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The Pareto Principle and impact on awareness

Most of you probably know about the Pareto Principle, or the 80/20 rule.

I happened on a great blog post from Duncan Stewart that talks about this in terms of advertising, and the impact on whether the target is broad or narrow. It’s fairly eye opening, and I thought it worth sharing.

Why digital may not take all the ad dollars

Anyway, in thinking about this, it seems that we have similar limits in growing or creating communities. Is your topic a broad appeal (go broadcast) or is it narrow (digitally attack the market).

What’s your thoughts on the scope of broadcast versus focus in community creation with respect to our (mostly social) media channels


Great question, @davemc

I don’t think there are any hard and fast rules, but I do think there is a delicate balance between scale, quality, and personal touch.

My general view here is that to attack scale you have to create process platforms in which you can have people feel engaged, incentivized, and active without depending on hand-holding. It is just impossible to grow large scale communities with that level of required personal touch, so I find it better to build simple and elegant incentive structures and supporting tools, but then provide a broad supporting function.

For smaller groups, such as your truly dedicated members or MVPs, I think you want the inverse of this - truly white-glove service. It is essential that we take care of these folks, but to not also over reward them.

I would have a look at this very good TechCrunch article, about digital, good old marketing mix, and why we are making a lot of confusion when it comes to marketing and communication in the digital:

The title is not very positive, however, this is very interesting to get some good old marketing principles. You will get some hints about broad and narrow, too.

Interesting article.

There is something to be said about us becoming too responsive to data. Google Analytics and Tag Manager are neat, but I think we are getting a little too data driven at times.

I agree. This, in a way, the topic of the last James Bond movies: data are not everything, we need also the feeling and actions from humans with experience.

Ken Olsen (Digital Equipment Corporation) said something similar about spreadsheets and business in that the introduction of spreadsheets had removed the desire or need for people to actually understand their business.

I have a statistics degree, I love the numbers. But I’ll also tell you that judging anything solely on numbers that includes (assumed to be) thinking organics is a recipe for disaster.


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