Moneyball Meets Marketing: How the best-in-class actually use big data to increase digital marketing results


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The movie Moneyball isn’t really about baseball. It’s not even about statistics. It’s about the way data can be used to challenge conventional wisdom, and its something those of us in the field of marketing metrics have known for a long time. And yet, too many businesses are missing out—for example they know that there’s a lot of buzz around big data, but instead of seizing the opportunity they ignore it.

That is to say almost all use data for creating nice dashboards by now, i.e. small data.

But many aren’t yet using the underlying big data and analytics to make the transition from one-size-fits-all marketing to behavior-based, personalized marketing programs. That is despite the fact that both marketers and customers stand to gain when interactions are more relevant, helpful, and real-time.

Why is it that many marketers aren’t yet taking advantage of big data analytics, especially in digital channels that are a natural fit, such as the web, mobile and social media? An answer to this question (and many more) is to be found in the results of the 2013 Big Data for Marketing survey from Trip Kucera, at the Aberdeen Group. Here’s what they found:

  1. There’s too much information in too many places: 35% of organizations say that integrating multiple data sources is a challenge.
  2. They don’t understand the benefits: 30% are having a hard time understanding how marketing analytics could be used in their companies.
  3. They lack the talent: 30% are having problems finding the right people with the right kind of knowledge of marketing analytics.

So what’s keeping your organization from leveraging big data in your marketing? I’ll be taking part in a webcast featuring more results from the survey, along with Trip Kucera and Graeme Noseworthy, Big Data for Marketing, Media & Entertainment. Register for the webcast to join us and find out how the best in class in the survey incorporate data analytics into marketing programs—and how you can, too.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


  1. What made Moneyball a story at all was the constraint placed around the problem. It wasn’t just how to find the best talent, it was how to find the best talent within an onerous budget limit. That produced not only a creative idea for solving the problem, but forced people to formulate the right questions in the first place.

    What keeps organizations from leveraging big data in marketing? It’s the absence of constraints, and the inability to define problems to solve. Instead, it’s “wow! We have gobs of really cool data! Let’s figure out what we can do with it!” That mentality never would have yielded the story of Moneyball, and it sure doesn’t produce anything remarkable in business today.

  2. Hi Andrew, in contrast to the sterotype of Big Data which I think you are attacking rightfully, I spend my career in a very concrete application of big data. Namely, digital analytics data that is used not just for creating dashboards but to automate better targeted marketing messages that should be more relevant and timely based on an individual’s interactions with a particular company’s digital properties.

    In this case companies face constraints just like Billy Beane, namely:

    1.) limited marketing budget
    2.) limited size of prospect audience
    3.) limited attention span / permission to market

    And to get the biggest win under these constraints, the tried and true database marketing strategy is to aim for more relevant, timely marketing. The 21st century big data tactic added to that strategy however is to include digital data as part of the customer analysis.

    And that really is big data. For example a large department store could have many billion digital interaction records per month to deal with.

    Good data to have though! 😎


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