The problem with ‘good enough’

There are two ways to lose to ‘good enough.’

The first is to believe that you can get away with good enough much longer.

As consumer choices continue to expand, as the pace of innovation increases, as the battle for our attention reaches a fevered pitch, as it becomes more and more difficult for anyone to separate the signal from the noise, your solid, yet undifferentiated, value proposition is going to lose out to the remarkable and the more relevant. Good enough just isn’t anymore.

The second way is to over-estimate the strength of your brand. A specific, very topical, example may be helpful here.

Sears owns and sells several well-known proprietary brands, such as Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard. One can do consumer surveys–as I have done many times in the past–that clearly indicate that the #1 brand choice for major appliances is Kenmore, the #1 brand choice for tools is Craftsman and the #1 battery choice is Diehard. Many consumers will even state that if they needed any of these products in the next week that their preferred place to shop is at Sears. Yet, both Sears and these private brands have been leaking market share for well over a decade. How come?

Well, If I’m working on a major kitchen remodel and I need not only appliances, but also cabinets, a countertop, fixtures and the like, I might prefer Kenmore, but the appliance selection at Home Depot or Lowe’s is very likely good enough for me to achieve the overall solution I desire.

If I’m working on a DIY project and it turns out I need a new drill to get the job done, I’m headed to a home improvement warehouse or hardware store that has all the key items required to complete the task. Am I likely to get back in my car and make an extra trip to the mall to buy the Craftsman drill, or am I likely to view the selection of national brand choices where I already am as good enough?

If my car battery dies, the chances are the replacement is coming from the closest service station or from wherever I’m towed. Regardless of my stated preference for DieHard, in the context of my needs at the moment of truth, just about any brand that is available to me is good enough.

In matters of spirituality, accepting that we are good enough just as we are leads to greater serenity.

In matters of the marketplace, misunderstanding the power of good enough may have far more dire consequences.



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