Does the Early Bird Get the Win?

When it comes to marketing launches, new campaigns, and taking risks, is it more important to get everything right or is it more important to get your message out there as soon as possible?

Some people might be familiar with the phrase, “perfect is the enemy of good.” This means that a worthwhile idea should be pursued even before it’s a completely proven, known, surefire concept. It means trusting your gut. It means that, as an idiom attributed to Confucious states, “It’s better to have a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.” It means that when you do have a wonderful brainstorm, it can often be picked apart (with good intentions, striving to refine it to perfection) to the point that it’s stripped of all of its best characteristics. It can mean that working harder on something actually makes it worse, not better. It can mean that waiting for a golden chariot to carry you forward means you never take a single step on your own.

But it can also mean that if you work and work and work on an idea, trying to get it right, you’ll miss your window of letting a “good enough” idea make the greatest possible impact. Impeccable timing could pass you by, or you might come onto the scene second or third instead of first.

So for marketing campaigns, product launches, or outreach, what’s more important?

There’s not one right answer for everyone at all times, but here are a few ways to decide:

1- Are you doing something novel, where the benefit could come from being the first or beating others to the punch? Sometimes, the benefit of novelty can really outshine something no matter how great it is (if it’s similar to something that’s already been done). Because, as it’s been said, there are hardly any truly new ideas left in the world. So if you’re debuting one, and if there’s a chance someone might beat you, then go ahead and err on the side of getting it out there. You can always refine and reiterate at a later date, but you’ll always be able to claim you were first.

2- Do you believe that a little more time and elbow grease will really lead you to that holy grail of a “perfect” marketing deliverable? It could be true. Settling is not always the right choice. Rushing can lead to mistakes or less of an impact than you were hoping. But if you’re a person who believes (and, ideally, can prove or defensibly predict) that “there is one best solution” and that a little more time will build ROI, then it can be worth holding out for that final result. In this case, it’s best to at least determine timetable benchmarks of your ultimate go-to-market dates and stretch goals to make sure you’re holding yourself accountable rather than always chasing a moving target.

3- Are you able to tell the difference between perfect and good? If you’re going to toil away at something in pursuit of an elusive idea of “perfect,” in the “I’ll know it when I see it” sense, but you can’t describe- quantify or qualify- what it is you’re going after, then you might be on a wild goose chase. In the end, there’s no way of knowing if your end result is meaningfully better or worse than an earlier version, or what the delay might’ve cost you. The only way to really know, or perhaps compromise, is to do an A/B test by releasing both versions. But even then, once the first has been launched, it’s hard to ever know what the second, in a universe where the first never existed, would have accomplished. If you’re not sure, then it’s best to settle for good.

Once you’ve weighed the pros and cons, risks and rewards, of each option, you’ll come to have a much better idea of whether it’s smarter to rush your work forward or keep it in your hands until you’re perfectly confident that it’s in its best possible form.

And if there’s any doubt left about release timing versus quality control, you can always request consultation from an external agency like Mad 4 Marketing. Contact us anytime.

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