Money Ball for Business


The 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 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

Tom McTee