B2B Marketing Blog

Written by The Mezzanine Group
on January 27, 2012

I am one of those consumers Hollywood fears—I don’t go to movies as much as I used. But I saw Moneyball last week and it’s an entertaining film, even if you’ve read the book by Michael Lewis.

For marketers who work in small and mid-sized B2B companies though, there’s an even bigger reason to see Moneyball than its entertainment value. Moneyball offers excellent career guidance.

The challenge that Billy Beane, general manager of baseball's Oakland A’s (Brad Pitt’s character) faced is that he had to win baseball games at a much lower cost than his competitors. Beane had a budget of $41M, his competitors like the NY Yankees had as much as three times more—$125M. Beane had to do things in a completely different way in order to win at the same game as the guys with much deeper pockets.

This is what B2B marketers in small and mid-sized companies have to do too. They have to figure out how to generate qualified leads on very lean budgets. They don’t have the money that their counterparts in business to consumer companies have, but they have to generate the same results; customers who buy.

Billy Beane’s solution was to figure out that getting on base was the key to winning games. Then he worked backwards and figured out that what a player looked like, or how fast he ran, or how strong he was, had nothing to do with his success in getting on base. All those factors—looks, speed, strength—were the conventional wisdom in the industry, and players who had these characteristics were handsomely rewarded. But Beane’s insight allowed him to look for players who were good at getting on base, regardless of looks, speed or strength. And because his competitors didn’t realize these uglier, slower and weaker players were valuable, Beane was able to get them for cheap.

B2B marketing is the same. The objective is revenues and the key to revenues is qualified leads. But what gets qualified leads at a reasonable price isn’t necessarily what the industry thinks. There are some tactics that look great (flashy websites) or run fast (social media). But just like on Billy Beane’s team, sometimes the ungainly players have the best results. I’ve seen many instances where it’s the cheap and unsexy tactics that deliver the strongest results.

B2B marketers have to think like Billy Beane. They have to figure out what ‘on base’ is for their company—what combination of tactics generate the leads that drive revenues. If they can figure out how to market in a way that isn’t conventional wisdom, they can be hugely successful.

Do you have examples of marketing tactics your company has used that aren’t conventional wisdom and ended up delivering phenomenal results?

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