Newsletter #177 More Zing with 70:20:10 in 2021!

Posted on Jan 19, 2021, 2:40 PM

The southern hemisphere at this time of year is (generally) hot and dry and it can be tough to get into the swing of the new year. So how about trying the 70:20:10 rule?

One of the major issues with modern business is the continual change and innovation in the digital media sphere. So as a business how do you navigate this when things are ever-changing?

First developed by researchers in the 1980s as a model for learning and development, the rule is now also applied to innovation and marketing. Eric Schmidt, when he was Google’s  CEO, put in place the 70:20:10 rule to systemise innovation.

The principle was that 70% of everyone’s time should be spent on their core job, 20% as part of another team or on related projects and 10% on ‘blue sky’ efforts. The underlying premise was that a company can’t continue to grow and innovate if it continues to do what it has always done, however you can’t spend all the available time ‘chasing rainbows’ - so this is a way of controlling but also encouraging innovation.


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But how does that look in practice?

It would be fair to say that most small and medium size companies would market themselves using a mix of these media and methods:

1.    At trade shows, conferences or other real-world opportunities such as marketing groups and business associations
2.    Email marketing
3.    A Website presence perhaps selling online via an e-commerce store
4.    Maybe some advertising in magazines, although less likely these days
5.    Digital advertising on newspaper Websites or on other Websites
6.    Some Google AdWords
7.    Maybe some Facebook advertising

A mix of these media, for most businesses would be regarded as the 70% figure.

The 20% part of the 70:20:10, with a digital focus would be to do things such as:

  1. Building a mini-Website to market a new product or service.
  2. Linking your email marketing with your sales data so that customers get regular updates that are more personalised and therefore more useful.
  3. Analyse the leads that follow from your Google AdWords against your Facebook advertising and adjust the spend accordingly.
  4. Updating your LinkedIn profile and start writing articles about your industry or specialist subject.

As you can see, the 20% is more focussed on improving or adding to your existing products/services without doing anything outrageously different.
The 10% section is where you can take some chances such as these maybe:

  1. Ask for employee ‘big’ ideas and choose one to follow through on
  2. If your product/service has a young customer base or you’d like to grow that, how about advertising on TikTok?
  3. Investigate Instagram and even Instagram TV (IGTV) where you can post video

The 70:20:10 rule is a great way of putting some zing into your company’s performance. As Albert Einstein is credited with saying:
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”

Alex Garden