Inbound... Marketing’s Moneyballs

By Ian Blake on 12 June 2015 08:51:00 BST


 I’m not obsessive. At least not to the point of delusions of grandeur or restringing orders. 

But when I’m sitting at home and my mind is at rest or drifting, the same themes always seem to materialise. How can we improve our company? How can we be a better supplier to our clients? How can we improve our service offering? I’m sure I’m not the only one. 

It can happen at almost any time, during any activity. I could be cycling to work or just about to fall asleep at night, when I have a eureka moment and punch the air. It’s more embarrassing when it happens inside a packed solemn church, but let’s bring that up again.

I usually gather my thoughts pretty quickly and bow my head away from the glances of outraged observers and make my mental notes. My friends know me by now and let it slide.

I had just such a eureka moment the other night watching the movie ‘Moneyball’.

It struck me how Billy Beane got it right. His strategies were on the money. He knew he couldn’t afford to take on the big boys in the transfer market. He couldn’t afford the Sean O’Brien’s or the Lionel Messi’s or whoever their baseball equivalents were. So he changed tactics. He saw the bigger picture.

He knew he couldn’t afford the home runs, so instead he bought players who would get him to first base. And with each new first base, the previous incumbent moved up. Hit by hit, base by base, slowly but surely the runs went up on the board. It wasn’t flashy, but it was effective.

So while the big hitters from New York might dazzle the crowd, hitting the ball out of the park, his little old Oakland Athletics went on a record 20 game winning streak. The turtle had outrun the hare.

There are a lot of parallels when it comes to the marketing play book.

You can choose expensive, flashy, traditional marketing initiatives, shoot the TV ad, run the through-the-line campaign, direct mail any number of databases and basically shout from the rafters. Before you know it, you’ve run out of budget and you may or may not have hit a home run. 

Or you can ‘Moneyball’ and use proven inbound methodologies and statistical analysis to cover the bases with multiple sources of content, all the time tracking and converting leads while your competition is busy playing to the crowds. You can stack the odds in your favour and close the leads while the big hitters fight over the hot dogs and image rights.

The movie proves something I’ve always known about money and balls. To succeed in business you don’t need much of the former to prove the latter and win the game.