As the “Boys of Summer” play on into fall, lets examine what baseball’s basic skills can teach us about Internet marketing.
To be most effective, a professional baseball pitcher won’t pitch the same way to every batter. Prior to a game a pitcher and his catcher study the strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies of the opposing players. They develop a customized approach for each batter designed to increase the likelihood of getting him out
How they actually pitch to a batter will also depend what’s going on in the game at the time – whether there are base runners, how many outs there are, and so on. In other words, they combine statistical knowledge with situational awareness to maximize each interaction with the batter.
You should do the same when you make a pitch to your online customers. Combine the knowledge you’ve accumulated about a customer along with your tracking of their online interactions to customize offers and maximize each experience with you whether on your website, through a marketing email, or in the call center.
A ballplayer needs quickness, agility, and a good glove hand to reach a hit ball and field it cleanly. He then has to decide what to with the ball and do it with speed and accuracy. At times, what to do is obvious – catching a pop fly when there are two outs. At other times it’s more complicated – after a diving stop of a one-out grounder with runners on first and third.
Additionally, his teammates must read and react to the situation the same way – the pitcher immediately runs to cover first base when a grounder up the line pulls the first baseman away from the bag. Much of a team’s fielding practice consists of running through various situations so that coordinated responses become routine.
Likewise, when your company fields leads through its online channel it should respond to them quickly having already developed the required process. As with a hit ball, the response is likely a coordinated effort involving multiple players from different disciplines – the online marketer hands the leads off to the outbound sales desk which documents the results for the analytics team.
Imagine standing in the batter’s box while a pitch coming straight for your head at 95 mph curves over the plate for a strike. It not only takes vision, timing and strength to hit in the big leagues, it takes nerve. None of that comes to much, though if your hit is caught. In the words of Willie Keeler, a lifetime .345 hitter, “Keep your eye clear, and hit ’em where they ain’t”.
Hitters have to counter the natural tendency to look at the fielders and hit where they look. Instead they have to focus on the opportunities; target and hit to open space – which is sometimes on the other side of the outfield wall.
Similarly, you need to focus your Internet marketing on your target prospects. Then swing for the fences by avoiding the commonplace. Aim to delight your target audience with Websites interfaces that surprise even as they inform. Engage your Facebook followers with postings and contests that encourage participation. Carefully segment your email subscribers and hit them with imaginative messages and offers that they welcome.
Does your company’s Internet marketing round the bases? Do you bring other skills from the national pastime to your efforts? Let me know by commenting below.