Marketing involves multiple disciplines. There's the practice of analytics, in which we compare data and crunch statistics. Marketers have to strategize, plan, and execute winning campaigns. We produce informative and, hopefully, engaging material that excites the base and brings new people into the fold. As marketers, we also have the responsibility of disseminating all kinds of related content through the most modern methods possible, including multiple social media outlets. All of these tasks are also part of everyday life in baseball.
'The sun will rise, the sun will set, and I will have lunch.' Lou Gorman, former GM of the Boston Red Sox
There was a time when it was all scouting. You drove for days, knocked on doors, shook hands, handed out your card, and hoped for something to come along that you could take back to the office as a genuine prospect. It was a time of cold-calling and lukewarm beers. You know '- old school. Then, along came computers, analytical data, video, and stats. Sabermetrics are unemotional. This is the unassailable truth in Chrome, Mac! Get used to it!
'If you're playing baseball and thinking about managing someday, you're crazy. You'd be better off thinking about being an owner.' Casey Stengel, former player and manager.
Remember when you played a hunch, and followed all the old rules? That's largely in the past. Now, you have to take all that information and build a winner out of all the disparate pieces. You spend where you have to, especially if you want to remain competitive. You provide the tools to your manager that will keep everybody in the game. Occasionally you need to look at the facts and execute a shift, then return to your game plan.
'The pleasure of rooting for Goliath is that you expect to win. The pleasure of rooting for David is that, while you don't know what to expect, you stand at least a chance of being inspired.' Michael Lewis, author of Moneyball.
Your phone is no longer tethered to the wall. You can take it with you wherever you go, as does everybody on your team. Pictures are taken and shared. You follow experts, people with similar interests, and team members. You get the latest news and rumors right away, and look to see how that might affect the game plan.
'Baseball is 90% mental. The other half is physical.' Yogi Berra, wise sage.
Never forget that this requires a long-term commitment. It's a lengthy season, and the real goal is to remain standing months from now, when others are packing it in and going home. There will be missed opportunities and times when you think the day will never end. Patience, good teamwork, and perseverance are the keys to succeeding in this new world.
I hope that I haven't stretched the analogy to the breaking point. As a passionate baseball fan with a fantasy team, an undying love of Fenway Park, and the MLB Network as my television channel of choice, I can't help finding aspects of the game creeping into my professional life. Just as outbound marketing has been supplanted by inbound marketing, the methods of Bill Veeck (look him up, I beg you) have fallen way to Billy Beane and Moneyball. Yes, it was a very different time, and it is fun to look back on the history of both pursuits; but I relish the pace and thrill of today.
As the warmth of spring sunshine finally banishes the dismal grey of winter, the sparkling emeralds of green return.
The grass is lush
The sky is blue
There is no rush
So let's play two!
Photo credit: Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)