Trusting Pareto

We hear it all the time: less is more.

Lighter interfaces have been made sexy by Apple. People who think about only one task at a time get more done. Eating less is healthier for our bodies. We even hear “less is more” being used to excuse wearing ever-smaller bathers at the beach.

Pareto was considering a similar wisdom when we spoke about what we now call the Pareto Principle: that 80% of our outcomes are due to 20% of our activity.

If only we knew which 20% of our activity was going to produce the most outcomes, all of us would be on board with Pareto. The problem is that’s not always obvious.

Which is one reason why, when it comes to marketing, I find many people still create a list for themselves that includes every activity they have ever heard that might be beneficial.

We all know that we should be doing less, and putting our energy into what is going to be most valuable. Yet it’s hard to cut out activity that you know might produce some results.

It’s difficult to have faith in Pareto.

Luckily, practicality is on our side when it comes to digital marketing. We can test our campaigns easily and quickly. Advertisements, for example, can give us valid feedback after only a few days, and show us whether they will work or not. Whether they are part of the 20% or the 80%.

So it’s not just about trust. Prove to yourself what will work and what will not.

And then do more of the less that produces the more.


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