What is “Best Practice”?

I had occasion this past week, in two seperate discussions with customers, to really try and understand what “best practice” really is. In both cases, our customers made comments that really undermined the notion of best practice.

In one discussion about the design of an email, the customer said “well, what is best practice?”. The other, looking to understand a best practice approach to website lead conversion, was really trying to understand how they can lift their form submissions from their website.

Best practice is linked to success.

I’ve seen it many times, when people achieve success in a campaign, the comment usually follows “well, that was clearly a best practice campaign”. Really? Is it possible it was just a very clever campaign?

Is there a connection between a “successful” campaign and “best practice”?

While working with companies in a previous life implementing CRM systems, the question was always asked, “what is best practice?”

The scenario relating to CRM is possibly a little clearer when you review the implementation plan of a CRM in the context of what the major CRM providers have learnt over time.

For example, you begin with the Lead object in a CRM, once a lead is qualified it’s converted to an Account, Contact and Opportunity. This would generally be seen as a best practice approach.

That specific example in an industry accepted process. You’ll find it in NetSuite, Oracle Sales Cloud, Salesforce, Siebel and others. Why? Well, arguably it’s a digital adaptation of that way people sell.

Is it possible to define your own best practice?

If we take the position that success and best practice are linked, I think the answer is yes. Who’s going to argue with you if a campaign has been successful?

But what is a successful campaign?

There’s a lot of talk about “digital disruption”. Just think Uber, the global taxi industry is experiencing significant “disruption”. So much so the Australian taxi industry is dragging Uber and their drivers through the courts and have an extensive scare campaign in place.

In Melbourne last week I saw a billboard by the taxi industry posing the question around safety and catching Uber. I found this odd considering the safety history of taxis.

This is a billboard in NSW, I couldn't find a picture of the Melbourne billboards. However, the sentiment is the same.
This is a billboard in NSW, I couldn’t find a picture of the Melbourne billboards. However, the sentiment is the same.

I think very few people would apply the term “best practice” to catching a taxi. The experience is usually pretty average, dirty cars, grumpy drivers and waiting times.

The Uber experience is usually a clean car, happy drivers, a bottle water and mints. I think you could argue Uber has raised the bar on what we might see as “best practice” within the taxi industry.

Your own best practice & success

If we run with the premise that success is the author of best practice, surely you have some of your own campaigns that would count as best practice?

In my role as Customer Success Director, I spend a good amount of time encouraging our customers to interrogate the performance of their campaigns.

This means making the time to set metrics for success. Perhaps it’s as basic as open rates, click-through rates, form submissions or leads passed to the sales team.
At the end of the day, if we fail to set metrics for success, we’re really not in a position to call a campaign successful.

Oracle Marketing Cloud Eloqua users are in a strong position to measure the success of their campaigns against whatever metrics for success they may set.

However, unless you make the time to evaluate your campaign performance, you’ll really just be pushing out campaign after campaign and you will miss those opportunities to capitalise on any success you’ve had.