Crossing the Marketing Mendoza Line is a fun analogy blog between marketing a business and the game of baseball. If you are unsure of what this means read on.
What’s the Mendoza Line?
Hi all, Bobby here. If anyone knows me reading this then you surely know my love for baseball. So, what is this Mendoza Line thing? Well, years ago there was a Major League Baseball player, Mario Mendoza. His batting average is considered the absolute minimum for what you should be able to hit in the majors. The Mendoza Line is a measly .200 batting average. How is this applicable to marketing? It can be equal to what you get out of your marketing. Are you getting the most out of it? Or just the minimum? Statistics are also very important to both. Crossing the Marketing Mendoza Line will discuss how to improve that average!
Love the game!
Baseball is equivalent to a chess match. It’s a thinking mans game. Who do you pinch run in a situation? Which pitcher in the bullpen fairs well against a lefty? What pitch selections work best against a certain power hitter? Slider? Curve? 4-seam fastball, up? The variables in the game are almost limitless. Variables in marketing are also almost limitless. In any case, this is what makes both so interesting. The game of baseball is one of the few things that I’m pretty wise about. I hope that doesn’t sound pretentious. Maybe it does. However, I’ll back it up.
First off, I played baseball for about 12 years. Made the All-Stars and travel teams almost every year. Read countless books on the game. Watched countless baseball movies. Poured over statistics and records. My son and I talk baseball almost non stop. We eat while watching baseball. We practice catching or hitting baseball just about daily. And we usually sleep wearing some sort of baseball attire.
I’m also a die hard Boston Red Sox fan and watch about 150+ games a year. You learn a LOT everyday watching their NESN broadcast. As a result, I’ll learn some new intricate detail about the sport every single day. How many people do you know that watch that many games? My guess is not many. Honestly, I’m trying to not sound like a jerk here…but I know the game of baseball inside and out! Additionally, (if it wasn’t already obvious) baseball is one of my greatest passions. I’m admittedly obsessed with it.
Why write this?
While watching and helping coach my sons baseball games/tournaments over the spring and summer, a few things became clearly evident. There are SO MANY similarities between both! I’ve been thinking of this blog for a while now. So, I’ve decided to write a fun article about marketing and baseball. Mulling this over last weekend I outlined how to make this a great blog.
The MLB season is almost at the halfway point. A perfect time to write this. At this point, even if you aren’t a baseball fan, you will still find this article entertaining and enlightening. I’ll leave you a reference of baseball terminology to refer back to here. So, let’s “choke up,” hit a “bomb,” and “touch em all.”
Defense. Analogous to baseball, your business marketing needs a good defense. This isn’t to say you need to defend what you do, prices, or how you operate the business. No. But, this simply means your marketing messages need to defend their claims. Everything must also be positioned correctly. Spend your marketing budget on the right things in the right places.
Don’t post things you can’t back up. If your offer is Free Estimates, make sure you get that estimate back quickly. Ensure your team shows up on time and you timely return the estimate. This is a common problem for some contractors, trades, and other home repair businesses. Yes, there are labor shortages. However, this has been a common complaint for a while now. Certainly, I don’t mean to single those industries out. But, again, it’s not uncommon for us to hear this.
Likewise, don’t run digital ads or other campaigns without knowing EXACTLY who your customer is first. It will be a waste of money. By all means, take time with your marketing team or agency to track who your number one customer is. Age, sex, location, hobbies, and purchasing habits are all important to know first.
For example, this would be like moving your infield into a shift to the opposite side of a known pull hitter. The numbers will show that a pull hitter hits one way more often. But, your defense was improperly shifted the other way. Guess what? That hitter will likely smack a “bleeder” that would otherwise have been an easy out. Instead, because of improper alignment, this goes for a hit against you. This could cost you a run. That is, in terms of business, you could miss a customer(s).
Additionally, you’ll want sure-handed fielders on your team. Those that make very few errors. Errors do happen. It’s part of life. We are all human. Heck, there may be an error or two in this writing. I hope not though!
