Double plays and Ks

Posted on April 11th, 2014

This is the fourth in our 11-post series: “Lean Communications: 11 Ways to Save Money and Still Get Results.”

#4 – Keeping track and measuring wins


To most of us, the numbers above seem random. But die-hard baseball fans immediately will recognize that these numbers represent landmark feats in the national pastime, as Pulitzer Prize-winning commentator and longtime baseball fanatic George F. Will points out in his book, “Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball.”

With the baseball season back in full swing, we’re thinking about how marketing should be a little more like baseball. (Or maybe we just want an excuse to play hooky one afternoon at the ballpark.) Baseball fans are invested in their favorite team and love keeping score. We can’t think of another American sport where a sizable number of fans precisely track every moment of play in their own shorthand of backwards Ks, slashes and diamonds on individual scorecards. For these fans, scorekeeping isn’t just about keeping score. It’s about unveiling strategy, considering possible outcomes and imagining possibilities.

The same goes with your communication efforts. When launching a new campaign, literature piece, website, social media presence, etc., tracking results and collecting any and all feedback will help you prepare for your next time at bat in the marketplace.

Start by understanding your goal. Is measuring awareness about a new program or project your goal? Then tracking views, such as the number of views that a video about the product or issue received on your website, might be appropriate. If increasing conversions is your goal, you may want to track purchases, downloads, subscriptions, donations or signups.

Choose strategies that seem to have produced results in the past, then see if you can apply metrics to them. Quantitative measures (like increases in sales numbers) are always great, and more convincing for the analytical crowd, but even qualitative measures (like customer comments) can demonstrate a positive impact.

Track and correct as you go. A benefit of measuring your efforts is that you can make changes as you go. Response rate low on a survey? See it as an opportunity to check what may have gone wrong. Try shortening your survey, changing your subject line or adding an incentive, such as a coupon or discount.

Will measuring results save you money? Maybe not on this project. But it can help you continue to improve your messages and methods on the next one. And if the results are good, they can help you secure the budget you need to hit it out of the ballpark the next time.

By the way, for the curious and baseball aficionados, those statistics at the top represent, respectively:

  • The number of games Cy Young won
  • Ted Williams batting average in 1941, when he became the last .400 hitter
  • The number of consecutive games in which Joe DiMaggio got hits in 1941
  • The number of home runs Babe Ruth hit in 1927
  • The number of home runs Roger Maris hit in 1961