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The 70/20/10 Marketing Principle

by Pauline
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Ever heard of the 70/20/10 Marketing principle? Maybe you know it as the 70/20/10 principle for innovation? No. Let’s dive right in.

First, let’s look at where this principle (most likely) was derived from. The 70.20.10 learning and development formula is famous and was developed by someone named Morgan McCall alongside the Centre for Creative Leadership. The research gathered around this formula spanned an impressive 30 years and proposes that:

  • 70% of learning comes from on-the-job experience
  • 20% from developmental relationships 
  • (and only) 10% comes from formal interventions and planned learning solutions. 

Sounds astounding right? Especially if you’re reading this and have just finished a course or degree, but there is extensive science to back it up. To be honest, I can 100% see how this formula exists as formal training gives you a fantastic foundation but getting your hands dirty will prepare you with many countless lessons.

Back to the 70/20/10 Marketing Principle though. Whenever I’ve been asked to look at a client or brand’s budget I’ve always applied the 70/20/10 Principle.

When it was first introduced to me, I was asked to think of my budget as a bucket.

70/20/10 Marketing (Principle-Based) Budget:


First (and this will be your largest bucket allocation) will be to allocate money to tried and tested channels. These tried and tested channels and marketing methods allow you to continue on your proven success record.


This will be a space for you to try new tactics and represents an opportunity for you to keep yourself ahead of your competition. These activities may not drive massive outcomes in a month or in the quarter, but represent opportunities to push forward


This is your “less serious space” this part of your budget should be dedicated to areas that your consumers may not even be quite sure about yet. Why do this? Well if you invest in new opportunities or technology, you will already be more in-the-know than your competitors. It’s a way to facilitate innovation (more on this here) and promote future-faced thinking within your business.

Have you ever tried using the 70/20/10 principle when planning your marketing activities and setting up your marketing budget?

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