The Argument for Quality over Quantity

In every marketer’s career, we hear something that sounds like this:  “I appreciate your high quality standards, but what we really need right now is QUANTITY.”  

Here’s reality — those ridiculous, unrealistic people who nag you to lower your standards will never go away.  Ever.  Whether it’s the CEO, sales manager (or sometimes, yes, even your Marketing VP), someone will coax you to ease up on your quality standards for the sake of getting more done.  The problem is, these well-meaning folks have no idea what “quantity over quality” really means, nor at what cost.

In a growing, entrepreneurial company, the demand for MarCom output will always exceed your resources to produce it.  Your job is to manage it, not fall victim to it.

If you’re with a growth-oriented company (which is where I hope you are), the pressure is even greater, to the point of insane.   Naturally you’re passionate about your craft and will do what it takes to move the company forward.  If that’s who you are (especially if you’re a pleaser),  you will set yourself up for failure.  

Your passion will sign you up for unrealistic deliverables and, in the end, your work is sub-par and ineffective.  You feel like a sell-out , look like a poor performer, and your boss is oblivious as to why you couldn’t manage his expectations.

So, what to do?  Let’s get the textbook answer out of the way, first.

Make sure you have shared understanding of your company’s goals and how your efforts roll up to them (see, I told you it was textbook).  

Here’s the kicker, though. It’s your responsibility to know the explicit details of these things, which means ASK, don’t just wait for someone to deliver them in a powerpoint presentation or on a poster. If you’re under pressure to to deliver more output, you need to understand what has changed — or should change — among these mission-critical elements: 

  • Measurable Corporate Goals
  • Prioritization of Marketing Goals
  • Strategic Marketing Plan
  • Tactical Marketing Mix
  • Budget
  • Assumptions  

Arm yourself with some smart advice about business goals in Guy Kawasaki‘s latest book, Reality Check. Look specifically at the chapter entitled The Art of Execution.  

If nothing else, Guy will open your eyes to the likelihood that your company goals are more subjective than you think. Don’t overlook the last bullet in this list, which is knowing what assumptions were made when the goals and budget were set.

Next up: my not-so-textbook answer for defending your right to preserve quality over quantity.

3 thoughts on “The Argument for Quality over Quantity

  1. Pingback: Blogging Workload: a Poll « Dig Deep Thinker

  2. Quality over Quantity sounds like some mathematical equation. Rather, I suggest the marketer view Quality and Quantity more like ingredients for a soup whose elements blend together and require just the right degree of both for the best outcome, along with a range of other inputs. Too watery a soup, and all the chef has produced is broth. Too little herbs or spices, and the chef has merely put foodstuffs in a stockpot. Is the soup to be served cold or as a hot soup, and how hot?

    For the appetites (in the market) to be satisfied, for the server (seller) to ensure the market client is getting what they order, marketing gathers input and forecasts future wants and needs to set the stage for a delicately prepared and flavorful bowlfull. The delivery is built up from qualifying and quantifying appetites and requirements of customers to greater or lesser degrees. From that basis, marketers make every effort to meet the blend of quantity and quality expectations of the marketplace participants.

    Marketing as a discipline and marketers by their nature, range widely in the elements and approaches. Those who are data driven may have substantial resources with which to work, to serve the sales support needs of the organization. National and international marketing organizations have substantial resources and data with which to work. A mom-and-pop small business, is getting feedback and market information on a more localized basis from whatever breadth of resources might be available. In today’s business environment, commonly, the marketer is the business development professional in the organization.

    The marketer is thus relied upon to be sensitive to the financial, operational, human resource requirements and capabilities as well as serving as an external psychologist, understanding the drives of the marketplace for a particular product or service. Identifying the value demand, and not the value supplied to the market through that which the enterprise offers is sometimes done qualitatively, other times quantitatively. Refining competitive pricing with the financial accountants, determining optimal production quantity in manufacturing or hardware requirements in technology enterprises to meet the market demand can be important areas of collaboration for the marketer, driven by quantitative factors, yet underpinned by qualitative factors at the same time.

    The bullets in the list are superb guideposts for applying the marketing mission to the company strategy. Keeping these parameters top-of-mind in all marketing pursuits, will help the organization leadership, be it the marketing department, the product or service organization or the whole company to remain tracking toward the goals and objectives that intertwine for overall success.

    The development and maintenance of crisp presentation materials, sustaining the color palette for branding consistency, ensuring that staff are expressing the company core messages, vision and mission while adhering to the principles embedded within those expressions are more qualitative approaches for a marketer to consider, yet each requires a modicum of quantitative evaluation, too.

    Finding the right blend of quality and quantity of information, materials or resources given time constraints, personnel time and resources, or other finite limits to support the business more broadly.

    From where I sit –
    Bottom line: Blend quality and quantity in the right degrees as much as possible.

  3. I liked this article. I read it in the context of a sporting event. In this context it’s quite funny and ironic – at least to me. It’s like telling a football team that they just need to run MORE plays. Not necessarily plays that lead to an increase in the score – just more plays. Of course, this is a ridiculous premise and one that is likely to tire out the players and cause the other team to score more and win.

    However, if a football coach takes the title of this post to heart and executes against it literally he (yes, football coaches are all “he’s” today) could claim victory. He could claim that he ran more plays – he had more quantity. Of course, this is NOT how sports teams or businesses are measured. The coach that puts together a QUALITY over QUANTITY set of plays will usually be victorious.

    Much like a business manager putting together a program that emphasizes quality over quantity. Their victory may take more than 60 minutes to realize, but the end results are effectively the same. They get to live to play another day and hopefully they learned a bit more on the way.

    Jeff Shuey
    Jeff_shuey@hotmail.com
    Blog: http://jshueywa.blogspot.com/
    Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jshuey

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