The 70/20/10 Rule for Marketing Innovation

Too often people see innovation as a flash of lightning, striking at random. And too many businesses are afraid to try new things, creating a huge barrier to success.

Clearly inspiration is core to innovation, and new things are scary. But, as strange as it might sound, you can actually plan to be innovative – and protect your marketing investment – with a very simple strategy.

It’s called the 70/20/10 Rule, and it will help you map out all the things you could do with your marketing, into a structured approach that will help drive your business forward.

So how does it work? First, take your Digital marketing budget and divide it into three buckets: one with 70% of the money and two others with 20% and 10%, respectively.

70%: NOW

Your largest investment should be in established marketing programs. Focus on refining activity you have run for several years with a record of success. Right now this is likely to include Google Search, Desktop Display, and Facebook activity – although it depends where you are in your Digital marketing journey. It’s crucial to maintain a strong base to protect your success.

20%: NEW

The next 20% of your budget should go on emerging areas that are starting to gain traction. This is about generating safe learning opportunities. Mobile and Programmatic are hot right now for most marketers, but it should also be about trying new suppliers for activity you are already doing well at. Not every test will work out, but the ones that do will set up your future plans and keep you ahead of the competition.

10%: NEXT

You can think of this final 10% as your marketing insurance. Set the stage for the future by investing in areas you have never tested before. Start small and scale fast. Remember these 10% tests will one day be your 70%. And without investing here you will very quickly fall behind your competition.

Even gigantic global brands such as Coca Cola follow this approach. Wendy Clark, SVP, Marketing for Coca-Cola, gave the below presentation at a McKinsey CMO event recently. She explained how, to be successful today, companies need to employ a test and learn approach. At Coke, 70% of spend funds current proven programs, 20% goes to new and promising trends, and 10% to test completely new ideas.

What’s important in all this is that innovation can have a process. With the 70/20/10 approach it’s easy to protect your success NOW, while finding the NEW and NEXT things you need to stay ahead.

 

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