How to make impactful things

The best ideas on prioritization and decisions on what to do next.

REAN Model

What a priority matrix is

A priority matrix is a management tool for determining the development vector where priorities are visually divided into four (or more) quadrants.

There are matrices for personal time management and complex business projects. Most of them have derived from the Eisenhower matrix created to manage personal tasks.

A prioritized backlog visually divided into 2x2 matrix in

When to use a priority matrix

Use an action priority matrix when you have limited resources and you want to distribute them rationally to maximize performance and ROI.

Placing backlog tasks into four quadrants will help you visualize their impact on the main business objectives. Focus the team efforts on one of the four quadrants to have a clear understanding of where you’re heading, what results, and when to expect.

How the quadrants work

One of the most efficient and easy to use is the 2x2 matrix. It consists of two evaluation criteria: one positive (e.g., Value, Impact, or Revenue) and one negative(e.g., Effort, Costs, or Risk).

Tasks evaluated by the criteria are divided into four quadrants:

  • Quadrant 1—high positive score and low negative score.
    This quadrant is often called Quick Wins, and its tasks are low-hanging fruit that will bring you positive results immediately. Most likely, you should do these tasks first.
  • Quadrant 2—high positive score and high negative score.
    Here are your Major Projects that won’t bring immediate results but are strategically valuable and should be considered on your roadmap.
  • Quadrant 3—low positive score and low negative score.
    These are so-called Fill-Ins—cheap solutions with no significant impact. These tasks should be further discussed and implemented only when you have extra resources.
  • Quadrant 4—low positive score and high negative score.
    These are Thankless Tasks. They bring little to no value and cost you a lot. Delete them or reconsider the solution to become more valuable.

How to create and use a priority matrix

1. Think of what is currently important to your business to come up with appropriate criteria.

Do you have deadlines, and time is critical? Or you must avoid risks at all costs?

Two criteria are enough for a fast and simple prioritization. Yet, they aren’t enough for complex projects where you must consider and juggle multiple stages of user behavior or business objectives. We in estimate all the vital elements for our product and just filter the matrix by the criteria we need more focus on at some point in time.

We hide some criteria to consider tasks influencing only the objective important now.

2. Decide on the score range.

What numbers will your team use when estimating the criteria?

Each criterion should be evaluated by the same numbers with prescribed interpretation. We use numbers from 0 to 3 where 0—no impact, 1—low impact, 2—medium impact, 3—high impact.

We use criteria tooltips so that we don't have to keep in mind what they and the scores mean.

3. Estimate all the necessary tasks together with the team.

Who takes part in the project and can bring a unique perspective to the table? Does the project require only engineers or designers and copywriters’ efforts as well?

Considering each task by the whole team strengthens your shared understanding and gives the best prioritization results. In our team, managers evaluate feature Reach and Revenue, engineers and UX/UI—Development Time, and everybody must estimate Activation, Retention, and two product-specific criteria, Speed and Collaboration.

Most of the criteria we evaluate together to keep our shared understanding solid, and specific ones we leave to experts.

4. Study and discuss the prioritization results.

Why have these features made it to the top? Do you all agree they are most valuable now and must be implemented?

Never take the prioritization result into work unquestioningly. Prioritization is a tool to help you make the right decisions and not make them instead of you. Discuss your top priorities with the team at the planning meeting and make sure you all understand what must be done, why this way, and why it’s important.

To Sum Up

A priority matrix is simple and efficient. You can make it far more powerful by using automation tools. allows you to create a complex prioritization framework you can use both as a weighted decision matrix and action priority matrix and switch the criteria focus in no time.

Try our matrix templates. Free to sign up and free to use. No credit cards. Just jump in and prioritize for your growth.

In this article, we want to compare two marketing frameworks, REAN and RACE, find the differences and similarities, and share our method of using them for marketing task prioritization.

REAN Model Definition

REAN is a four-factor framework for mapping and analyzing marketing activities, and goal setting. Stands for Reach, Engagement, Activation, and Nurture. Originally developed by Xavier Blanc for mapping activities. Popularized by Steve Jackson in the Cult of Analytics as a way to analyze the activities’ effectiveness and develop KPIs.


  • Reach focuses on activities needed to raise brand awareness and attract people to the brand.
  • Answers question: How can we raise attention to the product and how effective are the measures?
  • Measured by: Impression metrics.


  • Engagement focuses on activities needed to improve audience interaction with the brand.
  • Answers question: How can we engage the audience we attract and how effective are the measures?
  • Measured by: Click depth, Time spent on the website.


