methods: Email blasts, Search Engine Optimization, a reasonable Google ad spend and marketing or advertising on social media. Many business I talk to have dabbled in these, but they often put off decisions for years. They get wrapped up in their day to day and “marketing” is something they’ll get to later. Just think how much business they lost by not starting a serious digital marketing campaign 2-5 years ago.

“Move faster than you think you can. Speed is essential when you’re scaling and even more critical in a crisis,” said Linked In co-founder Reid Hoffman on the “Masters of Scale” podcast. “In order to move fast, you need to build up your tolerance for minor errors…If you decide something in a way that I wouldn’t, that’s far better than you waiting for my approval and waiting for the moment.”  (Listen to the podcast episode here: https://mastersofscale.com/8-lessons/)

Be the First to Act

On the positive side, I’ve seen some companies benefit from quick decisions. A long-time client of mine bought a keyword-strong domain name, GlassWhiteboard.com, early in its existence. This quick decision paid many dividends over the last 10 years. Had they waited, a competitor would have bought the name and ranked higher in Google search, and in the end, gained significant sales and market share.

What would have happened if the company decided they first had to write a strategic plan? Or discuss the purchase in a board meeting before acting?

During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Mary Barra, chairman and CEO of General Motors, managed a quick transition when the company started manufacturing ventilators and related products.

“Something usually would take two weeks to get all the buy-in and all the approvals and they got it done in 24 hours.” Barra said on the same podcast. “Occasionally is there going to be a mistake or a problem? Yes, but the odds are it’s going to happen very infrequently and when it does we’ll fix it. ..for the few times it won’t work out perfectly, we’ll just move on.”

I couldn’t agree more. Mistakes will happen when you act quickly as well as when you take extensive time to plan. At least the faster route has the time advantage.

Today’s Customers are Fast-Paced and Savvy – Don’t Underestimate Them

Just this week I spoke to a client who gets weekly business inquiries from their website. But, they don’t have visitor stats to learn more about user behavior. It’s a huge opportunity. Website visitors (potential customers) are judging you based on your image more than ever. They notice your website. They notice your reviews and social media presence. If they consider you unprofessional, you’ll never hear from them; they’ll be giving business to your competitor. So you may think you’re OK, with that one inquiry a week. But maybe you could have had 10 inquiries!

“The world is moving quickly, our industry is transforming quickly, and I feel very confident in the strategy we have, but no one’s going to wait for us,” Barra added. “We had teams that they didn’t go through a couple levels of review. They just said ‘I know I’ve got to get this done, I know it’s the right thing to do, I’m going to do it.”

Does Speed Sacrifice Quality?

So do I really think, as I claim in this post title, that speed is more important than quality? I do. I’ve learned my clients appreciate speed, a max effort, quick turnaround time and a good relationship over perfection.

On the other side I’ve seen habitual stalling of projects, which means no results at all.

I’ve seen companies move quickly, for example early adopters of marketing on YouTube or Facebook, that earned an audience before their competitors did.

Does this mean any level of “quality” is acceptable? No. However, with 10 years running jSinger Marketing and 20 years in the marketing and advertising industry, odds are slim that I create a marketing campaign of poor quality. At worst it will be average, and then can tweaked and improved. But you can’t go back in time to start earlier, so timing is crucial. Also, I typically team up with business owners who are experienced as well. They have a good idea of their audience, what might work and what wouldn’t. Their instincts are on target. The odds of them missing the mark completely are slim. Together there’s no reason we can’t launch a successful marketing campaign in a short window.

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