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Marketing Lessons From Moneyball (and Ping Jen)

Published: October 2, 2013

Author: Ping Jen

My first post with 3Q Digital took me a couple of weeks to complete because those interview questions really got me thinking. I would like to share additional thoughts with you on this question:
Marketing and StrategyQ. What’s the one marketing lesson you wish you had learned earlier?
Customers cheer for what they know, but don’t necessarily know what they need to win. If a company develops its business and marketing plan based on popularity, it will play into the most popular company’s hand, reinforce “what customers only know,” and never have a chance to help them win – and win them over. I learned this lesson from watching the movie “Moneyball”. I watched it three times on a flight to Taiwan and have its DVD and book at home to remind myself of this lesson from time to time.
Additional Thought:
Many advertisers show prices in ad copies and use cost as the selling point for your products or services. It’s a common practice within the PPC community, but it could make your campaigns less competitive because other vendors could have a significant edge in pricing, such as pet medicine vendors from Canada, and show a lower price on their ads for the same products or services now or down the road. So, unless you are the one can afford the lowest price permanently, showing price on ads make you stand to lose.
MoneyballTo win the competition, be the one understand your customers the most and reflect customers’ needs on your ad copy. I witnessed a pet medicine advertiser help customers verify the symptoms before selling the medicine to them. The CTR from this campaign is 4X higher than average targeting for the same traffic, and most of the ads from this winning campaign are not even shown on the top of the page.
Moneyball lesson: in baseball the goal shouldn’t to buy plays, but buy runs; in advertising, the goal shouldn’t show your products, but show you know customers.


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