Digital marketing matures beyond “best practices”


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My latest article on Search Engine Land, Landing Pages 3.0, makes the case that landing pages and conversion optimization are moving beyond the era of “best practices.”

But I actually believe this is a representative sign of digital marketing maturing more broadly.

Consider this excerpt from the article:

Whereas the height of Landing Pages 2.0 was an ever-expanding list of rules and rubrics for implementing good landing pages, marketers who have graduated to a Landing Pages 3.0 mindset have outgrown such checklists and cheat sheets.

Instead, they’re now driving conversion programs from a higher set of principles:

  1. Deliver meaningful, context-relevant content
  2. Present that content with an engaging, affective design
  3. Offer a compelling, but not coercive, “next step” to take

Like an architect who has completed his or her basic design studio courses, practiced and perfected the fundamentals, who is now ready to start breaking the cookie-cutter “rules” in pursuit of more impressive and imaginative ideas. Or like a musician who has mastered scales, riffs, and progressions — hours and hours of the mechanics of their instrument — who is now ready to improvise and jam with the pros.

Landing Page 3.0 marketers have studied best practices, absorbed them into their thinking, but they’re now ready to synthesize new creative ideas of their own — unafraid to break the “rules” to deliver remarkable experiences to their audience.

Now substitute “landing pages” with any of a number of other subdisciplines in modern marketing: marketing automation, demand generation, email marketing (!), social media marketing, etc.

It’s the confidence and wisdom to favor what’s “best” over what’s “best practice.”

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Scott Brinker
Scott Brinker is the president & CTO of ion interactive, a leading provider of post-click marketing software and services. He writes the Conversion Science column on Search Engine Land and frequently speaks at industry events such as SMX, Pubcon and Search Insider Summit. He chairs the marketing track at the Semantic Technology Conference. He also writes a blog on marketing technology, Chief Marketing Technologist.


  1. What the checklists cannot take into account is large differences between different markets, and even the very specific markets for individual sites.

    Conversion optimisation needs to be an ongoing process of making a change, testing and measuring.

  2. agree with your point. I guess by calling those things “best principles” — to suggest that they operate at a higher level than so-called “best practices” — was one way to make the distinction.

    Landing Pages 2.0 had lots and lots of in-the-weeds heuristics, “do this” or “don’t do this.” Landing Pages 3.0 has fewer principles, and in the pursuit of such principles, may depart from many of the tactics of the 2.0 era.


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