One thing I’m hearing marketing “influencers” say repeatedly these days is, “Don’t follow marketing best practices. If you do, you’ll just be doing what everybody else is doing. You won’t win doing that.” That’s provocative! Gee, Wally! That does sound smart. But is it really? Let’s break it down.
There are three types of positions relative to marketing best practices.
- People behind on best practices.
- People that are following best practices.
- People that are innovating and creating new practices.
Each of the three will have different outcomes to your marketing.
Are You Behind on Marketing Best Practices?
When was the last time you updated your website? Five years ago? That’s a sign that you are behind on marketing best practices.
Are you using a marketing automation platform like HubSpot, SharpSpring, or Pardot? If not, you are behind on marketing best practices.
Or maybe you aren’t doing any marketing at all because you’ve cut the budget due to the economy and your efforts are focused solely on sales. You can’t get any farther behind marketing best practices than that! (Read The Economic Outlook: Should You Dial Your Marketing Up or Down?)
If you are behind on best practices, then your marketing is either working poorly or not working at all. It should be generating warm leads that are familiar with your brand and products or services for your sales team to engage with. It should be creating demand.
What should you do?
Get help NOW.
Reach out to a marketing strategy and operations company like us here at 1 Bold Step and start by building a strategic marketing plan ASAP. One of the benefits of working with a marketing strategy and operations company is that we make it our business to stay abreast of marketing best practices. You don’t have to try and figure it out on your own. Working with experienced professionals can help you quickly get your marketing to have a positive impact.
Are You Following Marketing Best Practices?
Good for you! Following marketing best practices will routinely generate warm leads for your sales team by creating demand in the market. But stay on top of things. Best practices change quickly in the marketing world. Make sure you are reading blogs (Here’s ours. HubSpot’s is another good one.) newsletters, listening to podcasts, or following reputable social media accounts about marketing. Stay connected to the marketing community so that you are aware of what marketing best practices are and when they change. Or work with an agency like us here at 1 Bold Step that makes it our business to stay up to date on best practices.
The downside to following marketing best practices is just what those marketing influencers are saying — you’ll be doing the same type of thing a lot of other companies are doing. So what? Best practices came to be best practices because they work. Will you knock it out of the park with your marketing, maybe, but that’s not the goal. What you are aiming for is good solid dependable results. Personally, I like those kinds of results a whole lot better.
Are You Innovating and Creating New Marketing Practices?
Where do marketing best practices come from? They come from innovators that try new things and get outstanding results. Other companies hear about those practices, and before long, they become the new best practices. But innovation is a risky business. Not all innovations turn out to be winners — failure is part of the innovation process. That’s why innovators rely so heavily on test marketing to prove their new ideas before they roll them out in scale. Things that work get supersized and things that fail get thrown away.
Innovation can be hard, slow, and expensive. Or sometimes clever innovative marketing can be surprisingly effective very quickly. Marketing innovation is risky, but if you want those big returns, you need to have the stomach for the process. If you are going to try and innovate, we suggest you make small bets at first so that you manage your risk. Once you find a new tactic that works, you can invest heavily and reap those economic profits — before your innovation gets found out and becomes the next best practice.
What is Best for You?
My advice: as best as your budget allows, you should be following as many best practices as possible. That’s why so many of our clients are outsourcing their marketing efforts to a company like ours. Hiring a fractional marketing team allows them to leverage their budget to people who are staying up on marketing best practices because it’s built into their DNA.
At 1 Bold Step, we start most new engagements with a Strategic Marketing Plan Workshop. This is a one-day workshop (fee: $7,500) where we guide your marketing and leadership team in creating a marketing plan that specifically helps achieve the company's stated goals. The result is twofold:
- A one-page marketing plan that can easily be communicated to key constituents in your organization.
- A detailed marketing plan that includes everything from high-level focus areas, KPIs, a budget, and tactical, prioritized, action items.