Perfectionism is often seen as a desirable trait in business. We may assume that pushing ourselves and our teams to improve and exceed expectations constantly will lead to success. However, when it comes to marketing, perfectionism can actually be a hindrance to growth. The pursuit of perfection is time-consuming and can prevent marketers from taking risks, trying new tactics, and adapting to changes in the market. In this post, we’ll dive into the downsides of perfectionism in marketing and explore strategies for managing it.
Perfectionism can be paralyzing
When we set impossibly high standards for ourselves, we can become paralyzed by fear of failure. This can lead to a reluctance to launch campaigns or initiatives until they are “perfect.” Unfortunately, perfection is often unattainable, and by the time we feel we’ve achieved it, the opportunity may have passed us by. To combat this, focus on progress over perfection. Set realistic goals and timelines, and aim to improve as you go continuously.
Perfectionism can stifle creativity
In our quest for perfection, we may become rigid in our thinking and resistant to trying new things. Creativity thrives on experimentation and taking risks, yet this can feel risky when we’re committed to a perfect outcome. To break out of this mindset:
- Prioritize ideation and experimentation.
- Encourage your team to come up with new ideas, and don’t be afraid to try something that hasn’t been done before.
- Celebrate failure as a learning opportunity, and use the insights gained to inform future strategies.
Perfectionism can create a narrow focus
When we’re focused on achieving perfection in a specific area, we may neglect other important aspects of our marketing strategy. For example, we might obsess over the perfect email subject line but fail to optimize the landing page that recipients are directed to. To avoid this:
- Prioritize a holistic marketing approach.
- Consider all touchpoints in the customer journey and optimize each one for maximum impact.
- Start with trying a simple approach first, analyze it, and optimize from there.
Perfectionism can hinder agility
In today’s fast-moving markets, the ability to pivot quickly is essential. If we’re too committed to a specific plan or outcome, we may miss opportunities or fail to respond to changes in the industry. To increase agility:
- Establish a culture of experimentation and iteration.
- Test and measure everything, and use data to inform your decisions.
- Be willing to pivot quickly if you see a better path forward.
Strategies for managing perfectionism in marketing
First, become aware of the downsides of perfectionism and acknowledge when it’s holding you and your team back. Are you or your team hesitant to move forward with an idea for fear it won’t be successful? Worse, are your team members less likely to present an idea because you’re likely to shoot it down if it doesn’t fit your overly high standards?
Next, establish clear goals and expectations, and track your progress towards them regularly. Encourage a mindset of experimentation and iteration, and make it safe for your team to share and learn from failures. This point is extremely important. So much so, why don’t you go ahead and give it another read: be comfortable with failure.
Finally, embrace agility by staying current on industry trends, analyzing campaigns, having conversations with teams and customers, and being willing to pivot quickly when necessary (aka, know when you’re wrong and do something about it).
Perfectionism can be a double-edged sword in marketing. While it may seem desirable, it can hinder growth by inhibiting creativity, creating narrow focus, and slowing down agility. By acknowledging the downsides of perfectionism and embracing a mindset of progress over perfection, experimentation, and agility, businesses can create marketing strategies that are not only effective but also dynamic and adaptable. So, let go of perfectionism, embrace the unknown, and watch your marketing grow.