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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-

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