ENTREPRENEUR MARKETING LESSONS FROM MONEYBALL
The central theme of the plot in the Oscar-nominated movie
Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt, depicts Billy Beane, the manager of the underfunded Oakland A’s baseball team, using data analysis to structure a team that outperformed other better-funded teams. By changing the way in which players are selected, he defies the expectations of the baseball community and modifies the way in which the industry selected teams. This f ilm has more to teach than just lessons in baseball; there are lessons to be learnt for business people, specifically those in marketing.
The gripe of many custodians of marketing budgets is that the task that is expected of these teams, with their limited budgets, is very demanding. Levelling out the playing f ield with those who have larger budgets means taking a look at the numbers and knowing where the money is being spent, understanding your objectives and how best to spend the budget that you have been allocated.
By letting go of classically viewed ‘necessities’, entrepreneurs can free up a marketing budget to compete with larger corporations, not necessarily on the same platforms, but by dominating other forms of marketing.
Traditional above-the-line marketing channels include the costly avenues such as billboard advertising as well as print, radio and television, but the reach is difficult to measure. The Internet provides marketers with other advertising tools to add to their toolbox. Focusing on specific numbers can help inform and guide your channels of advertising. By analysing data, such as how many leads are created by your chosen form of advertising and how many of those leads are converted to actual sales, you can pursue effective advertising channels.
Ryan Sauer, owner of Search Online Consulting and lecturer at the AAA School of Advertising and Wits Business School, believes that the f irst step to guiding the right kind of traffic to your website, and generating leads from that traffic, is to build it so that it will create enough interest to generate a lead and increase the conversion rate. He notes that “leads are not just interest generated automatically leading to immediate sales, it’s about creating interest that result in a sales-related action, for example, a call from someone who found the number off the website, a request for a brochure or a quote, or even a referral to a second party”.
The next point that Sauer highlights is the use of metrics.
Beane used the unpopular metric of “on-base” percentage and chose to ignore the popular metrics of pitching and batting averages to select his team. Sauer explains that there are three metrics that should be considered. “A marketer should be able to analyse how much time a visitor spent on their website. This will then provide them with data on the kind of content currently on their website, and whether it holds the reader’s attention or not. The bounce rate or the amount of visitors who never click further than the f irst page, along with the amount of new versus returning visitors, needs to be taken into consideration.”
This data is available for free if you install Google Analytics to the backend of your website. This download gives the necessary metrics to accurately measure who is seeing your website and whether these hits are being converted into leads and eventually sales.
Social media platforms are being underutilised for targeted marketing and low-cost advertising, says Fernbrook Consulting owner and marketing specialist Lisa Bayne Walker. She points out that these sites also offer free analytics if you use their ‘pay-per-click’ advertising channels. Such channels allow for advertisers to only pay once someone has clicked the teaser on the platform and is then taken to the business’s website. Clicks can range from R3-R100 per click depending on the demand.
Says Sauer: “Insurance companies will pay far more because their keywords are used far more frequently and there is more demand, whereas a printing company will not be charged a large premium because there is less demand.” Sauer and Walker both agree that social media provide a range of low-cost, traffic-targeting con-