Make Better Broth: Quality Over Quantity

By: Guest | December 1, 2011 | 

Today’s guest post is written by Danny Brown.

There’s an old saying that too many cooks spoil the broth.

This is equally true for businesses, particularly smaller ones.

While it’s essential to grow to continue early success, it’s also important to keep realistic with your aims.

Whether it’s launching new products, starting a PR/marketing/advertising campaign, or adding sections to your website, taking on too much will leave you thinly spread.

And, ultimately, less effective.

Instead, concentrate on one or two growth areas, and make them as strong as they can possibly be. This will allow you solid ground for increasing activity at a later date.

Product Launches

Look at two of the biggest and most successful companies around today – Apple and Microsoft.

When they launch a new product, it’s usually no more than two different products. The iPhone, the iPod, Windows Vista, Xbox – although there may be different versions of the same product for different markets, essentially it still equates to one product line.

This is one of the main reasons why these two companies lead the market in their fields. They keep the new products launched to a minimum for a simple reason – don’t confuse the market. This ensures that people aren’t wondering which version is better – instead, all they need to decide is which colour to buy.

Keep your own product launches restricted to a minimum and build their brand loyalty first. Then expand.

Less Is More

One of the more common mistakes I’ve found in the past is from clients looking to have a huge PR or marketing campaign when, in reality, all that’s needed is a smaller, more targeted one. This isn’t necessarily the client’s fault – more the programming that we tend to receive that bigger is better.

However, unless you have a huge budget to employ multiple agencies or resources, or one that can provide you with dozens of bodies for your account, having a large campaign is invariably just pouring money down the drain.

Additionally, it can lead to a confused message – is Product A better than Product B? Why should I use Product C over A and B?

Instead of confusing your target audience with multiple campaigns, concentrate your efforts on your limited product launch instead.

Reach the audience – consumer and media – that you’re after, knock them for six with an excellent product and promotion, and you’ll find your results will be far stronger than if you throw everything you have at a wall and hope some of it sticks.

It Ain’t What You Do…

Sure, you don’t want to stand still in business. But you don’t want to run too fast or spend money unnecessarily either. If someone tells you that you need to spend so much on something, ask why.

If the answer is because bigger is better, say “Thanks, but no thanks – I’d rather concentrate on quality over quantity.”

After all, quality still counts. Doesn’t it?

Danny Brown is director of retention and social media at Jugnoo, Inc., and an award-winning marketer and blogger. His blog is recognized as one of the leading marketing blogs in the world. Danny is also the author of The Parables of Business.

  • Your post resonates. I’ve been spending some time figuring out what my real focus is with my business. I think I was confusing people with my message, so it’s time to refocus and refine.

    • @Erin F. Hey there Erin, glad to help, and here’s to more focus. 🙂

  • Danny,

    This was the exact problem I had with my old job. They wanted their hands in everything and when I would suggest that we were taking on too much they would say I was ‘negative’ I was not being negative, but rather, realistic.

    If you are a brand new company and you come out of the gate offering too many products, you more than likely won’t be good at any of them. My bosses wanted to be “experts” and when I told them no one talks that way, I was told I was not a team player. 🙂

    Ah…you just can’t fix stupid I guess.

    • @NancyD68 Your bosses sound like some of my clients. *sigh*

      • @Erin F. I had a boss who was on Facebook and was shirtless in his profile pic. What does that tell you? ;0

        • @NancyD68 Yikes! *features momentarily frozen in a look of horror*

        • @Erin F.@NancyD68 but was he hot Nancy? That is the question!

        • @HowieSPM@Erin F. He is a balding, fat man who looks JUST LIKE Uncle Fester! I swear you can’t make this up!

        • @HowieSPM@NancyD68 I wanted to ask the very same question. I’m glad I didn’t. He looks like Uncle Fester? Ewww. Gross.

        • @Erin F.@HowieSPM You have no idea how creepy that guy was.

    • @NancyD68 Sounds like your old company didn’t know a smart person when they saw one, Nancy. And completely agree on the “too many products” example – something so many often forget (or ignore).

      Cheers, miss!

  • Thanks for this post Danny. I’ve been debating with myself over many of these very issues and you’ve basically confirming my decisions. It makes me feel much more comfortable with the direction we’re going.

    Funny… I posted a Facebook Question of the Week to Gini regarding some of this a few weeks ago, but it seems you beat her to it. 🙂

    –Tony Gnau

    • @T60Productions see @ginidietrich left Facebook for G+ about the time you posted your question Tony. Her FB page is run by Siri now and sometimes she has problems with context and actions.

