Predicting your marketing success can be tricky, but fortunately there’s one little rule that can help ensure your marketing doesn’t fall on deaf ears.

It’s called the 40/40/20 rule and it comes from the tried and true world of direct mail marketing.

Here’s the deal:

Targeting = 40%

Approximately 40% of your marketing success will depend on how well you target. Modern marketing all starts and ends with data. You need to make sure that you’re delivering a highly relevant message to the right person at the right time. This means you should be segmenting your audience in a way that allows you to market to them during trigger events­–meaning a time in which they have a high likelihood of buying your product. Look for ways to dice up your marketing data so you can speak to prospects about their specific situation and problems at exactly the right time.

Offer = 40%

If you’re not offering them the right deal then you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Another 40% of marketing success depends on your offer. Give’em a reason to buy. Make them feel special. Give them a discount, exclusive access to a contest, or a sneak peak of your product­–something they can’t just go out and buy themselves. Moral of the story, bring value to your target audience when you market to them.

Creative = 20%

The creative look and feel of your marketing will only account for about 20% of your success. Sure, it’s nice to look good, but if you wrote a good offer on a napkin and gave it to the right person at the perfect time, it would sell. The point? Don’t get too wrapped up in this part at the beginning. Your creative quality only really needs to be good enough so your target audience takes you seriously.

All in all, each part is significant, but this easy to remember rule will help you keep yourself in check and prioritize efforts when crafting your next marketing program.

The Marketing Agency Perspective

Typically a marketing agency has little control over a client’s offer. They can make suggestions, but in the end it’s the clients decision to roll with what they want. So, the agency is usually left with 60% of the potential marketing success in their hands. Considering that the importance of targeting outweighs the creative 2 to 1 and that the minimum level of quality required for the creative work is low for a marketing agency, a skilled agency should focus on sophisticated targeting models to get the results a client is looking for.