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Rules are important. They give guidance, morally and logistically, that helps us make decisions, accomplish tasks, and be more productive members of society. But as the saying goes, rules are meant to be broken. To evolve, improve, and nurture innovative change, we need to be unafraid of challenging norms. This is especially true in marketing circles, where the best practices are pervasive and constantly changing.

Because while marketing best practices really are a vital part of developing sound and effective marketing strategies, sometimes the smartest approach is to say, “Thanks, ,but no thanks.”

Thank us later…

Four reasons why daring to be different is the right move.

  1. Your Market Demands It

Your brand should be unique. Regardless of what industry you’re in, your brand is bound to provide something that people can’t get anywhere else. If your audience is one that prefers a certain kind of messaging, delivered at a particular time, on a specific platform, then best practices can oftentimes clamp a limit on your ability to get creative and find the right way to reach them.

Alternately, if you’re in an industry where the competition is fierce, your audience will be inundated with a lot of the same kinds of best practices-driven messaging; to get to those folks, you’ll need to think and act beyond what everyone else is doing. Think outside of the box – so to speak.

  1. You’re Testing the Waters

Now it’s likely you won’t be able to discover exactly what they want or need until you try out some different things. While it’s certainly a smart idea to pay attention to the marketing trends and tactics that have a proven track record, keep in mind that your audience is full of individuals with different interests, wants, and needs; testing will help you figure out what works best and for whom (and oftentimes, testing is a small risk that can yield BIG returns). And if the point is learning what your audience responds to best, you may as well mix it up and push the limits to see what gets a reaction.

  1. You Can’t Always Follow the Data

Fun fact: research shows that emails containing more hyperlinks (especially those containing more than 30)—even to the same destination—had higher click rates. Now let’s chat about why this is a bad idea: there’s a good chance if you have a short, sweet, optimized email with 30+ hyperlinks in it, somebody will eventually click one—probably by accident. This is not representative of great marketing.

Is it worth sacrificing design, brand aesthetics, or common sense because there’s a chance a ridiculous amount of hyperlinks will net higher click-through rates? Short answer, NO. A smarter plan would be putting a priority on developing content that is better at earning a customer’s click, rather than relying on someone’s wayward thumb (smh).

  1. You Want to Disrupt

. At its heart,disruption is about changing an accepted construct so drastically that it creates a new market or value. So, if shaking things up is your goal, don’t immediately start cranking out messaging, ads, or strategies that conform to best practices. Instead, deviate from what’s tried-and-tested to define new goals and new paths to reaching them. That’s not to say disruptive innovators cannnot find value in best practices—but knowing what most other people are doing will help you start thinking about what you can do to stand apart (eureka!).

Don’t get us wrong, best practices are important—in the same way that knowing regional laws are important. Not only do best practices provide you with a great baseline or starting point when you’re learning or implementing a new strategy, it also gives you insight into tools that will assist you in your efforts. But as useful as these best practices are, there’s a reason why they’re constantly changing—that’s what happens when some daring soul strikes out and tries something untested, only to find that it’s the new best way to get things done (who knew?).