Moneyball And Inbound Marketing on Major League Baseball's Opening Day

Brad Pitt Moneyball Movie with Stats Matter

The book Moneyball by Michael Lewis and the subsequent movie starring Brad Pitt were about basing business decisions on the numbers. Under the Moneyball philosophy, building a winning baseball team was about statistics, getting on base and scoring runs. The previous theories about landing players with hustle and heart mattered less than the cold hard numbers.

Marketing, much like baseball, has traditionally been a subjective profession. Strategies for success are based on anecdote and touchy-feely theories about why people are attracted to the products they buy. In traditional marketing, few firms can tell you in hard number if a campaign is directly generating quality leads or improving your sales.

Inbound marketing takes a Moneyball-style approach to marketing and focusing on the numbers. How many people are visiting your website? How many leads originate from your blog? How many people are filling out the form for more information on your landing page? The ability to crunch the numbers and see what campaigns and messages are converting casual visitors into leads is why more and more companies are adopting inbound marketing strategies.

The term 管理野球 (Kanri Yakyuu) in Japanese means, in literal translation, "control baseball." Swings of the bat, bunts, strikes, balls, every possible controllable factor of the game is planned out. If a manager tells his pitcher to throw two balls and a strike, that's what he does. It is a system without surprise, based on nothing but results - and it's exactly what Billy Beane and inbound marketing have in common.

In Moneyball, the goal was to boost the team’s on-base percentage. The more people on base, the better the chances the team will score runs. In marketing, using keywords is a great way to improve on-base percentage.

Think of keywords like swings. Developing a well-targeted list of keywords is going to be more effective than using every word in the book. That’s just swinging wildly. By using marketing software like Hubspot, you can find what keywords are most effective on your website and blog. Over time, you’ll find which of these keywords are driving customers to your site. Some will be strikes, and you can get rid of those keywords. Others are foul balls and need some work to better target your audience. Others swings will be hits – like converting visitors into leads – and will soon get you scoring with new customers.

Take Means-of-Production client Skillings & Sons as an example. During a one-month period, there were 510 views of landing pages on the company website. Most of those were on the company’s blog, which focuses on common water system problems a typical homeowner might encounter, and more importantly, search for online in hopes of finding someone to hire to fix it. Of those who viewed the Skillings & Sons website, 21 people submitted an online form, a conversion rate of 4 percent.

If you dig deeper into the numbers, provided by Hubspot analytics, we found which blog posts were driving the most conversions. “Answers to your well water and geothermal questions” got 84 views and 14 submissions, a conversion rate of 16 percent. The post, “Well water testing ensures your family’s safety” got 20 views and 5 submissions, a conversion rate of 25 percent!

Successful inbound marketing happens in a four steps:

  • Bring people online to your website, blog, or social media account pages by using high-quality keywords.

  • Once there, offer people great content and plenty of opportunity for communication, such as landing pages, exclusive content, or an offer for a free consultation.

  • Those who respond and fill out online forms are your leads. Cultivate those leads through emails and ongoing communications to convert into customers.

  • Once you’ve earned a new customer, the work continues through social media, email and other channels to grow a positive relationship with your brand.

The Moneyball style of baseball wasn’t just a prep for opening day. It required continually assessing players’ performance and statistics. Same goes for inbound marketing. Finding great keywords and putting up a few optimized blog posts isn’t a long-term strategy. To keep those runs coming in, you need to keep swinging and getting hits. This is done by continually reviewing website and social media analytics, seeing which keywords work, what type of content attracts visitors, and which blog posts are getting people interested enough in your product to submit their contact information on a landing page.