So, it’s time to redo your website OR design a social strategy that builds in the social elements of your company — or both. To ensure you get the best product at the best price, you pull in a selection of vendors to deliver their best presentation and “pitch.” They’ll talk about their process, previous work and their awesome team – then almost always – about the use of best practices. As the client, this is exactly the information you want to know to make an informed decision.
Or is it?
Truthishly? A best practice is only good until the moment the ‘best practice’ fails to perform and a new best practice is created.
The “best practices” for the battlefield of the late 1600’s when linear tactics were developed to spread soldiers out, replacing the best practice of square blocks in tight formations. Arsenic was once valued for its ability to give an attractive pale skin tone. Mercury was taken to prolong life.
At best, your industry’s best practices set you up to be a close follower. At worst, your industry’s best practices could ultimately prove to be self-destructive.
Best practices sneak up all the time in website development, design, SEO and the broader scope of digital marketing. Remember when websites were a single page and optimized for Netscape? Or when Yahoo! and AOL was the search engine of choice (aka “The World before Google”).
Technology gets better, but best practices often lag behind.
It’s true that in most cases, sticking to ‘best practices’ greatly reduces risk in the boardroom, but intelligently and creatively breaking the mold is what separates a safe success from the kind of success that truly builds a brand (and a career.) The most notable campaigns, from Blendtec’s ‘Will it Blend,’ series to Intel’s classic ‘Intel Inside’ launched their respective brands by intelligently saying goodbye to ‘the norm.’
Some move’s flop. Circuit City’s DIVX bucked the norm, but wasn’t the most well thought-out move for the technological limitations at the time. (Editorial Note: I can’t help but see a little DIVX in broadband-based on-demand services from Netflix to Comcast. Sometimes, the technology, or adoption of the technology, isn’t there to back the big idea –yet.)
Infomercials, our own marketing history geek, Marc, would be quick to point out, may be one of the most successful examples of a brave company fighting best practices, only to become the new framework for successful sales ‘as seen on TV.’ (Learn a little more about his love of Infomercials and their lessons for marketing.)
Digital marketing allows for a phenomenal amount of creative license in the blending of technology and vision with the predominate nature of connected devices in the homes, hands and pockets of your customers. When your company is at that unique crossroads involving a website redesign or digital strategy, is that really the time to aim for “best practices?” Shouldn’t you always aim for bigger, better and more the potential to be much more profitable?
The best practices in your industry have been built on the hard-learned mistakes of those who jumped blindly, those who had the after-sight to see missed opportunities in action, and the success of those who made a measured next step. When you’re ready for your next step, we’re here to help.