  • Activation focuses on activities needed to increase the number of people taking action.
  • Answers question: How can we get more people to take action and how effective are the measures?
  • Measured by: Conversion metrics.


  • Nurture focuses on activities needed to retain and re-engage activated consumers.
  • Answers question: How can we encourage visitors to return and consume more content, and how effective are the measures?
  • Measured by: Effectiveness of re-marketing efforts.

RACE Planning Framework Definition

RACE Planning is a five-step framework for mapping and managing engagement activities. Developed by The Smart Insights. RACE stands for Reach, Act, Convert, and Engage. It also includes Plan—the initial phase of digital strategy creation and objective setting.


  • Reach focuses on activities that will drive traffic to your website and raise brand awareness.
  • Cover by: Organic and paid search, social media, PR, etc.
  • Measure by: Audience volume/quality/value/cost.


  • Act focuses on persuading site visitors to take action and encouraging interaction with your content.
  • Cover by: Relevant, useful, and engaging content.
  • Measure by: Lead conversion rate, time spent on site, number of subscribers/likes/shares.


  • Convert focuses on encouraging visitors to take the final step and their conversion into paying customers.
  • Cover by: Conversion rate optimization, marketing automation, and retargeting.
  • Measure by: Sales, Revenue/Profit, Conversion and Order Value.


  • Engage focuses on developing long-term relationships with customers to drive repeated sales and advocacy.
  • Cover by: A wide range of online and offline communications, customer loyalty drivers research.
  • Measure by: Repeat Purchase, Customer satisfaction, advocacy.

What’s Different

If we look closely at the criteria description we can notice some differences:

Engagement vs. Act

While REAN’s Engagement speaks only of the overall customer interaction with the brand and a way of understanding visitors’ interest, RACE’s Act wants you to think and focus on the first desired action as well. Thus the second stage can help you be more goal-oriented and gather more valuable data.

Nurture vs. Engage

REAN’s Nurture speaks of engaging the activated visitors to come back and consume more content. RACE’s Engage wants you to drive repeated sales and build a loyal audience through the re-engagement. Which again makes the RACE’s criterion more goal-oriented.

What’s the Same

If we take a step back and look at both frameworks from afar we’ll notice that generally, they focus on the same marketing efforts and customer lifecycle stages:

  • Reach / Reach → Traffic acquisition → Awareness Stage.
  • Engage / Act → Interaction engagement → Consideration Stage.
  • Activate / Convert → Selling → Purchase Stage.
  • Nurture / Engage → Retaining customers → Retention & Loyalty Stage.

So basically, there is no huge difference in which abbreviation you choose for yourself. The main point is how you use it for better performance. Both REAN and RACE models will help you map activities, measurements, goals, and channels. Simply ask questions:

  1. How are we going to acquire/engage/sell/retain?
  2. What do we track to understand how effectively we acquire/engage/sell/retain?
  3. Will our goals help us acquire/engage/sell/retain?
  4. How will each of the channels help us acquire/engage/sell/retain?

Why Prioritize Marketing Tasks

Let’s imagine you’ve already created your marketing roadmap, and decided on goals and measurements. Each step you’re going to take will mostly comprise of several options and dozens of tasks your team needs to accomplish. There’s no doubt that you’d want to gain value faster for fewer costs.

Aside from that, you need to equally develop each of the stages, because if your website attracts no visitors, it has no value. If you can’t engage those you reach, you’ll fail to convert them, and so on.

So, when all the plannings and mappings are done, don’t rush your team to randomly complete tasks, write texts, and create designs. Take the time to figure out which of them will influence your objectives more with less work done.

Prioritization shouldn’t take long in the first place. It must save you hours on doing unnecessary work and ensure you don’t jump in with a complex expensive solution when there is a cheaper one. But we won’t focus on how to prioritize fast in this article—we’ve already covered it here.

How to Prioritize with REAN / RACE

The best way to keep balance and highlight quick wins is by using weighted scorecard prioritization. This is when each idea is evaluated by criteria with prior determined significance. Transforming REAN, RACE, or any other marketing funnel into a weighted scorecard is simple. We’re going to use REAN for our examples below not to get confused. Here are the steps:

1. Transform Stages into Criteria.

Think of the stages as your goals. Each task must help you achieve these goals. So you can describe your criteria as such:

  • Reach → Will this task help us attract more relevant traffic to the website?
  • Engage → Will this task help us encourage visitors to interact with the website?
  • Activate → Will this task increase the number of conversions?
  • Nurture → Will this task help us encourage customers to return to the website?

