Going off script

Posted by David Meerman Scott 04:31 AM on October 18, 2012

In most markets, there is a best practices playbook that people know is the "right way" to do marketing. There is an accepted script that people know and follow and most treat that script as if it were law and there is no other way to work.

For example, technology company Venture Capitalists have long insisted that the companies they fund invest in a monthly retainer for a traditional public relations agency.

Rock bands have long focused on the major-label record deal as the goal to reach.

I've found as I travel the world that the best successes frequently come from going off script. Those marketers who improvise - coming up with something new and interesting that the competitors aren’t doing - get noticed and build business.

Yet, the business world rewards the safe approach. CMOs are encouraged to stay on script. People and companies are afraid of veering from the "best practices" script.

Going off script

Rather than following the traditional VC playbook, since 2007 HubSpot has created tons of original content, publishing it on the web to market their products and services. As a result they have built an entire industry around the idea of Inbound Marketing and has grown very quickly as a result. Interestingly, the HubSpot model has become a new script for the nearly 10,000 customers that follow their advice.

Amanda Palmer fired her record label. Rather than following the traditional rock star script, she self-funded her latest album via Kickstarter and the buzz she generated put the album on the top ten Billboard album list upon release.

What conventional wisdom that "everybody knows" can you challenge? How can you go off script?

Here are a few truths people use as part of their playbooks you might consider challenging. I'm sure you can think of others.

"Facebook is for personal connections and LinkedIn for business."

"Older people are not on the Web and seniors don't use social media."

"You can’t reach physicians with online marketing."

"Because of strict regulations, the pharmaceutical, healthcare, and financial services industries cannot use social media."

"PR is about pitching journalists."

"The press release is dead."

"Newspapers are dying."

What conventional wisdom that "everybody knows" can you challenge? How can you go off script?

Disclosure: I am on the board of advisors and am Marketer in Residence at HubSpot.

David Meerman Scott

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