Marketing students and professionals alike should study the steps that are taken by high-performing organizations to understand what they do well and how they could do even better. Surprisingly, that actually might be a very real mistake.

The reason for this is two-fold. First it’s because it’s nearly impossible to qualify, let alone quantify, what makes for a truly successful best practice as it relates to marketing. Secondly, it’s because the production of great ideas is both art and science, and need just the right message for just the right audience for just the right time, for just the right product, etc., etc., etc.

To prove my theory just think about what has been truly successful in the last five years. Can you think of connecting points that they all had in common other than they caught the market’s attention and soared? Consider great works such as Good to Great, Built to Last, and In Search of Excellence.

These world-class works were absolutely a huge success. But was it because they followed a formula or a best practice that led them to their success? Absolutely not!

So what makes for a great work versus a lucky strike? I would argue that whatever your organization’s goals, evaluating and improving your ability to understand your key customers is the key. You can do this through continuous two-way interactions that will guide you to discover what they consider a success. This renewing customer understanding will lead you to your success.

Plain and simple, there is no formula or best practice covering marketing triumphs. They all have to be discovered and created anew for each organization and selling circumstance. And as the saying goes, “Practice makes perfect.” But that might be a fable too!