The Cost of Quality

A friend of mine recently came to town and stayed with me at my home.  Having brought what seemed like an excessive amount of luggage, she indubitably asked where she could put her stuff and I pointed her towards a closet.  When she saw that it was mostly empty, she joked, “you’re not even using this closet? I could store all my shoes in here.” The weekend went on and this became a common theme as she opened empty cupboards in my kitchen looking for glassware and my other under-utilised storage. It’s not that I don’t own things or even that I’m against hoarding, I just like nice stuff.

I think most of us understand the idea of quantity vs quality, unfortunately, it’s something that gets lost in marketing.  Since more marketing can equal more business, it’s easy to focus on everything your team is not accomplishing, but it’s important to avoid becoming solely obsessed with wanting more.  Before we take on a new client, our marketing team actually scopes out the entire project just to ensure the right volume of work can be produced without sacrificing quality.

There Has to be Standards

Let’s take this out of the digital marketing context, let’s even take it out of a shopping for a product or service online context.  Let’s leave it solely in the context of searching for information online because that is something we all do. When we enter something into a Google search and then go through the results, we often encounter pages that are unattractive — whether that means the site looks out of date, the imagery chosen is unprofessional or cheesy, or the content layout and fonts are poorly chosen, or all of the above.  When this happens, we react by not wanting to read what the page has to say and, regardless of whether or not the answer we seek is there, we unconsciously discredit the legitimacy of the site.

This happened to me recently when I was trying to figure out how to calculate the number of Lumens needed to properly light a living room.  As you might imagine, the sites in my search results were located in the bile of the world’s underbelly.

lumensSomewhere in the culmination of all those un-Godly sites, I was able to get what I needed, but, much like a Porta-Potty, I felt a strong urge to leave all them the second I finished what I needed to do.

The point is, when companies allow marketing to become a numbers game, the marketers working there become a lot less empathetic to the people they are marketing to. And when we do not take the time to worry about the way our marketing makes people feel, people don’t want to subject themselves to it, and we fail.

Doing Things Right

It amazes me the lack of effort I see all the time when marketers are tasked with doing something as simple as posting blogs.  Every best practice tells us that we can stuff blogs full of keywords like they are a Thanksgiving turkey to lure visitors in, but if no one takes the time to write a good article those visitors bounce and the effort is wasted.  Same goes for visitors who arrive to find a blog full of uninspired stock photos and designs that ruin the experience or distract from the overall message.  And when we don’t add CTA’s, we make it easy for visitors to bounce.  All marketers know these things, or should, yet they constantly let themselves down in these areas in order to get blogs up and over with.

We have to recognize that there is a cost to doing things right. Whether that cost is an actual charge or just the time it takes to turn things around, it always costs something. But it’s also always worth it.

Establishing Credibility

Marketing performance also does not depend solely on how much we deliver, but how what we deliver provides credibility in a place where bad quality could do the opposite. You could be a growing carpet cleaning company with only two vans, but if you appear at the top of search results for your location and have a great website, who’s to know the difference between your small business and the biggest competitor in your market? The internet levels the playing field for small businesses.

I would know. I hired the LA carpet cleaning company with the great site and strategically targeted SEO that made them appear to be the most legit of the options that came up in my search results. Had I known they only had two vans in their fleet, I probably would have opted for a larger, more established business, but they presented themselves so well online there was no way to know.  Ultimately, they carried that level of quality through to their carpet cleaning and so it worked out for both of us.

There is another side of that coin, though…you can make an established business look amateur if you don’t put the necessary time and care into your digital presence.

Perception is everything and people trust quality over everything else. Next time you’re pressing to fill your content closet, maybe you should consider packing that closet with high-end quality content instead.