Italian mathematician Vilfredo Pareto’s observations that resulted in what is now commonly known as the “80/20” rule,  are well understood.

 As a young marketer, Lord leverhulme’s wry observation that he knew half his advertising was wasted, he just wish he knew which half was which resonated with me. It also seemed to me that the balance of activity in the marketing departments I inhabited   also fell into Pareto’s 80/20 rule, 80% of marketing was creative, and 20% was quantitative.

The last decade has turned that all on its head. We can now comprehensively measure the impact of our decisions,  their cause and effect chains, and calculate an ROI, particularly in B2B. I venture that the balance has changed, and marketing is now 80% quantitative, 20% creative.

However,  20% of activity that is creative is more critical than ever, as it is the stuff that offers differentiation, an edge in the market, access to new customers and channels, a reason to engage.

Too many marketers I see are still avoiding the accountability offered by the analytical capabilities developed in the last decade, preferring to remain in the past. However,  those who are really successful, the 20%,  embrace the notion of accountability for their decisions, and track the returns on their marketing investments.

As a side benefit, effective use of marketing analytics offers greater profile to those seeking corporate advancement, the beanies who generally run the joint, love the numbers!