    • @T60Productions Cheers, Tony, glad it helped, and not surprised about the Quesstion of the Week result – everyone knows lisa gerber is the true brains behind Spin Sucks and makes @ginidietrich look good. 😉

      • @DannyBrown@T60Productions@ginidietrich LOL, you’re just being nice to me because I got you through the Danny Brown Blackout.

        • @Lisa Gerber@T60Productions@ginidietrich

          I know when to butter my toast.

  • Enjoyed this Danny. You’re spot on. I’ve found that a highly target, loyal audience is far more valuable than a stack of loose connections.

    In many respects perhaps this is why podcasts and email marketing seem to be more valuable to me for lead generation compared to blogging and twitter per se.

    • Where’s Erica Allison? @jonbuscall I think every time we say “Spot On” we owe her licensing fees.

    • @jonbuscall And that’s why I always smile when I see the “email is crap for lead generation”, mate. Um, no – sending a crap message using the wrong medium is crap for lead generation, not the platform itself. 😉

  • ginidietrich

    I’m not sure how you made it through the “No Danny Brown” police here. Hrumph.

    This is the old niche, niche, niche. When you’re small or starting out, you feel like you have to take any business just to keep the lights on. But it’s not a strategy that works for very long.

    • @ginidietrich I’m not sure how I or @NancyD68 managed that, either.

      I thought my younger brother was the one who had to learn lessons the hard way, but it appears I have the same problem. I guess hard-learned lessons are the best remembered ones, though.

    • @ginidietrich Now, now, Gin, who are you kidding here? You’ve been begging me to write here for over 6 months. I acquiesced because you released the puppy you were holding hostage. 🙂

  • This is similar to our philosophy at the insurance agency I work with. In essence, we could write any line of insurance we want, and write every cat and dog that came along. However, we choose to be strategic in identifying our ‘ideal’ customer and have a very specific focus on the things we do very well. It allows us to pay attention to what is most important and be more profitable per employee. Revenue per employee is a typical benchmark in our industry and we stack up quite well vs our peers.

    We will take quality over quantity all day long.

    A smart strategy indeed; thanks for sharing and good to see you at Gini’s, hopefully she was cordial.

    • @bdorman264 every business needs to identify their ideal customer. That is where 80% of your sales and support efforts should go to. But the problem often is comp plans gear towards revenues more than profits. Revenues often prop up cash flow but that doesn’t always mean more at the end of the day. Stock market sometimes will punish a company that is grow their margins but revenue is falling.

      For a private firm like yours Bill this shouldn’t be a problem. I would rather have $2 mil in revenues with $1 mil profits than $10m revenues and $200k in profits.

    • @bdorman264 Great point, mate. Sure, you can be all things to everyone – but in reality you’ll be few things to anyone. So why would you even bother?

      As for @ginidietrich , she was a pain in the ass. Thankfully lisa gerber was much nicer.

      • @DannyBrown@ginidietrichlisa gerber Imagine that….

  • The problem for businesses big and small is often advertising, PR, and parts of marketing are outsourced. And when they outsource pay isn’t commission based. It is a % of the spend. So the vendors are incentivized to oversell. And it is up to the business to be smart and not over spend. But if you have no experience or knowledge about this it is easy to get fleeced. Or of course they can consult with me 😉

  • The problem for businesses big and small is often advertising, PR, and parts of marketing are outsourced. And when they outsource pay isn’t commission based. It is a % of the spend. So the vendors are incentivized to oversell. And it is up to the business to be smart and not over spend. But if you have no experience or knowledge about this it is easy to get fleeced. Or of course they can consult with me 😉

    As to the rest you are dead on. Restaurants are a great example. Instead of having one or two signature dishes they often try to have many average dishes thinking that will be the signature. When really everything then underwhelms.

    • @HowieSPM They can consult with you for the marketing, advertising, and PR. They can consult with me for the writing. 😉

      I like the restaurant example. It’s the signature dishes – possibly even just the signature – that cause people to return, not dishes that are like everyone else’s. Mmm. I want to go to Crave. That place has amazing desserts and a lovely spinach and artichoke dip. It also has an awesome atmosphere: eclectic decor and electronica background music.

    • @HowieSPM Agreed, mate, and the outsourcing question is a good one, since that takes up a lot of allocated time that could/should be spent internally. And, of course, when you oversell, you add more time to the process as the business owner goes into damage limitation mode. 😉

  • Would you rather publish one very high quality post in a month, or one high quality post in a week or ten normal ones in a week? Quality over quantity argument is very applicable, but to what extent?

    • @Raj-PB You decide. One person’s quality is another person’s crud. The way I’d do it is, if *you’re* happy with it, it’s quality. Write for you first, your readers second.

