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Money Ball for Business


moneyballposterThe 2016 Seattle Mariners are doing the unthinkable. They are winning. How? With power-house players like Seth Smith, Ketel Marte, Steve Cishek, and Chris Iannetta. Oh, and don’t even get me started about Dae-Ho Lee! Who? Exactly.

The Mariners have begun relying on sabermetrics, first used in Major League Baseball by Billy Beane, the General Manager of the Oakland A’s. The story of implementing this new philosophy was well chronicled in the book, ‘Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game,’ by Michael Lewis.

The premise of the Moneyball centers around the real issue facing the Oakland A’s franchise. How could they possibly compete with the budgets of major market teams who spend literally three times as much as Oakland? The prevailing strategy for all the other major league baseball clubs was, and is, simple – spend more, win more.

The challenge for Billy Beane, and for many small business owners was daunting. How do you compete when you have less money than your major competition? In the movie version of ‘Moneyball’, Jonah Hill plays Peter Brand (aka Paul DePodesta). He is the analyst who would provide Billy Beane with the key to unlock the secret for their success: Find value that no one else can see.

This meant going against traditional wisdom. Buying in to such a philosophy invites criticism and ridicule by the establishment ethos, making it even more difficult to succeed. But succeed is exactly what they did. In 2002, the season chronicled in the book, the A’s won 103 games – exactly as many games as the Yankees. However, the A’s did it for 1/3 the cost; with players many had never heard of before.

In your business, you have marketing reps constantly pushing you with the same philosophy as Major League Baseball. Traditional wisdom says you must spend more to succeed – more TV, more radio, more billboards, you name it. Then, you look at your budget and the harsh reality is the same for you as it was for Billy Beane. You simply cannot compete with the ‘spend more’ mentality of your competition. For your business to compete and succeed, you need to find marketing value that no one else can see.

You can have direct marketing impact with your customers through on-hold advertising.

This intimate, value-rich marketing tool achieves what mass media cannot: it connects you directly with your customers, one at a time. Plus, it is available to you at a fraction of the cost of other media. How does it compare? You can purchase an entire year of on-hold advertising for the cost of one week of ads on the radio or one television commercial. On-hold advertising is a value that is often overlooked because it goes against traditional marketing wisdom. Spend less for greater impact? Unthinkable! Well, maybe for your major market competitor. For you, the value of on-hold advertising has the potential to level the playing field at a fraction of the cost.

This philosophy worked with the 2002 Oakland A’s, the 2004, 2007, and 2013 Boston Red Sox, and is currently working for the 2016 Seattle Mariners. It can work for you, too. And, by the way, Spend more does not equate to win more. See the 2008 Seattle Mariners, the first team in major league baseball history to spend over $100 million dollars and lose 100 games in a single season.

Tom McTee, Super-Genius
Woodstock Media Group
On-Hold Concepts, Inc.

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Direct Impact


burger friesLet’s see, ummm…I’d like a triple-decker bacon burger with jalapeno cheese sauce, large garlic fries, a double stuffed brownie deluxe, and a small diet coke. Oh, and I’d like to start off with the mozzarella sticks. What is wrong with this picture? No, not the bacon – bacon is perfect … it’s the diet cola. When asked about his New Year’s resolution to lose weight, his response is,
‘Hey, I cut back where I can.’

As budget committees convene to determine where to trim, many organizations fall into the diet cola mentality and cutback their marketing dollars in the wrong place. Rather than target their mass media marketing campaigns, they cut back their on-hold advertising. That never made sense to me. Money invested in on-hold advertising is exactly what you want – direct access and impact with your client.

Mass Media campaigns like TV, radio, and print have a potential to reach a very large audience. But only a fraction of that audience fits your overall demographic (Women, 35-44). The potential audience decreases when you factor in your target demographic (38 year old female, business executive, married with two children) and shrinks even smaller once you factor in a qualified lead that is in the market for your product or service. You are investing all of your marketing dollars hoping to reach a fraction of their audience. I understand it’s hard to make cuts in this area of the budget because these audio and visual mediums are tasty. They offer a lot of flavor and, unfortunately, a lot of fat. Just like the fast food menu, mass media does not yield a very healthy return.

Marketing through on-hold advertising is effective because these are direct impact dollars. All the money you invest in this medium connects directly with a client or potential client. These are not only qualified leads, they are exactly who you were hoping to reach by investing so heavily in mass media. The difference (and the benefit) is you are speaking directly to your customer at a fraction of the cost per contact. AND they contacted YOU. They are ready to do business with you and want to know more. Talk about direct impact. Every dollar you spend for on-hold advertising reflects directly on your customer’s experience – positive or negative. Is this really the place to try to save a buck?

As your team discusses budget, do the research necessary to make effective cuts. Think about it. If you reduce your mass media budget by one TV commercial, or three radio commercials, or your national print ad by a column inch or so; you can pay for an entire year of direct impact, on-hold advertising. That’s what I call cutting out the fat and going lean this fiscal year.

But, if you really want to cut back – next time, try the salad instead.

Tom McTee, Super-Genius
Woodstock Media Group
On-Hold Concepts, Inc.

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