23 Apr 2015

Segmenting the Market – What’s your MoneyBall?

While this experience was marketing specific, how might we all look beyond the obvious answers in all that we do in pursuit of business performance? What are the overlooked factors you can search for to make more informed decisions?


Bear with me.

We recently spent the better part of a week with one of our favorite clients, helping to prepare for a go-to-market effort for one of their offerings. We ended up performing a process that is by no means new or breakthrough, but very surprising and effective – and one that we may not always take the time to try because you know… we already know the answers to everything.

We had narrowed our potential audiences for a digital ad buy down to a number of different roles in a given industry. Rather than just pick the ones we thought would be best, we slowed down a bit and did some simple research. Luckily, we were dealing with roles that are well documented in the Bureau of Labor statistics – a free online resource found here. So, we had access to, and gathered, a number of different data points like education, growth projections, existing numbers in the workforce, etc. We also had some Subject Matter Experts on-staff that could give some qualitative positions.

Now, if we looked at any one of these data points, we could have chosen one audience as having a higher propensity to buy than another, and invested our marketing dollars accordingly.

However, given we had different perspectives in the room; Executives, marketers, SME’s and sales, we tended to chose different data point from which to make our targeting decision. We were choosing different targets. So again, we took a few minutes and rather that leave it to who was best at selling their position, we’d decided to let data inform our decision.

We build a weighted scale for all the factors we had, qualitative and quantitative. Then, across the factors, we calculated a “Propensity to Buy” rating based on the combined factors. The results actually surprised us all in that our initial choices, based on a single point of data or gut feel ended up testing lower in our scale. Now, the data on the ad buy is not back yet, but we are using a test channel to measure our new confidence that the targets with a larger aggregate score should respond better. After all, its data!

Whether your talking about target audiences, or target opportunities internally for improvement, the net-net of our experience, and something for you to consider going forward is, what are the different factors that define your target even after you think you may know which one to choose? Location, education, politics, etc.? And, if you don’t have multiple data points on a target, where can you get them? The insights generated by answering these questions may give you strong insight into what’s truly at play and how best to execute your efforts.

We started calling this “Moneyball” marketing, after the movie “Moneyball.” (If you haven’t seen it, its totally worth it.) In the movie, a statistician figures out that the key factor for winning over time is “On-base-average” rather than hitting, steals, or how many all-star players are on the field. While the differentiator in the movie is a single factor, and we used multiple factors, the point is to look beyond what seems like the obvious, and use data when you can – as it is more reliable.

So as you target you next marketing campaign, or even as you look for your next opportunity for performance improvement, or as you look to define your own differentiator, how do you go beyond the obvious? What’s your “Moneyball?”

Reply  and let us know what surprising “Moneyball” you found in your efforts!

Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith

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