Moneyball Marketing--Where to Invest
Updated: Jul 9, 2019
Dealing with scarcity is a fact of being a marketer. No many how many zeroes your marketing budget has behind it, there’s never enough money. I’ve gone to my boss with a request to spend another million dollars and another $10k and it’s always the same challenge--making the most with what you’ve got because you could always use more.
I see this issue come up most frequently around talent and building a team. With multiple offers, huge behemoths like Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple all paying incredible salary premiums, and job hopping become the norm, there’s always going to be an issue on finding the money for everyone to make your tenure a success. So don’t try to do it.
Instead, take a more focused strategy--spend more for the talent that will help give you the best chance to succeed, and then fill-in the team with other team members who will help support your mission. If you’re at all familiar with the book Moneyball by Michael Lewis (or perhaps the movie with Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill), you’ll know what I’m getting at. Billy Beane didn’t have the budget of the Yankees, the facilities or history of the Cubs or Red Sox, or the large market like the Dodgers. He had a run-down stadium in Oakland with a team on a small budget. So he invested in finding the key talent that would help his team win, and then understood that he would fill-in the rest of the roster with athletes that may only be there for a short time until they got a better contract from another team.
That’s the formula for an agile marketer today. The average tenure of your employees continues to shrink--especially for those earlier in their career. They’re going to be with you for what, a year? 2 years? So don’t focus on keeping them and investing in them forever--give them the tools to be super productive and contribute something meaningful during their time with you, but know they’re using this job as a stepping stone to something bigger or better. Instead, focus on the next few levels up--the game changers--the people who will “get in the boat” with you and ride out the storms ahead--they’re the people that will give you the best chance to win and are worth every penny you can find to spend on them.
Make these hires, have them find 1-2 rising stars who’s time and talents you can rent for a few years, and you’ll start to see dramatic results in the throughput and quality of your marketing.
There’s never enough money--the best marketers are those that know not only how to squeeze every penny out of the budget, but to spend it to maximum effect.