Quick Tip

The 40-40-20 Rule

What's the most crucial part of your marketing campaign?

That's what the 40-40-20 rule helps you answer. According to this rule, the success of your campaign breaks down like this:

  • 40% is attributable to your list
  • 40% is attributable to your offer
  • 20% is attributable to your copy or creative

"The list" is anyone in your audience - email subscribers, social media connections, physical mailing addresses, etc. Always remember - your list represents real people.

If the list selection is off, even the best creative from the best copywriters will fail. This is why creating and using segments in your marketing is so important.

With the right list and average copy, even a fairly unremarkable offer can succeed.

Your offer is just as important as your list. But here's the catch - it hard (impossible?) to create a great offer unless you really know your audience.

Last but not least is your copy and creative (words & images). These are still important, but if you nail the list and offer, all you need to do is communicate clearly (easier said than done). But if you get the first 2 wrong, then the prettiest copy is just lipstick on a pig.

Key Takeaways - to increase the effectiveness of your marketing:

  • know your audience
  • create offers that solve their pains / help them attain their desires
  • communicate your offer as clearly as possible

Yours for smarter marketing,



P.S. Brian Kurtz, a giant in the direct response advertising world, sometimes refers to this as the 41-39-20 to stress the importance of audience (list) selection.

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photo credit: THINK Global School on Flickr

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