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Marketing Best Practices Are Bullsh*t: A Love Poem

Behold—the types of conversations that I wish that I could have with marketers if I possessed a magic marketing strategy wand:

You: “Hey, Jen! What’s the best practice for the number of touches in a re-engagement campaign?”
*Waving wand*
Me: “4.2 touches, across 3 channels.”

You: “Cool! How much ROI can I expect if I make my welcome campaign more personalized? Is there a benchmark?”
*Waving wand*
Me: “A 24.7% increase.”

You: “Alright! And what keywords can I put in a subject line to get the most opens? Is there a study?”
*Waving wand*
Me: “Snakes. Volcano. And spaghetti. Definitely use spaghetti.”

You: “Awesome! Thanks! That was easy!”

Wait! I’m just kidding. The truth is, I don’t have a magic marketing strategy wand, and there are no easy answers. Sorry.

But in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, dear marketers, I offer this poem, which answers all of your questions on marketing best practices—and more. Because I love you.

I’m sorry to say,
I’m sad to report,
There’s no benchmark or best practice that exists of that sort.

Every audience is different,
Every business, unique,
That’s why I can’t give you the answers you seek.

There’s no sure-fire plan,
No secret strategy.
If you want success, then take it from me…

You gotta try things out,
Just go with your gut.
See what works, and what doesn’t, you cut.

There are only two rules
For marketing strategy:
Just keep it legal and focus on relevancy.

I know that disappoints, mi amors, but them’s the facts. I get it, though. You want to know what works. What’s safe. What will guarantee success. Even how much success to anticipate.

And it’s a lot easier when someone tells you what to do, or what everyone else is doing. No one wants to be responsible for failure, but there is rarely a cut-and-dry answer. And sometimes failure is part of the process. Just as it’s part of life.

We know that relevance is at the heart of any successful campaign. But the details—they’re up to you, marketers. Sometimes your best judgment is all you have to draw from. Don’t be afraid to go with your gut, observe the results, and iterate and optimize from there. Use your historical data to help drive insights and decisions.

And most of all, don’t feel compelled to do as others do. Fearlessly blaze a brave new trail, friends. That’s when the real magic happens.

Looking for some more inspiration? Check out my session, “Best Practices Are Bullsh*t,” at Iterable’s growth marketing conference Activate, this April in San Francisco.

Jen Capstraw

Jen Capstraw is a strategist, speaker, writer and #emailgeek. In addition to her role as Director of Strategic Insights and Evangelism at Iterable, Jen is Co-Founder and President of Women of Email, an association of 3,000+ aimed at promoting leadership and cultivating professional growth among women in the email space.

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