"Moneyball Marketing" Explained

Last Updated Nov 14, 2007 12:47 PM EST

Michael Lewis challenged baseball's conventional wisdom with his 2003 bestseller, "Moneyball." If you're not familiar with the book, it follows the Oakland A's general manager, Billy Beane, as he builds a winning team with a substantially lower budget than his competitors by casting aside traditional stats like RBI and batting average in favor of little used stats like slugging percentage.

Today, Steve Rubel, a senior vice president at massive PR firm Edelman, notes on his blog Micro Persuasion that marketers are taking some of the ideas in Moneyball and applying them creatively in the realm of advertising. After all, business people, like baseball managers, want to get more bang for their buck. Plus, just as the game of baseball changed since RBIs became the stat of choice, the marketing world is quickly moving away from traditional models. Rubel explains:
The conventional wisdom on Madison Avenue is that reach rules. In other words, in the digital realm you can't go wrong making a buy or launching a campaign on a site or social network that has scale. However, that's all going to change as money flows online, competition rises and marketers find they need to pay more to drive sales.
To cope, advertisers should adopt new digital media planning model. This one ignores common metrics like unique visitors, pageviews or even time spent in favor of more esoteric statistics like cost per action. We're entering the Moneyball Marketing Era - an age where some big online properties will suffer a slow death by a thousand cuts from tiny niche sites that deliver greater ROI.
So you find "Moneyball Marketing" intriguing? What are some principles you can apply today to bring these ideas into your organization?
  1. Become a Super Cruncher - Look beyond the common methods for evaluating media and identify more meaningful, perhaps esoteric statistics.
  2. Skip Reach, Go Niche - As hard as it is, try forgoing some of the larger sites in favor of emerging niche ones that deliver a higher percentage of your target. Work with them to create measurable, outside-the-box programs.
  3. Think Relationships, Not Impressions - The most successful companies in business today recognize that relationships rule. Consider launching programs that allow you to hone your relationships with narrow segments of your audience.
(Image of "Moneyball" by marklarson, CC 2.0)
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    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.