Moneyball for Ecommerce Marketing
Moneyball for Ecommerce Marketing
By analyzing workflows and developing strategies to improve them, marketing can showcase its quantitative impact to the C-suite. It's not going to be easy, but we're at a moneyball moment for marketing right now. The question is, who’s going to do it first?

By Georgios Grigoriadis

Why do CMOs often have the shortest tenure in the C-suite? It’s simple.

Because marketing has traditionally been a game of creatives, a game of hearts and minds. We still consider marketing leadership as a place for artistic mastery. It makes sense on an emotional level. When a go-to-market strategy flops, we usually blame doing the wrong things, rather than doing the right things poorly. “Just change the CMO and bring in the next; maybe their magic wand is what we were missing.” 

But that’s changing, particularly for online retail and ecommerce. Budgets are tighter and every marketing dollar – whether on ads, content or investment in the team – is a dollar not spent elsewhere in the organization. On top of this, the transition from physical to digital retailing has created a fragmented landscape, necessitating adaptive strategies. Now, we’re striving for that sweet spot between driving demand and product margins. In ecommerce, the Amazon effect has shown us that mastery in operations and data-driven execution can outperform the best creative or strategy. 

Many ecommerce companies are staring down an “innovate or die” reality, especially with the influx of competition in the space, coupled with a shortage of knowledge in best practices and industry-standard benchmarks. Strangely enough, this might be exactly what we needed to evolve the role of marketing within the modern ecommerce organization. 

Remember the Oakland A’s in the 1990s? They had a tiny budget compared to other major league baseball franchises. To win, they needed to stretch every dollar way further than everyone else.

So they broke the mold – they measured everything. They quantified micro behaviors of players that had never been analyzed before. Baseball scouting, like marketing, had always been more art than science. Scouts would go out there and see that someone spit in a certain direction, and say “I like that guy.” The A’s made a science out of it, correlating every action and outcome in statistical models. With a fraction of the budget of larger franchises, the A’s delivered outsized performance, all thanks to a maniacal focus on measurement and efficiency.

So where’s the moneyball for ecommerce marketers? With pressure on budgets, the timing couldn’t be better. Marketers need that same focus on playbooks and benchmarks to drive team velocity. 

By analyzing workflows and developing strategies to improve them, marketing can showcase its quantitative impact to the C-suite. It’s not going to be easy, but we’re at a moneyball moment for marketing right now. The question is, who’s going to do it first? Who will put together the best team and make their budget work harder than anyone else’s? 

It all starts with having an analytics-backed playbook. Not just any generic advice, but a specific workflow to drive marketing efficiency and effectiveness. This initially requires an internal check on how measurement is prioritized throughout the company. Is it manually checked or is there a tool that can expedite this? How often will the team review the playbook? What is most pertinent to draw awareness for employees?

Next up are workflow benchmarks. How fast are you compared to the competition? The industry standard? Do you know what is the baseline of your own past performance year-over-year? Or against set targets? You need to identify the right metrics, forecast and track them religiously. That’s how you find the micro behaviors and anomalies that impact overall outcomes. Without workflow benchmarks, many organizations miss opportunities to lean into customer loyalty and understand purchase decisions. The cross-functional teams simply can’t complete the needed work in time. 

At the end, it’s about team velocity – how fast can you execute that playbook? Can you do it in a day or a week? Five times per day? The playbook sets the course, and the speed to execute the optimization tasks measures the magnitude of the impact of the team.  

With increased team velocity (direction and speed), and continuous iterations, small gains can compound over time into huge advantages. These advantages can manifest as significant revenue gains, a refined, top-selling inventory, and increased customer loyalty.

When you read Moneyball, you can’t help but think “it’s so obvious, why has no one thought of that before?!” A data scientist might wish they had those skills back in the ’90s to apply to other sports. But with so many data-driven professionals already skilled in marketing, why not do it there? The payoff is worth it. According to a McKinsey study, data-driven marketing organizations are 23 times more likely to outperform their peers in customer acquisition. They’re nine times more likely to surpass them in customer loyalty. The numbers speak for themselves.

Moneyball was a revolution in baseball. It made the game smarter, faster, and more efficient. Ecommerce marketing needs its own moneyball moment. By applying data, measurement, and optimization, ecommerce marketing can achieve outsized returns just like the Oakland A’s. All it takes is the courage to challenge conventional practices. Who’s ready to step up to the plate?

About the author 

Georgios Grigoriadis Baresquare CEO HI RESGeorgios Grigoriadis is a data advocate and the founder and CEO of Baresquare, an enterprise software startup redefining data analytics for eCommerce brands with its AI-powered platform. Fueled by the belief that data should empower, not overwhelm, Georgios built Baresquare to transform complex analytics into clear, useful answers for anyone to understand.

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