Shopping, the Oakland A’s and Billy Beane of Moneyball Fame

So what do baseball, Brad Pitt and shopper marketing have in common? The answer became much clearer after a fun presentation by Billy Beane, GM of the Oakland A’s and subject of the movie Moneyball at the Shopper Insights in Action conference sponsored by IIR USA. The answer to the question posed above can summed up this way: using a data-driven discipline to find insights and then acting on those insights to drive results.

Beane spoke this morning about his “game-changing” approach to compete by mining data for insights into which players to put on the field to maximize wins while staying within his payroll limits. The concepts and approach were new to his “industry” and not an easy sell to his organization. But the effort paid off and Beane made the A’s into one of the most cost effective winning teams in baseball.

And similarly, shopper marketing is about mining shopper data and behaviors to determine what maximizes wins within resource constraints (costs). Now in its 12th year, the conference attendees continue to pursue a deeper (often data-driven) understanding of shoppers to generate insights that lead to winning actions. Who would have guessed that a similar effort was going on in baseball.