I’m going to start this blog by telling you a secret. Every time I utter the words “best practice,” I throw up a little bit. Why? Because the term “best practice” in Marketing has become every lazy marketer’s ticket to staying lazy. “I read a blog five years ago that said sending emails Tuesday at 8am EST received the best open and click-through rates. If I follow that BEST PRACTICE, I’ll be doing a fine job.” Well, by my standards, following those best practices will keep you doing what everyone else is doing who read that blog five years ago… instead of being innovative, smart or, frankly, good at your job.
How about instead we do what the poster on our office wall says, “F*ck Mediocrity.” Why? Because much like those cheap Halloween costumes, marketing—and by extension, marketing automation—is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor.
Now, let’s keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you can’t go all starry-eyed at some cool marketing execution someone else did and make it your own. Although there’s no poster in our office that says this, I am all about working smarter not harder. Take their awesome idea and fit it into what will work for you.
To help you find your way, I’ve got some don’ts for you (with some dos sprinkled in for you positive types).
1. Don’t be blinded by devotion.
Why does this campaign or tactic make you go weak in the knees? Dial back on the swooning and figure out what it is that makes that idea so successful. If your answer is “everything,” go back to your desk chair and think about what you’ve said. Then, when you have a grown-up marketer’s answer getting at the root, the core idea or the main purpose, I promise you can have a cookie.
2. Don’t copy and paste.
The whole point of step one was to ensure you don’t just stick the campaign in your marketing automation system and hope for the best. Look, it worked for them, because they’re them and they have their own goals. We’ve already established that you’re not them; you’re you.
So make it work for you and your unique goals. Take the core idea you discovered and figure out how it fits into your overall marketing plan. Then recreate it on your own terms, with your own content and your own spin.
3. Don’t stop learning (or believin’).
I’m not telling you to stop listening to experts or learning about other companies’ success stories.
Success stories are great for helping us marketers break out of the rut that comes with the day-to-day minutia of our jobs and find new ways to reach leads and customers. Talking heads get to talk because they know stuff that can help you… coming from a talking head. Listen to them, read the stories and let them inspire you. But so help me, no more cheap Halloween costumes. Find ways to make ideas fit your business like a glove – or at least a really sweet argyle sock.
4. Don’t always be a follower.
You know what, I bet you’ve done some pretty cool marketing-y things, too. So try being your own talking head. Look at past marketing automation campaigns and start sharing your own successful strategies and tactics. Then you’ll be the one other marketers look up to and quote as the best practice… much to my dismay.
Meet Justin Gray
Justin is a serial entrepreneur and the CEO and founder of LeadMD, the world’s largest revenue operations agency having implemented over half of the Marketo user base. Justin has made a career of launching successful companies and scaling them, with successful exits of over 200MM+ in the last decade. Justin’s latest endeavor launched in 2016 when he co-founded Six Bricks an online learning startup designed to combat employee and customer churn through experience-based education. Over the past 10 years, Justin has emerged as a strong voice for entrepreneurship, marketing and culture. As a recognized speaker, Justin has been published over 350 times in industry publications and holds his own column, Tribal Knowledge in Inc., while writing for Entrepreneur, Tech Crunch and others. Justin and his wife Jennifer met over marketing and three years later welcomed their son, Grayson, into the world in April of 2017.