Breaking All the Rules in the Marketing Rulebook

Breaking all the rules in the marketing rulebook.

There’s no one marketing rulebook to rule them all, even if it seems like the same strategies are repeated over and over. That’s because they work. But sometimes breaking the rules delivers extraordinary results.

Over the years, experienced marketers have learned a few tried-and-true methods that are crucial to long-term marketing success. However, next-level marketers never hesitate to try something new when the opportunity arises. Even if that opportunity goes against tradition or the marketing rulebook.

When it comes to your company’s marketing plan, you have two options: only implement established corporate marketing strategies or add in something different that carries a risk factor but might break barriers. Often, choosing the latter brings the best return on investment because the results garnered by innovative thinking have more staying power than the same old approach that consumers expect.

Who makes up these so-called rules?

Where do these rules come from if there’s no authoritative marketing rulebook? People. Customers and clients are the unnamed decision-makers who tell marketers what works and what doesn’t. As marketing tactics become successful, they become essential tools (or rules) for marketers.

But before it was a “rule,” it was an unproven new idea. Likely one that was frowned upon by others. However, the great innovators of the late 20th century—Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Larry Page, for example—didn’t follow a model of what to do to succeed. There was no step-by-step guide for them. They developed their own methods to market their products, including the iconic (and hilarious) Mac versus PC ads.

Creative thinking is the key to success

Mindspin turned a technical product into artful imagery that stands out from the typical, boring competitor imagery.
Breaking the stuffy rules, Mindspin took a technical product and created art as the visual cornerstone of Apogee’s marketing program—completely different from the typical, boring competitor imagery.

Howard Schultz, the founder of Starbucks, stated, “Always challenge the old ways” when he was asked about his advice on innovation. To this end, Schultz reinvented the plain old coffee shop. The Starbucks team marketed music, comfortable seating, free Wi-Fi and high-quality coffee so well that people flocked to locations worldwide to while away hours writing, chatting and spending their disposable income.

Instead of succumbing to trends, the Starbucks marketing team built the brand by breaking the existing marketing and branding rules. Even today, they still choose innovative ways to acquire and retain customers via engagement campaigns and rewards programs. Instead of becoming a forgettable place to grab a quick coffee, Starbucks became the world’s only $100+ billion coffee shop.

When to break the rules

The short answer is always. Aaron Patzer, founder of Mint, said, “Turn a perceived risk into an asset.” Every marketing rule you break is a risk that has the potential to become a transformational asset for your brand.

The greatest moments of hesitation preventing companies from breaking the rules and innovating on their own terms come from the fear of failure. There is a risk to innovation that needs to be considered. However, supercharging proven marketing tactics with innovative experimental approaches can make all the difference for a company motivated to break through a crowded market.

Ready to ignore the marketing rulebook?

B2B startups with investor funding are uniquely positioned to maximize their impact by taking risks with fun, edgy and innovative marketing. An experienced marketer can protect your investment by augmenting proven strategies with groundbreaking campaigns while ensuring your brand remains consistent with your values and mission.

Is your B2B startup marketing delivering lukewarm results? Are you willing to take a risk but aren’t sure how? Do you need the backing of a marketing agency that knows the marketing rulebook and when to put it aside? If you answered yes to any of these, you might be interested in reading more about how to launch successful startup marketing and what to avoid in our article, How B2B Startup Marketing Can Make or Break Your Business.

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