  • LauLau81

    I agree with quality over quantity… If the users are satisfied with the quality, they will keep in coming back for more… They will become loyal to you…

  • rhonda hurwitz

    I love this post, Danny. I’ve been feeling this for a while, thx for giving it words. F-o-c-u-s = effectiveness.

    • @rhonda hurwitz Know how I always use “focus”?

      “Focus Or Come Up Short.”

      Worked for me so far. 😉

  • NinjaPR

    I really agree with this post, especially in times of recession when not knowing the market and how to reach it without confusing it can kill a business. Know exactly what you want to achieve, make sure it is realistic and realisable with the means you have. Having high quality standards and making sure that you reach them through tailored campaigns will prove itself to be much more effective, at least on the long run! Focus will help especially small business to build brand identity and awareness, save money and not lose themselves in confusing, messy campaigns.

    If you want to see into the mind of PR professionals of the future, me and some of my fellow students have been writing a blog on PR and ethical issues.

    • @NinjaPR Glad you raised the QA angle. So many businesses don’t even have the simplest QA practices in place, and then wonder why they’re all over the place…

  • danielnewmanUV

    wait – what the heck is dannybrown doing writing on this blog?

    I thought your involvement here was limited to wise ass remarks in the comments of any and all ginidietrich posts?

    • @danielnewmanUVdannybrown has yet to make an appearance. Maybe a gremlin or an elf wrote the post? ginidietrich

      • danielnewmanUV

        @Erin F.dannybrownginidietrich Erin F…you have him all figured out. I always saw more of a Wolf though. In sheep clothing of course.

    • ginidietrich

      @danielnewmanUVdannybrown Yeah…it wasn’t up to me.

      • danielnewmanUV

        @ginidietrich so you are now letting anyone write for Spin Sucks? I heard seanmcginnis is looking for someone that will post his stuff????

        • @danielnewmanUV@ginidietrichseanmcginnis Gini is so sick of me, she referred me along to others…. Now Crain’s get’s to put up with my typos. LOL!

    • @danielnewmanUV Why don’t you stick to loving Klout? 😉 cc: @Erin F. @ginidietrich

      • danielnewmanUV

        @DannyBrown@Erin F.@ginidietrich Who told you about my Klout addiction….

  • I wrote a post this week about creative thermostats (my series on creativity). As an Apple offshoot, I learned a bunch about these guys’ go-to-market strategy — exactly what you said — let the product enter, get comfy in a niche, and then stampede the market. (Currently, Nest The Learning Thermostat) is getting comfy; just making itself known.

    We can all learn a bunch from this — time may feel like it’s not on our side, but it has to be otherwise, we’re sloppy.

    • @Soulati | PR There’s a reason everyone says, “We want to be the next Apple.” And it wasn’t because Jobs was the nicest guy on the planet, and everyone wanted to emulate his cuddliness. 😉

      The time factor is always overused too – if you don’t allocate the right time to the right stuff, you’ll end up having way too much time on your hands because you won’t have a product or business in the marketplace.

      Cheers, Jayme!

  • It always falls back to fear. Fear of leaving money on the table because you were too focused and left a potential customer out. But I couldn’t agree more. And To @HowieSPM ‘s point, restaurants are a classic example. If I look on the menu and see Mexican, Italian and American…. I know they can’t be doing any one of them really well.

    And I don’t understand what you’ve done to get so beat up here by the crazies. I think it’s fun to see your mug on the blog!!!

    • @Lisa Gerber@HowieSPM Great point, Lisa – the ironic thing is by being afriad of fear, then you’re actually saying you’re afraid of success. There’s nothing wrong with failure – there’s plenty wrong with failing to act because of fear.

      I think @ginidietrich gave everyone gin to be mean to me. 🙂

  • joecardillo

    Reminds me of Silicon Valley’s “fail early fail often.” Too many people focus on doing everything instead of shorter cycles to see what works, and when something works then expanding.

    • @joecardillo Dammit, Joe, where were you 48 hours ago when I was trying to recall that quote for a presentation??? 🙂

      So true. No-one built a 100 meter telescope first; they started with the 10mm one. There’s a reason for that. 🙂

  • Nope, quality means nothing. Quantity is everything — to Forbes Magazine, apparently, after reading which is about quantity defining social influence.

    Me, I say you’re correct Danny. But Forbes? Good luck to their readers for seeing past the link bait.

    • @Ari Herzog I saw that list. Nothing like boring same old, same old journalism, huh? If you can call it that… 😉

  • Great blog! This was a good refresher.