Zag Ed.13 – Dealing with What You Don’t Know, The 70/20/10 Framework for Innovation, and 12 Awesome Challenger Marketing Case Studies

🤨 Sustainable growth (of any kind) is more about dealing with what you don’t know.

What you know will help you do well right now, but the world changes quickly. It’s inevitable that you, your team, and your business will be faced with challenges you don’t know how to deal with.

How will you learn something new? How will you adapt? How will you turn change that’s coming from risk to opportunity?

Leaders and businesses that are focused on the short-term are good at dealing with what they know. Those that are focused on the long-term develop the culture and capabilities to deal with what they don’t know.


😍 One of the ways to balance the often competing needs of short-term results and long-term growth is to have a framework for how you manage your time and resource.

We like the 70/20/10 model, which has many applications to marketing and growth in general (and is what Google uses to determine its innovation investments).

Here’s the headline of what the model means and how to use it:

  • 70% of your time and budget should be focused on core initiatives (things you know work and will deliver short-term results)
  • 20% should be on on progressive initiatives (things you think will work and will deliver medium-term results
  • 10% should be on moonshot initiatives (things that might not work, but if they do they will deliver big long-term results.

The model you use matters less than making sure you are focusing on both short-term results and long-term growth.



☠️ Many of the challenger brands we talk about are in mainstream business categories: CPG, retail, financial services, B2B, etc. But every industry where needs and expectations are changing has the potential to be disrupted.

How about the industry of death? We (hopefully) don’t have to think about it often, but death is a big business that hasn’t changed much in the last 100+ years. One challenger funeral home is trying to change that to meet the new needs and expectations of the modern “customer”.

Read how Sparrow is aiming to “rebrand” death.



💰  Proving and measuring ROI is the holy grail for all marketers. And, as we all know, it’s not always easy (or the right thing to measure, but that’s a separate conversation). However, recent research from a group of analytics companies in the UK and published by Marketing Week claims the “marketing effectiveness crisis is now over”. We’re not sure about that…but there are some encouraging stats and trends in the research, especially for online advertising.



🤓 Our content factory has been working overtime to produce our first whitepaper (which we’ll release early to Zag subscribers!) and our new research offering (more on that soon!). We’ve combed through hundreds of case studies on challenger marketing over the last few weeks and thought we’d share the best ones all in one place for you. We know this doesn’t fit into the “5 minutes or less” promise for each Zag edition, but it’s too valuable not to share. Bookmark the links (or star this email) to come back to if you don’t have time to read through them now.


Have a thought on this? We'd love to hear it.

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