Tuesday 23 December 2008

Why 40:40:20 is 40:40:20

The 40:40:20 rule says that 40% of the ‘success of direct mailer’ depends on the list, another 40% on the offer and only 20% on the creative (all inclusive, copy, layout, plain Jane or 3-D, bells & whistles). 

So creative is less important than list and offer.

I never understood what this rule really means or how it came about. It probably means that ‘40% of the variation can be explained by the list’ and so on. 

Anyway, let’s take the somewhat vague meaning given in the first paragraph. Can it lead to the conclusion that creative is relatively unimportant? Actually, it can’t. Because the creative is never randomly selected in a test! Each competing piece is produced by a competent team, judged, revised and, within the limits of practicality, perfected. Why on earth should you expect creative to make much difference?  

To draw a parallel, take basketball players. All of them are giants. Naturally, height and muscles cease to make any difference.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting point.

I always took the first of the two 40%s to mean that WHO you were talking to was more important than WHAT you said about the stuff you were trying to sell... selling ice to eskimos vs selling ice in the Sahara.