Perfect is the enemy of good (Jay Heyman)

30900823 Drew’s Note:  As I try to do every Friday, I’m pleased to bring you a guest post from yet another interesting thought leader who shares his insights via the blogosphere. Without further ado, meet Jay Heyman.  Enjoy!

Good times and bum times, the one thing we all need to do to is find a way to stand out from our competition. You know, the 740 other people you can uncover in the Yellow Pages or with a Google search that do exactly what you do.

Well, don’t tell your competition, but I am suggesting to you that the most important part of your marketing is the idea.

Yes, I know that the creative portion is just part of the total marketing mix. You have all the other traditional elements of marketing to consider, such as pricing, research, media selection and channels of distribution.

Pick the wrong price point? Painful!

Misinterpret your research? Ouch!

But if you fail to make your marketing conspicuous, get it wrong or get it bland — you will suffer the death of a thousand silent cash registers. However if you use the power of a good idea to get attention, you will build market share, get publicity, appear larger than you really are and make your competition nervous…while actually having fun.


A good idea sounds fresh and new and presents itself in an arresting manner. It will slow down the audience, grab attention, and invite further inspection of your message. An unexpected splash of color, the precise word in a headline, a stopper of an illustration, a twist on your usual message, a new target, a different execution – anything can help create a good idea. The Coke spot with two Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade balloons trying to capture the bottle, and Charlie Brown emerging the surprise winner is one very random example of a good idea. But good ideas don’t rely on big budgets. A local landscaping company that uses the name, "Holly, Wood and Vine" is a good idea.


The good news is that you don’t need to find a "great" marketing idea. And actually there are lots of reasons not to try to develop one. While you are waiting for the "world’s greatest " idea you will find yourself conscientiously discarding all the ideas you create, judging them as not being good enough, or a little trite, or not quite clever enough. You will never satisfy yourself sufficiently to actually use one of them.

Keep prodding, tweaking, and tampering with something good, trying to turn it into something perfect, and you will not just miss a lot of important deadlines. It is possible you might never get there at all, in effect turning a good idea into no idea.

Good ideas, with words and ideas that are fresh and unexpected will jump off the page, the TV set, the computer and do handsprings, whistle off-key, anything it takes to grab attention and shout, "Look at me. Look at me!"

And that’s close enough to perfect for anybody.

Jay H. Heyman is co-founder and creative director of Porte Advertising, a sixteen-year old ad agency in Manhattan. His latest book is All You Need Is A Good Idea! (How To Create Marketing Messages That Actually Get Results). It is available online, at your favorite bookstore, or through his blog, which he invites you to visit often, so he can test his stat counter.

Every Friday is "grab the mic" day.  Want to grab the mic and be a guest blogger on Drew’s Marketing Minute?  Shoot me an e-mail.