What does brilliant look like?

On a regular basis, on a variety of subjects both technical and non-technical, but all related to Customer Experience and Marketing Automation and the intersection of people, processes, data and technology, I often get asked “what does good look like?”.

On this open, if demanding, question, younger Tim would have done his best to diligently answer based on the curious combination of experience and imagination required to excel as a modern consultant in the marketing arena. However, in recent years I’ve found myself digging a little deeper, and turning the question back on its asker, and challenging them instead with “what does brilliant look like?”.

Being good, just isn’t good enough 

I’m not preaching perfection and not only because that does not exist in any functionally useful sense. The phrase that often springs to mind for me is “the perfect is the enemy of the good”, by good old Voltaire, never short of a few practical sayings. Nonetheless there is a definite and obvious sense of diminishing returns the longer you spend on any single problem, the old Pareto ‘eighty-twenty’ principle at play.

Despite this, if you do only the good, can you really, truly, hand on heart be sure that you are doing more than your competitors are to give your customers the best possible experience and stay front of mind next time they are looking to offload a share of their wallet onto a supplier of products or services like your good self? 

Another aspect to consider is a phrase you often hear thrown around heavily by edgy thought leaders at conferences is “If you wait for a case study, you’ve waited too long”, and aphorisms like this do contain a grain of truth when it comes to the pace of innovation, and how quickly, in marketing terms, the shiny strategy can become the tarnished tactic.

After all, when developing towards something new, be it a capability, a function you didn’t have before, greater complexity or velocity, you always must consider the value that will be gained, along with the time to market. 

As for how to find out what brilliant looks like, it’s a conversation I always enjoy having for the intellectual stretch, that endless quest for increasing value and share of customer wallet. I’m sure there are many ways to get there, but for me, I tend to start with what good looks like, including an objective look at the competition, and once that is comprehended, push the envelope a little bit further. We’re not after perfection of course, but somewhere between good and perfect, the brilliant is waiting for you. 

Keep pushing the envelope

To round up, consider the following quotation, variously attributed to Tim Ferris and David Nihill : “If you’re getting chased by a lion, you don’t need to run faster than the lion, just the people running with you”. Applying the analogy to our “what does brilliant look like” mindset is imperfect, but if you imagine that the people running are you and your competitors, and getting away from the lion represents a win, it is easy to see why you might need to be pushing the envelope a little in your innovation. 

Not too far, but just enough to be running faster than the others in your pack. 

If you’d like to have a conversation about staying ahead of the competition, why not get in touch today. 

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