You’re getting ready to launch a new program or initiative.  You’ve brainstormed the creative elements.  You’ve put together the team that will run it.  You’ve even begun to develop the marketing concept (you may not call it the "marketing concept," but you’re developing it).  The real question?  Have you decided what you will call "success"?  Huh?

Right after a couple other key questions (What business are you in? and Who is your customer?), this is a huge question.  Without spending the proper time analyzing what "success" will look like, you can spend a lot of time ramping up to do something that is irrelevant or even counterproductive.

This is really important right now.  Without this understanding your chances of connecting with the customer are very low.  On this point I love the thinking over at Mavericks at Work.  Bill Taylor’s got an interesting take on just this topic, writing about how winning companies are coming to terms with "the new logic of competition in a world defined by overcapacity,
oversupply, and utter sensory overload."  Know anything about overcapacity?  How about oversupply or sensory overload?  Look around!  Those realities aren’t confined to any one industry!  They’re in ours as well.

What if you defined success more completely than "launching the new product"?  What if you really drilled down and developed a more detailed understanding of success?  For example, look at this line from Taylor’s piece on the power of customer connections:

Success today…is not just about price, quality, and
features—selling pure economic value. It is about passion, energy,
identity—sharing your values with customers.

I guess the question today is, "Can you really succeed without defining success to this level?"

What Are You Going to Call “Success”?
  • Just read Bill’s post at the Mavericks blog – thanks for pointing to it.
    Sometimes I feel like…and I suspect a lot of business leaders feel like a bunch of 1st grade soccer players trying to figure what “success looks like” in this game their parents got them to play.
    The image comes from watching my own kids and now grand kids run around a soccer field on many a weekend. Grin.
    Keep creating,

  • Mike, your visual reminds me of the Willow saying, “What does it mean to put the ball in the net?” Came out of an incident that Lee Strobel described about his own soccer-playing son, confused about what the goal was. The goal (success) means putting the ball in the net! That is right on target for lots of us. Great point!