However, consistency is a word we use very often. Baseball is similar. Your business marketing needs people capable of handling routine pop ups, grounders, and line drives consistently. Keeping errors at a minimum is critical. It saves your team runs. It saves your business embarrassing gaffes. Even potential customers. Nothing says unprofessional like misspelled words, improper terminology, grammatical errors, or poor photographs.
Offense. It’s important to realize, (off the bat 😉 that not all marketing needs to be a “jack.” This is something that’s quite important actually. Every ad, sale, offer, or promotion shouldn’t and can’t be a home run. Many a business owner feel that any marketing they pay for has to immediately culminate in new business. This is not true. Sometimes it takes practice in the batting cages. Building a brand and dependable message about your company also takes practice and patience.
Any good marketer will be honest with their client and not promise a “moonshot” all the time. The greatest hitters in history fail in seven out of every ten at bats. Read that again. Seven out of ten times! That’s actually a .300 batting average which is phenomenal! A .300 career average, can get a major leaguer into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.
Here it comes…consistency! In my opinion, a higher batting average is worth way more than a home run every now and again and a low average. Don’t get me wrong, a homer is always good, if it’s for your team! However, a consistent high average, I believe, is more important. Some baseball nuts like me can debate and argue this. But, I’m writing this they aren’t. 🙂
How to apply hitting strategies to marketing.
Strategizing your marketing plan around a consistent effective message will yield higher returns in the long run. A higher batting average so to speak. Social media posts should be consistent. Set up a schedule to ensure this happens. Because, if you don’t have a calendar to follow regularly you are just swinging for the fences. How many company’s do you see post something…then disappear? We see it all the time. It’s evident they are trying to “go yard” with just one post or a short series of posts. When it doesn’t happen they go back and sit on the bench.
Also, along with a schedule, you can include content topics for posting. Following these builds credibility and increases your average of connecting. Your business becomes recognizable.
The content marketing message should encourage customers to get involved. Additionally, it should pass along helpful information and be valuable not just to potential customers, but just about anyone. Comparatively, like spraying hits around the field. Or, “raking.”
Remember, you don’t have to hit a “Yak” for your business all the time. Slapping around single, double, and triple base hits are just as valuable in the long run.
Interesting side note. Did you know that the hardest thing to do in ALL of sports is to hit a major league fastball? Harder than a hole in one in golf. Harder than a mid court shot in basketball. More difficult than a 100 yard touchdown run in football. Crazy, but true! Look it up. The incredible amount of hand-eye coordination and focus needed makes it nearly impossible for most people.
We’ll get back to it. Finally, pitching. Pitch selection to be specific. Here are just a few types of pitches. Cutter. Slider. Four-seam fastball. Two-seam fastball. Changeup. Curveball. Sinker. Knuckleball. Splitter. Circle changeup. That’s just a few. What does this have to do with marketing? Everything!
What kind of pitch is your business throwing to its customers? Obviously you don’t want to strike them out. That’s a given. As a matter of fact, for the purpose of this section you want to do the opposite. So, think of your customers as hitters and throw them the pitch they want. Great hitters will be patient and wait for a pitch they like. Look at your customers the same way. All of your offers, posts, materials, direct mail pieces, and business pitches need to be what your customers want. Throw that pitch right in their “wheelhouse.”
Pitching is all about location. Coincidentally, location is one of the things mentioned above in the fielding section. A pitcher absolutely has to know what pitch to use in which situation. A business owner is no different. Know the pitch your customer is sitting on. If you can serve up a meatball in your marketing, your customers will respond. Do a little research. At last, find out what interests your customer and potential customers.
Bottom of the 9th.
Coupled with some awesome graphics, interesting videos, and cool images your company will benefit from all of the above information. Overall, marketing isn’t just a part of the business. Marketing is your gold glove fielder. It’s the “Ace” of your staff. And the superstar slugger in your batting order. Use it wisely. In conclusion, we hope you enjoyed Crossing the Marketing Mendoza Line.
Any marketing questions? Feel free to contact us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here to help businesses flourish! Analyze. Create. Achieve.