Choose the Harder Path

Choose the Harder Path

Harder PathWhile I was on a recent hike with some buddies, we came to a fork in the path. A signpost concisely summed up our two options: Easy and More Difficult. Without hesitation, my friends unanimously announced, “Let’s take the harder way.”

Their decision gave me pause and made me smile. First, as a born and raised Albertan, I’ve always felt that part of what makes Albertans special is our willingness, and in fact desire, to take on challenges. Maybe it is the weather or our geographic isolation, but I believe our motivation to choose the harder path is what drives Alberta forward. Even when we fail, and we sometimes do, we learn more than we would have if we had taken the easier route.

The same could be said about marketing. The more difficult path certainly teaches us more about what works, what doesn’t, and what makes a company unique. Unfortunately, in business, the easy path is safer and avoids the upfront pain. As a result, we often find ourselves saying things like:

  • “That’s a good idea, but we’d have to change all of our operational processes to make it work.”
  • “Rebranding will cost a lot of money…is it really necessary?”
  • “Should we put more time into customer service training? Our customers seem happy now.”

I can’t tell you that the more difficult path will always be better, but it will typically reward you with more scenic views and a greater sense of accomplishment. In marketing, the harder path leads to greater differentiation, innovation, and opportunity, and helps separate companies from their competitors.

The harder path will take more work upfront and it might not work, but the “Albertan” in me says the next time you come to a marketing fork in the road, give it a try and see where it takes you.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

-Robert Frost

Ted Kouri
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