THINK Contributor

What do baseball champions and marketing heroes have in common?

By , May 10, 2017

It’s baseball season (about time!), so let’s start a conversation about marketing performance with a legendary story from America’s favorite pastime, baseball. This story – Moneyball, about the 2002 Oakland A’s and manager Billy Beane’s game-changing (pun intended) approach to building a championship team – is an underdog tale about a geeky and entirely revolutionary data-driven model for scouting and analyzing players that completely disrupts one of the oldest professional sports in the world. It’s a great lesson about the power of data, something that we as marketers should pay close attention to.

True, the 2002 A’s didn’t win the World Series (they did rattle off 20 straight wins, the most by any team since 1947), but the Boston Red Sox did two years later using the same data modeling introduced by Beane and his Yale economics–educated assistant general manager. Turns out that data science works.

And so we come back to marketing, and the same question: Can marketers use data to achieve success like Beane did? The answer: Undoubtedly yes. But how?

Let’s first draw some parallels. Beane and his sidekick Peter Brand looked at a range of metrics as they assembled their unlikely cast of characters. But they looked at different metrics than what conventional wisdom dictated. For marketers, this is the same thing as switching from opens, clicks, and likes to more telling metrics like pipeline contribution and ROI. There’s some logic at play here: Revenue impact is a far more telling detail than your number of Twitter followers – and something leadership and your colleagues in sales and finance will better appreciate.

Not all data is created equally. Revenue impact is far more telling than likes and shares, and something that leadership, sales, and finance will better appreciate.

While campaign and customer statistics aren’t as readily available in most organizations as baseball stats, there are most certainly some fundamentals that you can settle on to get you started.

For example, the marketing team at National Instruments lives by a formal campaign framework touted by SiriusDecisions that helps everyone across the organization take advantage of a standard taxonomy and campaign structure. This allows for easy roll-up and comparison of activities and results.

At Pitney Bowes, the goal of finally being able to calculate marketing ROI is close at hand, thanks to a “single system of truth” that captures plans, investments, and results in one place (hint: it’s Allocadia).

What do these companies have in common?

  • – Data-centric approach to marketing planning and execution
  • – Unified view of all marketing activities, no matter where and when they’re happening
  • – Rigorous approach to selecting and evaluating which activities to pursue based on their impact on the business

Marketing, it turns out, is a lot like baseball. Sure, you hit some home runs and win some games that way, but that won’t win you a championship. What wins championships are consistent wins, and you win by scoring more runs than the other team. One run at a time, one series at a time. One campaign at a time. Add them up and you have a winning season. Go for broke on the long shots, and you’re going to miss. And it all starts with the data. Figure out where you win and do more of that. Figure out where you lose and do less.

Winning starts with data. Figure out where you win and do more of that. Figure out where you lose and do less.

For a more detailed look at what these companies are doing with their data to achieve better marketing performance, join IBM and business partner Allocadia for a live discussion on How to Optimize Your Marketing Performance to Drive Better Results. You’ll learn:

  • How to identify where you’re at on the path to better MPM
  • What you’ll achieve by picking up your pace, and how to do it
  • The trials and learnings of marketing organizations that have figured it out

Register for How to Optimize Your Marketing Performance to Drive Better Results.

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