At the risk of alienating most of my subscribers, I’m going to admit that I’m a huge Red Sox and Patriots fan.  Hey, I’m from Massachusetts so you can’t really blame me.  If it helps, my wife is a Yankees and Giants fan. :)

The reason I bring that up is because of the way those two teams are managed – strictly by the numbers.  They aren’t flashy like a lot of other professional teams who pay top dollar to bring on the superstar athletes.  Instead, the Red Sox and Patriots roster is full of names you’ve probably never heard of.  Even Tom Brady was originally a “no name” drafted 199th overall.

If you saw the movie Moneyball, then you’ll remember Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A’s in 2002, was one of the pioneers of this new type of managing style.  Billy didn’t have the cash to buy the superstars, but he did have something that’s arguably more important.  He had an analytical process to evaluate athletes’ performance to find diamonds in the rough.  In a modern day David vs. Goliath, Billy outsmarted his larger competition and the Oakland A’s almost ran the table in 2002.



More Money Is Not the Answer

OK, that’s enough sports history.  Let’s get back to marketing.  I’m sure at some point you’ve thought, “If only I had the money to compete with those big companies in my market…”  Am I right?  I’ve said it myself.  More money seems like the solution to all of our marketing and sales problems.  But it’s really not!

Marketing is not about outspending your competition.  It’s about outsmarting them.

So how do you outsmart your competition?  You do what Billy did, and you use an analytical process to evaluate the performance of every marketing channel.  That means you must have the discipline to track key performance indicators, or KPIs, and trust the numbers rather than your gut. If you’re not a “numbers guy” then KPIs can sound pretty scary.  Trust me, this is not complicated and all you need to know is basic arithmetic.  We’re talking about addition and multiplication, not differential equations. :)

If you actually take the time to look, then your KPIs will tell you where to focus your resources and where to stop throwing money away.


Where Are Your KPIs?

In sports, key performance indicators (KPIs) are tracked and logged meticulously.  If you follow baseball, then you probably know a few of your favorite players’ KPIs.  You might know their batting average, their on-base percentage, number of home runs, number of runs batted in, etc.  Those are all KPIs to evaluate baseball players.  Billy dug deep into the KPIs to see which ones truly led to more wins, and that’s our goal with marketing data: to find and track the KPIs that show us which marketing channels are superstars that generate ROI.

So where are your online marketing KPIs?  Many of them are in Google Analytics.


Which Channels Are Your Superstars?

Sometimes, you’ll be shocked when you see which marketing channels are really driving leads and sales.  For example, for one of our clients, the marketing channel with the highest ROI is a column on a well-known online magazine.  Can you believe that?  This client invests heavily in advertising and SEO, but those two channels don’t come close to the ROI from the articles in the magazine that are consistently referring high-quality leads and sales.

If we trusted our guts, then we would most likely come to the conclusion that a column in an online magazine is not worth the effort.  It’s not the typical superstar online marketing channel.  Luckily we tracked the traffic, leads, and sales directly from those articles and we found a diamond in the rough like Billy had done with his roster.

So which channels are YOUR superstars?  If you’re not sure, go log into Google Analytics and review your website traffic and conversions for each traffic source.  One of the best reports to use is the Acquisition > Channels report.  That report will automatically combine all your marketing channels, and if you have Conversions set up properly, you’ll see which channels are converting into leads and sales.  Use this information, not your gut, to make smarter decisions about where to invest your marketing dollars.