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Applying the 70:20:10 rule to marketing technology

Author's avatar By Robert Allen 09 Jun, 2016
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A framework to help you get the best results from marketing tools

You don't need me to tell you that there are a lot of different options when it comes to marketing technology. Just one look at Scott Brinker's infamous martech graphic shows just how bamboozling the 3000+ strong field of marketing tools can be.

martech graphic

With new marketing tools and available to us almost daily, it can be difficult to know where to prioritise your marketing activities to get the most 'bang for your buck'.

As marketers we need to be agile by reacting to new developments to gain an upper hand on the competition, but at the same time, we need to avoid being 'technology magpies' following seductive, shiny new tools which may distract us from working on optimising the most effective channels.

Our CEO Dr Dave Chaffey, and others, have already written about applying the 70:20:10 rule to marketing more generally, and the example below related to how it can be applied to content marketing:

  • 70% of content should be proven content that supports building your brand or attracting visitors to your site
  • 20% of content should be premier content which may be more costly or risky but has a bigger potential new audience, for example 'viral videos' or infographics
  • 10% of content should be more experimental

Because the vast array of tools available means marketers need to concentrate most of their time on the ones that are most effective, but also should occasional experiment with new tools that offer new services, I thought the 70:20:10 rule could also be an effective framework for managing the use of tools by digital marketers.

70:20:10 for marketing tools

  • 70% of the tools you use tools should be safe, well developed, established and scalable, and should help save time, improve existing processes and boost productivity.
  • 20% of the tools you use tools should grant abilities not provided by standard tools, that let you achieve objectives you would not otherwise be able to. These tools may not save time, but they will boost results.
  • 10% of the tools you use should be new or in Beta, not 100% stable or scalable, but offer a unique new ability. This will help you discover new tools and not fall behind using older, clunkier tools when better options are available.

Core tools

I think of the tools that should be making up about 70% of the tools you use as your drupal'bread and butter' tools. The ones that help you day in day out, and help pay the bills. These are generally established tools. They've probably been around for a few years, are fairly well known and probably have quite well-established teams behind them that know what they're doing. The likes of Moz, Grammarly and Buffer would fall into this category, as would common content management systems like WordPress or Drupal. These are the tools you've built your business around, and they help you to save time, be more productive and get more done.

Booster tools

buzzsumoAlthough you should be spending the vast majority of your time using the established and effective tools mentioned earlier. But you also need to cast your net a bit wider, and invest roughly one-fifth of your time spent using tools on ones that offer something nifty and unique. These tools will tend to be a tad newer to the market than the 70% tools, and although they won't make up the backbone of your business, they should allow you to do things that add value and make you better at your job. Certain SEO tools would fall into this category, as they let you examine sites metrics in a way that you could never do otherwise, helping you make better decisions around link building or partnerships. Useful to have analytics tools like Buzzsumo or Sysomos that arn't mission critical but help you to optimise your efforts and improve results would also fall into this area.

Experimental tools

It's important as marketers not to go off chasing the latest trends and negate key revenue driving channels. A general move from strategy to tactics is part of this tendency, and is something all good marketers should make sure to avoid.croncycle

That said, as new tools offering great new features are released, it's important not to fall behind and rely on inferior products or not start using something that could significantly boost results. That's why we recommend  10% of your tools being new or in beta, that offer exciting new features that may be highly worthwhile, but you haven't been able to establish exactly how they will integrate into your processes yet. These tools should be tried, experimented with and then discarded if they are not effective and are just wasting time. New tools that have recently entered the market as a finished product like Croncycle optimise this type of tool.

Making the most out of marketing tools

If you felt bamboozled initially by the array of marketing tools, I hope this post has helped to give you a bit of a structure to start thinking about how to use the vast variety of tools available, and not just start using them in a lassie fair way that lacks a strategy and ends up wasting time. Another way we've tried to bring a bit of structure to the hectic tools landscape has been by breaking down 150 of the most popular tools into different categories so you can see what different tools are useful for, and what your options are in a given area. You can see a summary via our infographic below, or download the full guide to get reviews on all 150 of the tools.

Martech 2016 infographic

Author's avatar

By Robert Allen

I was the Editor of Smart Insights between 2015-2017. I managed the blog and you will find blog articles on a range of subjects- Marketing Technology trends and latest tech developments are a regular focus, as well as exploring key marketing concepts. You can get in touch with me on Twitter and connect with me on LinkedIn. The new Editor is Carolanne Mangles.

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