In his blog, Seth Godin takes a look at what he called "marketing potholes" -- those nagging, common problems that slow us down and screw us up. Here's an especially deep pothole: I'll know it when I see it.
Lots of marketers ... like to say, "I'll know it when I see it."
That's why they want to see three or five or twenty executions of an ad.... That's why marketers put their staff and their freelancers and their agencies through an infinite loop of versioning.
"I'll know it when I see it."
Actually, you won't.
Maybe you've been jerked around by I'll know it when I see it. Maybe you've said it. I'll know it when I see it is an illusion. It's created by the fact that you see successful, proven things all the time; you know what they look like -- so you must know good when you see it, right? Wrong. All you know is what other people's successful work looks like. That's the wrong yardstick for your as-to-be-created work.
We don't know what success looks like before it happens. We can only apply the wisdom, principles, and experience we have -- brought together by our own creative spark. The one thing I can guarantee you about your next big success -- it won't look just like something you've seen before.
Here are the ingredients for the real successes -- the ones you haven't seen before, the ones that break through:
- High expectations.
- Crystal-clear goals.
- Lots of experience.
- Passion and commitment.
- Willingness to take risks.
- Top-notch skills.
- A little bit of magic.
These things will bring you spectacular successes -- and failures. And they won't give you things you were expecting to see.
Seth's Pothole #3 is similar, and just as good: What will the boss think. It's about the weird ways we censor ourselves because of the power we imagine others have over us:
Great marketing pleases everyone on the team, sooner or later. But at the beginning, great marketing pleases almost no one. At the beginning, great marketing is counter-intuitive, non-obvious, challenging and apparently risky.