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It’s not about Virality; it’s about Vitality! Master the 85% Rule for Strategic Digital Marketing Growth

Hands typing on laptop with upward graph and analytics symbols, representing the 85% rule in digital marketing success

In today’s fast-paced digital marketing landscape, there’s a principle that stands out, drawing inspiration from the world of sports: the 85% rule. This concept, simple yet profound, suggests that just as athletes often achieve their best performance by giving 85% effort, marketers too can find their sweet spot with a balanced and strategic approach.

The Origin of the 85% Concept

Consider the story of Carl Lewis, the legendary nine-time Olympic gold medalist. Lewis wasn’t always the one to shoot out of the blocks the fastest. However, his consistent strategy of maintaining an 85% effort throughout his races often led him to the finish line first. This wasn’t about holding back but finding the optimal balance. It was about understanding the race, the competitors, and most importantly, himself.

Applying the 85% Rule to Digital Marketing

This principle of balance and consistency can be beautifully applied to the realm of digital marketing:

  1. Focused Efforts: In the vast sea of digital channels, it’s easy to get lost. However, just as Lewis maintained a steady pace, marketers should zero in on a few key channels that resonate most with their target audience. It’s not about being everywhere but being impactful where it matters.
  2. Quality is King: The digital space is inundated with content. But, akin to Lewis’s impeccable form on the track, marketers should prioritize creating content that stands out. It’s not about the quantity but the quality that aligns with the brand’s voice and ethos.
  3. Balanced Intensity: The digital world is dynamic, with trends changing at the drop of a hat. While it’s essential to be proactive, finding that 85% effort balance is equally crucial. It ensures sustainability, prevents burnout, and keeps the creative juices flowing.
  4. Adaptability is Key: Just as athletes might need to adjust their mid-race strategy based on various factors, marketers should also be agile. With the wealth of real-time data available, strategies should be flexible to pivot based on feedback, analytics, and changing market dynamics.
  5. Understanding Limits: Every campaign, strategy, or content piece has a life cycle. It is crucial to recognise when it’s reaching a saturation point and when to innovate or take a step back. It’s about preserving energy and resources for the next big push.
Associations and the 85% Rule

While businesses can draw a lot from this rule, associations have a lot to gain. The digital space offers associations a platform to engage, inform, and grow their member base. By applying the 85% rule, associations can ensure that their content is engaging, relevant, and not overwhelming. It’s about creating a digital presence that resonates with the audience’s pulse, ensuring sustained engagement and growth.

Diving Deeper: SEO and LinkedIn Strategies

The 85% rule finds significant relevance in specific digital strategies:

SEO: Search Engine Optimization is the backbone of digital visibility. By adhering to the 85% principle, marketers can ensure that their content is not just high in quantity but rich in quality. Such content naturally aligns with relevant keywords, improving search rankings. Moreover, aspects like metadata, backlink strategies, and content structure, when approached with the 85% mindset, can significantly enhance organic visibility.

LinkedIn: As a premier platform for professionals, LinkedIn values insightful and balanced content. Overloading followers with information can be counterproductive. However, content that strikes the right balance, offering value without being overzealous, garners engagement. It fosters meaningful conversations, positioning brands and individuals as thought leaders in their domain.


The 85% rule serves as a beacon for those navigating the intricate corridors of digital marketing. It emphasizes the importance of balance, strategy, and self-awareness. In a realm where numbers often measure success – be it followers, likes, or rankings – the 85% rule is a reminder that sustainable success lies in the harmony between effort and strategy.

In an era where technology is advancing at breakneck speed and consumer behaviors are continuously evolving, this principle offers a grounding point. It’s a reminder that while pushing boundaries is essential, it’s equally crucial to maintain balance. Whether you’re a multinational corporation, a local business, or an association looking to grow its digital footprint, the 85% rule can be your guiding star.

As we stand at the intersection of technology, strategy, and creativity, the 85% rule offers a lens to view our efforts, ensuring we move forward with purpose, clarity, and balance. It’s not just about winning the race but understanding and enjoying the journey. And in the digital marathon, this is the mantra for sustained success.

It’s not about Virality; it’s about Vitality.


  1. How can I optimize my social media presence beyond the channels mentioned in the blog?
    Beyond the highlighted channels, apply the 85% rule by analyzing platform analytics to identify where your audience engages most. Tailor your content strategy accordingly, ensuring quality and relevance while maintaining a balanced presence across platforms. This approach maximizes impact where it matters most, driving sustained engagement and growth.

  2. How can associations leverage the 85% rule to boost revenue and drive membership growth in the digital realm?
    Associations can utilize the this rule to strategically allocate resources towards revenue-generating initiatives and member acquisition efforts. By focusing on impactful strategies that resonate with their audience, such as targeted advertising, personalized member experiences, and value-added services, associations can optimize their digital presence to drive sustainable revenue growth and success.

  3. How does the 85% rule influence website design and user experience strategies?
    Website design and user experience are pivotal in digital marketing. Applying this rule involves prioritizing usability, navigation, and content accessibility. Avoid overwhelming visitors with excessive information or design elements. Instead, focus on delivering a seamless experience that prioritizes clarity, simplicity, and engagement, aligning with the principles of balance and quality.

  4. Can the 85% rule be integrated into email marketing campaigns for improved effectiveness?
    Yes, indeed. In email marketing, the 85% rule emphasizes personalization, relevance, and timing. Tailor your email content to each recipient’s preferences and behaviors, avoiding spammy or excessive messaging. Strive for a balanced frequency of communication that keeps your audience engaged without inundating their inboxes, fostering a deeper connection and higher conversion rates.

  5. How does the 85% rule influence content curation strategies for digital marketers?
    Content curation is an art that aligns perfectly with the 85% rule. Focus on selecting high-quality, relevant content that adds value to your audience. Avoid overposting or overwhelming your followers with an excess of content. Instead, curate a balanced mix of content types and sources that resonate with your audience’s interests and preferences, fostering sustained engagement and trust.

A thought-leadership piece written by the CEO of Kabloom, Richard Torianni.

Updated on May 22nd, 2024

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