How to Compete Against “Good Enough”

Justin Daab

Consumers increasingly expect good, fast and cheap. As new technologies lower barriers to entry to many industries, the price/value equation skews dramatically toward the lowest margin position, and often consumers feel like they can find a satisfactory mix of good, fast and cheap. Or, at least, “good enough”. And, when this happens, all too often the incumbent players in the market either don’t see the threat looming or they dismiss it as inadequate, until it’s too late. Let’s see what lessons we can learn when examining the rise of YouTube over the past decade and a few competitive responses from within the television industry.

“Good enough” never looks threatening, at first

Imagine you were a television producer in 2006 and someone showed you this:

You couldn’t be blamed for dismissing this new user-generated video phenomenon as no threat to your business model. But as the technology quickly and continually improved, and high-definition cameras were built into nearly every mobile computing device, production quality formerly reserved for local broadcast television stations was suddenly dropped firmly the hands of virtually anyone who had the desire and time to create video content. Game on.

“Good enough” emerges at unappealing scale

When this field of new creators was unleashed on us all, they didn’t even come close to commanding the kind of viewing audiences of even the worst performing show on the worst performing cable TV channel. But most of them, fueled by creative passion, would have posted videos for no audience at all. And, as passion is at times contagious, some of those audiences became large enough to generate ad views and commensurate real life-enhancing, if not sustaining, income. The opportunity attracted more and more creators who were serving more and more niche markets with more and more content. This eventually resulted in a critical mass of tagged, related and suggested content that was capable of keeping a viewer discovering and engaged for hours at a time. And more critically for our aforementioned television executive, these creators began to influence the default viewing behaviors of the new generation who were growing up online.

“Good enough” chips away at traditional markets

As Gen Z grew up watching online video—most of it firmly entrenched in the “good enough” level of production—the connection to traditional television waned. In fact, contact us. Or, click around our site to see all of the other ways we help we help our clients outsmart, outmessage and outmarket larger competitors, to steal their most profitable customers.


Magnani is an experience design and strategy firm that crafts transformational digital experiences to delight users and deliver sustainable competitive market advantages for our clients.


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