Doing More: The Hottest New Trend Among Stupids
By Stanley Bogode, King of the Stupids
We interrupt your weekly scheduled programming to bring you this important news bulletin: I don’t have a new chapter. I have no excuses, so I won’t make any, but I’ve found it hard to keep this column going as my daily life increases in complexity.
I sat down to write this on Sunday afternoon, which gave me exactly no time edit these awful thoughts; thoughts which require a minimum of 24-hours to review before presenting to even the most adoring of Stanfans. And crafting a worthy column in a single afternoon is apparently a skill I lack.
So naturally, let’s discuss the many benefits of saying ‘yes’ to doing more stuff.
“We Should Do a Podcast”
“Let’s start a newsletter!”
“We want a new audience segment, and we’re thinking: dogs”
“F— it, I’m joining TikTok…”
According to research1, when faced with a problem we tend to solve it by adding something new. If I’m bored with my wardrobe, new clothes are the go-to – I can say that in writing this sentence, I consider for the first time tailoring, dyeing, or otherwise repurposing my existing clothes into new pieces. Pants become shorts, pullovers become tees, boxers become… briefs. This is revolutionary stuff.
Additive thinking dominates everyday situations, and it’s just as common among problems faced by marketing teams. I bet you’ve watched talented people attempt to rejuvenate a dwindling prospect count with new content, new ad campaigns, and new social media platforms.
Sometimes, adding is the answer. When we grow so efficient as to underutilize our creativity, it gives us room to experiment and try something new. If you’ve never advertised, an experiment with online or print media can bring you to that next level, presuming you can sustain the investment.
However, the flip-side is over-indulgence in the new; taking on more projects than you can achieve at a quality that you can be proud of – a feeling I’m wading through right now.
But after learning of the results of that research, the findings appeared self-evident – it was a “no, duh” discovery that one hopes drained zero taxpayer dollars. It’s like opening the paper to the headline, Between Poverty and Wealth, People Overwhelmingly Choose to Be Not Broke AF.
Despite awareness of our bias to add, we still have to work hard to consider reductive solutions and even harder to sell them. To invite reduction is to trigger the pain of loss, which according to psychology, hurts twice as much as gaining feels good.2
A writer writes a complete book, filled with chapters (or so I’m told…). The editor suggests cutting chapters 3, 4, and 7 for clarity. But writers love what they wrote, that’s why they wrote chapters 3, 4, and 7 in the first place Goddammit. Unfortunately, what we lose by cutting our chapters, our copy, and our slogans hurts more than what we gain by keeping the reader’s focus.
It hurts because when we imagine the counterfactual, “what if this didn’t exist?” or “what if we didn’t do this?” we often limit our imagination to removing the perceived benefits provided by the thing.
“What if we didn’t advertise on Google?” Well, then we’d lose 35 qualified leads per month on average, Brayden. We refuse to imagine spending that money elsewhere to gain 70 qualified leads. We fail to consider shrinking our cost per acquisition by 20%. And we rarely daydream about adding back anything we take away.
Your Mission, If You Choose To Accept It
For the month of October and as a birthday gift to me, check your marketing plumbing for leaky pipes. If something costs you no time nor money, it’s probably taking up space in your mind, so it still counts.
But look at all you do to promote and see whether something removed can be the catalyst to better performance and higher quality.
As business-owners and entrepreneurs who wear many hats, a reduction in total marketing activity can lead to better products & services, presuming you’re footing the bill and doing the work. Never forget: the best marketing is a product sold well and a service rendered impeccably.
As for my part, I’m going to take stock of every commitment I’ve made to look for areas to cutback, giving me more time to serve you the fresh hot weekly takes you deserve.
“People Add by Default Even When Subtraction Makes More Sense,” Science News, April 7, 2021, https://www.sciencenews.org/article/psychology-numbers-people-add-default-subtract-better.