The 30% rule – utilised by businesses across many industries – is a concept pioneered by Steve Jobs as a way to help focus business efforts on customers’ needs. When he returned to Apple in 1997, the 30% rule came about in an effort to get them back on a successful track.

Basically, Jobs made an inventory of Apple’s products and services and realised that they were extending themselves into areas that were not really suitable. It appeared that around 30% of their products were outstanding and the remaining 70% were okay to good. He realised that the 30% were most likely to be successful and the remaining 70% had no where near the same potential. So, production of the 70% ceased and all resource and effort was channelled into the 30% which appealed most to their target audience.

It’s fair to say that since then, Apple has been pretty successful.

The message is that if we don’t identify our real target audience and focus on them, or if we try to appeal to everyone in an effort to reach a greater audience, we won’t have the success we’re hoping for.

It’s a rule that can be adopted to improve our marketing and the reason why we should specifically research our target audience’s needs.

And to do that, in a world where the rate of technological change is phenomenal, we have to be targeted and smart when it comes to maximising audience exposure through social media platforms because the broadest audience isn’t necessarily the best.

So how can companies use the 30% rule to improve their marketing?

If your current marketing isn’t reaping particularly successful results, then it’s worth researching whether your target audience is still who you think it is. If someone is engaging with your brand or reading your blogs, then they’re interested – so why would you employ a scatter gun approach to target those who are not? Aim for a narrower focus on people who you know are interested rather than a broader focus in an attempt to target people who you hope might be.

Having more specifically identified your audience, don’t waste resources on marketing channels they don’t use. A 16 year old is less likely to use FaceBook and a 60 year old is less likely to use TikTok.

Sometimes in marketing, less is more.