Michael Lewis is a great read, I have enjoyed his work since reading Liar's Poker way back when. I somehow have managed not to read the book Moneyball or see the movie yet; having said that I am familiar with the story,. it relates how Billy Beane turned Oakland As into winning baseball team through a novel look at player stats that helped him find undervalued players and compete with much richer teams.
I saw an article in Media Post that brought the lessons of Moneyball closer to the worlds of media and marekting. Gary Kreissman writes:
Moneyball’s gurus boiled baseball down to Runs Created — that is, if you score more runs than the other team, you win. And when you win more games, you gain “market share,” rising in the standings. It’s just as simple in marketing — essentially substituting Sales Created for Runs Created. Use the right tools to analyze your spending and you’ll find the combination that will result in more business and more market share for less.
A Moneyball approach overweights the factors you care about, and may ignore factors your industry generally seeks…What about media relationships? Using these metrics helps identify media that might not be considered otherwise, just like Beane’s Oakland As traded for players nobody else seemed to want.
While the article seemed to focus on paid media, in other words advertising, it made me think about how some of the same lessons can be applied to the worlds of PR and social media.
E.g, when it comes to influence, many seem to think that reach (e.g. the total number of Twitter followers one has) is one of the most important metrics to consider. Before squandering lots of capital – in the form of hours spent cutlivating relationships, or via paid relationships and promotions with those who have uber following – consider that research points in another direction.
As I wrote in May (quoting from a relevant study that explored online influence by measuring the adoption of hashtags):
Our results… suggest that users with the highest follower count are not the most influential in terms of information diffusion. Rather, users with the number of followers of around 1,000 tend to be most effective in diffusion and adoption of hashtags.
The same study revealed that independent bloggers exert outsized influence in the world of tech.