It’s time for a changeup in the game of marketing
Written by Amanda Ashley, Director of Operations and Project Management, Access 2 Insight – a Biggs|Gilmore affiliate
It’s simple, really: You win baseball games by scoring runs. If you find the players who are the best at getting on base, that results in runs.
You want those players for your team. And that means looking beyond the subjective stuff, like “It seems he’s a clutch hitter.” This concept is called Sabermetrics. It’s been around since the 1970s, but really gained acceptance at the highest level when it was used by the Oakland Athletics in 2002. The team’s strategy was later described in a book, and then turned into a movie under the same name, “Moneyball.”
The A’s were under tremendous budget constraints (by Major League Baseball standards), but had the same expectations to build a winning team as larger markets with budgets three times theirs. They had to be smarter and make their money work harder. By thinking outside the box and using different statistical analyses, they realized that on-base percentage and slugging percentage were better indicators of home-run success. Luckily, these qualities were cheaper to obtain on the open market than traditional qualities such as speed and hitting for average – and helped the A’s finish first in their division that year.
Hmmm, does this sound familiar: an organization under budget constraints, but still wanting to compete at the highest level? I think we have all worked on a brand with this hurdle. So, in the marketing world, how do you make your clients’ money work harder?
Let’s take a cue from the A’s. Being smarter about the type of data a company uses – and the type of analyses done on that data – can make a huge impact. Data-driven strategies are crucial to better understand a company’s customers, and additional modeling and segmentation can provide insight into what’s driving your consumers’ attitudes and behaviors. Something as simple as helping clients take their database and break it into behavioral segments can make a huge difference in ROI. Which then allows more tailored messages to go to consumers – which achieves better engagement and more purchases in the near term, and stronger brand loyalty and higher affinity in the long term.
In both baseball and marketing, basing decisions on data is not comfortable for many (brand) managers. In fact, it’s anathema for some. That’s fine, though, because our argument is not that decisions should consider data alone. Even today, the A’s continue to increase their scouting budget, relying on gut feel to pick guys who will be the best major league players. You can be sure that along with gut feel, though, they know who has the highest on-base percentage. So it should be with marketing “Moneyball”: When data and the insight that comes from them are properly applied, decisions will be on the mark.
Image source: Flickr