How to Break the 80/20 Rule
You know the 80/20 rule, right? It applies to just about every organization regardless of type.
- In churches, 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people
- In nonprofits, 80% of the donations come from 20% of the people
- In businesses, 80% of profit comes from 20% of the clients
Just imagine what you could do if you could increase that 20% to 30%?
How do we do we break through that 20% barrier?
1) Don’t think about percentages.
They don’t really matter. Let me explain…
For the sake of simplicity, let’s say your 80% is actually 80 people and your 20% is 20 people. You could improve your percentages by alienating 10 of the 80 less engaged people, causing them to leave. Not a very good plan, right?
And let’s say you implemented a new strategy that doubled the more engaged people from 20 to 40 and tripled the less engaged people from 80 to 240, dropping the percentage of more engaged people to 14%. Is that a bad thing? No.
You see, the percentages don’t matter. What’s important is growing the number of people who are more engaged with your organizations.
2) Do think about your “who’s.”
In How to Develop a Communications Strategy – with 6 Words we discussed the importance of creating a communications strategy by first asking “Why” (the purposes of our communications) and then asking “Who.” (Who are we communicating with, demographics, psychographics, preferred communications platforms).
Many organizations split their “whos” into two groups and therefore their communications into categories. There are the people not yet connected to the organization for whom they do “marketing,” and there are those connected to the organization for whom they do “internal communication.”
Let’s think strategically…
If 20% of the people are contributing 80% of the money, time, etc, and we want to increase the number of highly engaged people in that 20% category, we need to further segment our “whos.” We need better understand the 80% – who they are, what they think about, what they need, what communications platforms they’re using. Then we need to develop a strategy designed to move people in the 80% to the 20%.
We also need to think specifically about 20%. Who are they? What are their concerns? What do they need?
And are there other even higher levels of engagement we can help move them to?
What can you do to move more of the 20% to the 10%, 5% or 1% of people who make up your fanatical core who would do almost anything to support your cause?
- What do you think about the value of segmenting your target audiences and communications by levels of engagement?
- Are you already doing that? If so, what has the effect been?
- If not, are you considering it?
P.S. If you haven’t done the Communications Strategy Survey yet, please take 2 minutes to help us help you. Thanks!