Five B2B Email Marketing Campaign Areas Where the 80/20 Rule Usually Shows Up

The Pareto Principle, more popularly known as the 80/20 Rule is a seemingly self-fulfilling prophecy that states 80% of outcomes are brought about by 20% of the events that caused them and, inversely, 20% of results are caused by 80% of the preceding events. But there’s nothing magical about this tendency. In fact, the figures don’t have to be 80/20; they can be 70/30 or 99/1 or whatever. The whole point is that, sometimes, less contributes more while more gives less.

Translation: The world is full of inefficiencies, and so is your B2B email marketing campaign!

Of course, the 80/20 Rule isn’t here to tell us that achieving greater levels of efficiency is impossible. Instead, it exists as a reminder for us to constantly check for such inefficiencies and take the necessary steps to correct them. In our email campaigns, we face these imbalances in things such as the B2B mailing list, time management, segment performance, and other areas. Here are five such aspects in your campaign where the Pareto Principle tends to show up:


1. List Segmentation. The way you segment your targeted mailing list does have some kind of effect on your results. You might find that a small segment (say, 20% of the total contacts) actually gives you 80% of your desired results while the rest of the contacts (the remaining 80%) only produce 20% of the action. If this is the case (or something similar), try to determine why.

2. Response Rates. Some (but not all) metrics such as click-through rates (CTRs) tend to somewhat (but not precisely) demonstrate the 80/20 Rule. For example, you might notice that the greater percentage of your CTRs can be traced to only a handful of the contacts in your B2B mailing list. In this case, the minimal response rate from the bigger chunk of recipients can be due to a lot of things, and it’s part of your job to know what those are.

3. Subscribership & List Building. If you’re working with a B2B mailing list broker, you might be interested in determining what percentage of the records in the database actually ends up hitting the opt-out button. Compare this with the relative size of subscribers from your own list building efforts that also choose to unsubscribe. There might be an 80/20 correlation here as well.

4. Deliverability. Check your spam abuse reports and bounce rates then trace them back to specific portions in your mailing list. You might observe that a large part of the total complaints or bounces come from a relatively small group of contacts. Find out what sets these recipients apart from the rest and work to fix the issue.

5. Activities & Tasks. Take a look at your schedule of email marketing-related tasks and activities. Are you spending too much time on things that add very little value to your readers? If you are, then you need to reorganize your priorities and focus more on tasks that matter more to your recipients (e.g., content development).

Knowing the 80/20 Rule helps us improve our B2B email marketing project’s efficiency by focusing on those campaign elements that really add value and addressing those areas that need improvement. Many marketing and business thinkers treat this rule as a guiding principle in optimizing many processes and activities. Again, the most important takeaway here is to look for the minority of things that actually offer the largest portion of the results and find out why the majority is only contributing so little.