Good/Fast/Cheap and the Two-Factor Decision Model for Marketing Projects

Good Fast Cheap — Pick Two to Prioritize

You and I may not see the world in exactly the same way.

We probably don’t have the same favorite movie, we probably like different sneakers, and we probably look at opportunities with different priorities.

But that’s expected, right? Finding someone that has all the same tastes and perspectives on the world around them would be like finding a unicorn.

Brands don’t see things the same way either. See the same as other brands. Or as consumers see things, or how the consumer sees the brand. Especially when it comes to content, to video, to media that your audience is consuming.

But, that said, I believe there are actually a few things we can absolutely agree on.

When I work with partners, designers, project managers, writers, or literally anyone else, the ideal result is…

  1. High quality
  2. Delivered quickly
  3. Doesn’t cost too much

But the truth is… that’s exactly what it is. An ideal. It’s a unicorn.

Here’s the reality of things…unicorns don’t exist.

This may be a complete surprise to some people.

I used to work at Hasbro and there’s many in the My Little Pony camp that absolutely believe unicorns are real.

(True story. Maybe I did too.)

When you consider those ideal results (quality, speed, cost), it comes down to these three factors:


The center of these 3 circles, achieving all 3 = it doesn’t exist.

It’s important to not temper your expectations, but change your perspective. Pick any two of the above circles, and you’ve got something extremely workable. But done right, you can absolutely be killing it.

So pick two!

Cheap and fast? Expect compromises on quality. Maybe it’s ‘good enough’ or maybe it’s an ‘MVP’ that still gets the job done but we can call it beta for now.

Inexpensive and high quality? It could take a while. Is the deadline worth extending to get the best quality. Maybe, but sometimes speed to market trumps quality. You have to decide based on your brand and market demands.

Incredible quality, completed fast? That’s gonna cost you. It’s possible, but it may crank your costs above where you were looking for a return. Startups scale by going for speed and quality but it’s at a cost.

What’s your two? And it’s good to look at this project by project to determine what your best options are, based on the project criteria, deliverables, budget and timing but especially what your audience is looking for.

Let’s talk about brand content: video, photos, etc.

Brands have incredibly high standards. Like “I would never put out a video that hasn’t been produced, edited, filmed on a iPhone, etc.” So you picked: Incredible quality and maybe expensive to keep moving fast enough.

But is that what your audience cares about? No. They film on their iPhone and it looks like shit, and they are posting 5 times a day. You are making a masterpiece and posting once a whenever. And do you have the budget for that? So who’s winning? The audience.

Your audience has different (lower?) expectations because they are used to watching iPhone TikTok videos and YouTube videos all day long. So it’s ok to step down your quality, stay authentic, and produce cheap and fast to keep top of feed. Which is top of mind. You are competing with your customers for their attention and the space on the feed — so focus on the content of the content, the narrative, and I give you permission to lower the quality of your content so you can go faster, make more.

You are competing with your customers for their attention

Let’s talk about Netflix. Netflix announced they are dropping a movie every week in 2021. Over one a week.

That’s a lot. Most studios are excited to get a few productions out a year.

But Netflix is going for dominance and here’s what they learned in satisfying a global audience: The Content Beast must be fed. There HAS to be a constant stream of content to keep people engaged and subscribers up.

Disney+ can’t win with the Mandolorian and a backlog of kid movies. They need more. And they are working on more. But Netflix has more and more coming. They are investing.

In the model, Netflix picked two: Good and fast.

Which is expensive. But because they know that they need content that is constantly new. Quality is subjective. Like it or not, there’s another one coming next week. Because they understand their audience. The audience is the key and the retention around new content is cheaper than losing a customer.

By running the averages, Netflix just needs a few big ones to fill in the rest. They are running the averages, investing for the long term, the long tail, the customer attention in retention.

Good. Fast. Cheap. Pick two.

Hopefully this offers you some clarity making decisions that affect your brand or business. If you’re having trouble finding those unicorns, don’t worry. You’re not alone.

But seek what your audience is seeking. Quality is subjective. Chase that attention. Quantity is required.

Watch the video of this post recorded live:

I’m Tuck Ross, and I’m in marketing.

With 18+ years leading marketing and digital for global companies, I’m sharing what I’ve learned to build your programs better.

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Marketing Executive | Digital Marketing & Social Media Expert | Speaker | Creator | Advisor ❤

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