These are example descriptions of the criteria we have in our REAN template in Ducalis. You can adjust them to fit your marketing objectives more.

2. Decide on the Score Scale.

Next, you need to decide on scores each task can get. To determine which activity will bring more value, you need to evaluate how strongly it impacts the objective.

First, choose numbers to assign. It might be a sequence like Fibonacci or Exponential. We prefer a range from 0 to 3 for simplicity.

But numbers are just a half of a step. If you leave them as they are, your teammates will perceive them very differently thus making the estimation vague. You need to specify what it means when a task impacts the Reach by 2, 3, or else.

The simplest way is to use the MoSCoW method. We prefer this one when it’s difficult to predict the outcome in numbers. So you can explain the scores like:

  • 0 = Won’t impact.
  • 1 = Could impact.
  • 2 = Should impact.
  • 3 = Must impact.

Alternatively, we can borrow estimations from RICE’s Impact:

  • 0 = Doesn’t impact
  • 1 = Low impact
  • 2 = Medium impact
  • 3 = High impact.

The best way to describe scores for marketing evaluation is to use the exact measurements you expect to track. For example:

Reach → Will this task help us attract more relevant traffic to the website?

  • 0 = no traffic.
  • 1 = less than 100 visits.
  • 2 = 100 - 500 visits.
  • 3 = 500 - 1000 or more.

Activate → Will this task increase the number of conversions?

  • 0 = no conversions.
  • 1 = few conversions.
  • 2 = about a dozen conversions.
  • 3 = more than a dozen conversions.

In Ducalis you can explain criteria and their scores in the language of your team, and won’t need to memorize them or constantly peep into the notes in a separate doc—everything you write in the description will appear in a pop-up each time you need to assess the criterion.

3. Decide on Efforts

Prioritization makes no sense if you don’t take into account how much the activity will cost you. You want to work on the most valuable and cheapest solutions first. Thus you must calculate the expected expenses.

As we estimate Development Complexity for our product features, we evaluate Time and Price for the marketing.

Time → How long will it take for the team to complete?

  • 0 = 0 - 2 hours.
  • 1 = 3 - 6 hours.
  • 2 = 7 - 10 hours.
  • 3 = more than 10 hours.

Price→ How much will cost the promotion?

  • 0 = for free.
  • 1 = less than 100$/month.
  • 2 = 100 - 500$/month.
  • 3 = more than 500$/month.

These are our example criteria and scores descriptions. Create your custom efforts criteria and set them with negative weight.

4. Evaluate

Gather all your marketing tasks in a single place and evaluate them by the whole team. Collaborative prioritization has a whole load of advantages:

  • You use the power of crowd wisdom. You collect all the diverse opinions and gather all the perspectives. Even if you know less, you add value as long as what you know is different. Thus, by averaging, you get the most accurate estimation you will ever be able to get.
  • You break silos because everybody knows what the others are doing and what to expect in the nearest future.
  • You avoid the HiPPO effect. Your product promotion won’t go wrong because of some emotional decisions.
  • You motivate people because you empower them with decision making. You let them see their goals clearly and choose how they achieve them.

You can divide people into evaluation groups and give them specific criteria only they can estimate. Or you can make all the criteria common and evaluate them together even if it’s out of the person’s purview.

5. Find Gaps in Shared Understanding

Another valuable advantage of collaborative evaluation is the possibility to see where the team has disagreements and misunderstandings. Check your teammates’ scores scatter and discuss the most divergent. You may find that somebody doesn’t understand the task or a specific criterion, or vice versa has a unique point of view the whole team has missed out.

Key Take-Aways

  • REAN model and RACE Planning framework don’t have considerable differences.
  • Regardless of namings, you must ask questions to come up with clear goals.
  • Marketing roadmap isn’t enough. You should also prioritize tasks and activities.
  • You must take into account expenses to find cheap valuable solutions.
  • You should prioritize by the whole team to build team alignment around the goals.
  • You mustn’t spend too much time on prioritization, and it’s better to use tools.

Plan and analyze the complex sequence of inter-related multichannel marketing activities.

Map each marketing channel activity by:
  • Reach—effectiveness of the attraction to your site.
  • Engage—customers or prospects interaction with your brand.
  • Activate—actions customers take on your website.
  • Nurture—encouragement to return to your site and consume more content.

REAN Marketing Prioritization


Marketing prioritization based on four stages of the buyer's journey.

Read about other useful prioritization techniques