The 40-40-20 Rule Will CRASH Your Campaign!

The 40-40-20 Rule Is All Wrong!

So is the 40-30-30… and the 30-30-40.

All those rules that try to create a formula for the importance of the elements in an advertising campaign are all wrong.

It’s easy to understand why.

Imagine your marketing campaign is an expensive camera. You’re going to need a tripod.

I sell tripods. I have just the tripod for you. I show it to you. You get a funny look on your face and squint.

“It’s broken,” you say.

“Whattaya mean?”

“One leg is shorter than the others.”

“That’s not a defect,” I reply. “That’s why my tripod is better than any other. It’s designed that way by an expert, who says the legs should be 40-40-20.”

You walk away. You’re no dummy.


You’re shopping for a new car. I can sell you a specially designed car. You just need to make one decision. You can choose which system is weaker than the others. Do you want strong brakes, strong engine, and sort of so-so steering?  Or maybe you want the brakes to be the weak link? Choice is yours.

You walk away. You’re no dummy.

But when someone tries to sell you a marketing campaign in which the importance of one element is diminished relative to the others, you don’t walk away.

If I ask you which leg of a tripod does more of the work and which one can you afford to skimp on, you’ll tell me each leg of the tripod is equally important.

If ANY of the legs of a tripod is shorter or weaker, the tripod just won’t do the job you expect it to do.

Likewise with the systems in a car. If either the brakes, motor, or steering of a car is weak, it’s not safe to drive.

If ANY ONE of the three elements of your marketing campaign is weak, you will not get the results you would get if ALL THREE ELEMENTS are as strong as you can make them. OF COURSE, you need to target the right audience. OF COURSE you need the right offer. OF COURSE the copy, design, and format must be as strong as you can make them.

Skimping on any one of them and your campaign will crash.