Building brands in a changing society

Giving Marketers Permission to Fail

Every marketer has that wish list of tactics they would like to finally try out, whether it’s a new social media channel, a mobile campaign, developing an app or testing augmented reality. The trouble is that the barriers to experimenting with new channels are many, including lack of resources, unclear ROI or simple organizational resistance. And the ultimate barrier, of course, is the thought of championing a leading-edge media channel only to see it fail.

MillwardBrown put forward a solution to this challenge in a position paper called Changing Channels with Confidence: A Structure for Innovation. Authors Duncan Southgate and John Svendsen advocate for a 70/20/10 approach to allocating resources or investment. Already in use by Google and Coca-Cola, the model calls for 70% of resources to be dedicated the core business; 20% to be used to innovate against what has worked in the past; and 10% to fund high-risk new ideas.

Applied to communications plans of any budget size, the 70/20/10 model gives marketers freedom to test new approaches without being penalized for failures.

While the mix varies depending on the market or category, the 70% could be traditional, low-risk channels of broadcast, print, and outdoor with the 20% being a new spin on something that worked well in the past. Meanwhile the 10% can be reserved for true experimentation: channels or approaches that are totally new to the brand yet still in line with business objectives. The 10% tactics that perform well could be added to the brand’s repertoire; those that fail get chalked up to a learning experience.

MillwardBrown argues that adopting this model for media planning will give brands the license to experiment with mobile, a high-potential channel that is widely seen as a marketing imperative but one that most brands have yet to master.

Whether its mobile or another channel, the 70/20/10 model gives marketers permission to try, fail and try again.



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