The highly anticipated USA vs. Germany match will determine whether our great nation will advance in the World Cup. But how will we go about sealing our fate in the next round? Play defensively, offensively or perhaps strike a deal with the opponent seeing that our coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, is a former German World Cup player? No matter what, one thing is certain—it involves careful analysis and strategy.
What does soccer have to do with marketing, you ask? A marketing analyst draws actionable insights or results from the data they acquire, whether this is for a specific campaign or all marketing programs. Now, where does USA’s Michael Bradley & Kyle Beckerman fit into this job description? They’re midfielders.
The requirements they meet:
1) Strategists of the field
2) Break down the silos in favor of the value of integration
3) Look past vanity metrics
Strategists of the Field
Midfielders are trained to see the field as a unified whole (as if each player is an individual data point), just as marketing analysts must look at data across all channels. They identify the opportunities on the field, which are not exclusive to playing the ball to the offense. Playing to the defense has its benefits its as well – it creates more space, opening up opportunities to play the ball forward.
Midfielders are a team’s most technical and systematic players—looking at the game as if it were a puzzle and knowing that taking more than three touches is dangerous. Defense and offense undoubtedly serve important roles too; however they have a much more limited view of the field. Defense always plays forward. Offense aims to score.
The Value of Integration
Another strength: Midfielders see the value of integration, breaking down the silos of soccer that are the defense & offense. This keenness for integration stems from a midfielder’s inherent selflessness. They understand that utilizing the strengths of every player on the field increases the team’s chances of scoring. Much like in marketing, by putting all of your eggs in one basket, for instance Pay-Per-Click Advertising, you miss out on converting (in soccer terms, scoring) a customer further down the funnel through tactics like Site Retargeting. An integrated approach, when executed properly, yields greater revenue. You know the saying: “A whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
Shy Away From Vanity
If you aren’t familiar with vanity metrics in marketing, they’re metrics that make you look and feel good (like pageviews & social media followers), but don’t necessarily correlate to performance as a whole (in other words, revenue). In soccer this metric would be scoring, which is the focus for most forwards. To prove this point, you can still win a game 2-0 by playing poorly against a much weaker opponent. Midfielders don’t adhere to the vanity metrics as much as their offensive counterparts; they focus on the combination plays through the gaps on the field.
So what can a marketer learn from midfielders? It’s important to listen to what the data tells them. In a recent study by Applied Predictive Technologies, it was found that only 10% of marketers
take the course of action suggested by the data. Midfielders are a prime, real life example of the benefits of acknowledging the facts. Let the data identify areas of opportunity or weakness, and play the game of marketing accordingly.
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