Good morning! Today I'm hosting Seth Godin on his book tour for Free Prize Inside: The Next Big Marketing Idea. We're on day 5 of the book tour, so there have already been a ton of great Q&A with Seth. Here's the first question that popped out at me when I was reading the book...
Q. Seth, you say about quality: “Of course your product has to be good enough… but being very good is bad. Being very good is invisible.” But that seems to conflict with the observations in “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. All the companies in his book demonstrated average cumulative stock returns 6.9 times the general market in the fifteen years following their transition from good to great. One of the three core tenets these companies followed is “What can you be the best in the world at?” After comparing great companies versus good companies, Jim concludes that “good is the enemy of great” and that being “good enough” will prevent you from realizing the financial success of great companies. Can you share your thoughts on this?
A. We’re in violent agreement on this. If you’re not the Mona Lisa, not the best in the world, not the one worth paying extra for, of course you’re not great and you don’t win.
My point about “product has to be good enough” puts the emphasis on the word “product.” Because the basic item—the toothpaste, the candy, the copywriting services—it’s all the same. The commodity part has be good enough, but the free prize has to be great. The Free Prize is the packaging or the way you answer the phone or the pricing or the delivery or the bonus of frequent flyer miles. The Free Prize is a gimmick until it turns into the thing that people actually talk about.
So, yes, your commodity, your product, the thing people THINK they’re buying… that has to be good enough. But your Free Prize has to be great.