Discover more from The Leaders Letters - From Danny Denhard @ Focus
👩💼👨💼 Leaders Letter 175 - The Good, Better, Best Trap
There's A New System In Town - Good Enough, Good, Better, Best & Greatest
Dear leaders, if you have worked in a corporate environment, you will likely hear the phrase: good, better, best.
For those unfamiliar. The concept is easy, you have three quality categories to fall into:
Good (or good enough for the users)
(slightly) better (than others),
best (the best in the market)
Many still need help to use simple ways of comparing themselves or features (or disciplines like Marketing) into scores or categories.
This is a super simple way for anyone from the most junior to the most senior to understand where they are.
These categories are easy to apply to yourself and your competitors in a table or matrix and then go a layer deeper when reviewing your own products and features.
Making Good, Better, Best Work In A Plan
What is more challenging is to say why there is a difference and the steps to take from good to better and then to best and then provide a dedicated timeline to get there.
Product teams especially can struggle to provide this on their roadmap and know with confidence their competitors aren't doing the same or accelerating away.
Over the last few years, we landed in a place where good could have been a barrier too high, good enough likely could have been added especially since 2019.
Let's be honest, there are two other categories on the scale:
1/ Good Enough
Being ruthless, “good enough” is where many market leaders truly are, they leverage their huge ecosystems or heavily invest in core features that make them seem much better than it is.
There’s a layer that many don’t talk about and that’s greatest.
The reason why greatest matters, best is sometimes not enough, even with the greatest tools or apps as a company you can still struggle to make it pop or become an industry leader.
Being seen as the greatest is often a tag you won’t really want once given externally. Let’s dive into why…
Better Or Best Is Powerful For Market Leaders Currently
Many products have shaped our experience and our reference point into a market we see as the best. This is often flawed but we rarely go looking for the greater product or switching cost is so high we just don’t. Here are a couple of examples:
Facebook has struggled to develop their own hit since the big blue app went live in 2008. They have had to buy the best in the market to continue their growth, including their acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp. Threads haven’t set the world alight since launch and are proof Meta can acquire or drive users quickly but can they keep users on a “good enough product”.
There are many better products on the market but this is the social media leader and knows how to port users and gain huge buzz.
Many Apple products are believed at best but aren’t the greatest. I love my Airpods Pro headphones, they changed my working style and enabled me to seamlessly shift between iPhone, iPad and my Macbook without any issues and kept me connected (alongside the great battery life). The microphone is terrible being Bluetooth-based and doesn’t help with calls without Apple's update on background noise reduction (and some echo reduction) and podcast interviews. The issue for most customers we haven’t looked for, seen, used/experienced or heard of the greater products or are extremely expensive - we won’t ever purchase them.
Google is often seen as the (only for some) best search engine and search experience but it isn’t, it is often the only one have used and most often is the default search engine across their browsers (paying billions to Apple to be the default on the Safari browser), on their phone (if you have an iPad and use safari and use Gmail, see how hard google pushes its search and downloading chrome to own search) and on their devices at home and work.
The Potential Trap Of The Greatest
We have seen the “greatest” products launch and then bomb quickly.
They launch and either don’t have enough marketing budget, they haven’t promoted the app enough, don’t gain traction with the early adopters or they have sold quickly understanding funding won’t ever be enough.
Greatest is often a trap for startups and challenger brands. If you believe you are the greatest when you are at a large brand, you will likely need to revisit the scoring…
Audit To Know Where You Really Are
If you were to audit your product features or marketing efforts, how would you audit your business efforts?
Good enough (0-3)
Hint: By adding in the score you can show how you move the needle and be honest that you might be a 1 on good enough and can only get to a 6 as better.
The scoring and associated timeline will be invaluable for the business to understand your development and Marketing decisions.
And if you are higher on the scale (better or above), what do you need to do not to lose against competitors with bigger ecosystems, better distribution and strong moats?
This week’s focus action is to audit your Product and Marketing to understand where you are on the scale and what you need to do to really improve your performance and build for the next 18 months. If you default to AI - you need to run better auditing ;-)
Thanks and have a great week!