3 Ways Fantasy Football Is Like Data-Driven Marketing

August 14, 2014

It’s that time of year: Football season is almost upon us. So it’s time for football fans to gather in basements, around kitchen tables, or in Google Hangouts to make their fantasy football draft picks.The best fantasy football players are data-driven, making their picks not based on their favorite players or the teams they root for, but purely by the numbers. And that’s just one way fantasy football players are like data-driven marketers. Here are three ways marketers resemble fantasy football player:

Three Ways Marketers Resemble Fantasy Football Players

1. It's all about the metrics.

Fantasy football players don’t necessarily pick the best football players, the All-Pros or even the future Hall of Famers. Instead, fantasy footballers pick the players they think will deliver the best production. For instance, if a wide receiver is by far the best receiver on his team, he’s going to make a lot of catches, simply because the ball is thrown to him more often. It’s all about the numbers. It’s similar in marketing. A data-driven marketer may be partial to TV or print ads, but she is going to go with whatever tactics – whether that’s search, social, email, or online display – that will deliver the most conversions, the best MQLs and, ultimately, make the biggest contributions to revenue.

2. You need variety on your team.

No fantasy drafters are going to load up on quarterbacks at the expense of receivers, tight ends, or running backs. You need a full complement of players and production at every position if you’re going to win your fantasy league. Similarly, if marketers want to outperform their competitors, they can longer load up on right-brained people who can deliver creative ideas and design cool looking ads. Data-driven marketing departments require left-brained, analytical thinkers who can run demand generation software and deploy your marketing technology infrastructure.

3. Teamwork on the playing field matters.

In a fantasy football draft, a player has to look beyond an individual player’s skills to see if those skills are going to be well used by his team. For instance, even the best quarterback will put up poor numbers if playing behind a shaky offensive line. Similarly, a running back on a passing team won’t produce good numbers for a fantasy football player. The data-driven marketer can find her production hurt if she’s not surrounded by a good team. She needs a strong IT department to make sure her technology is optimized. She needs a good relationship with sales to make sure MQLs are being followed up on. And she needs the trust of the C-suite to ensure that she gets the budget she needs to deliver on promised revenue.

Data-driven marketing and fantasy football are both all about the numbers. To learn more about the numbers that are important in the marketing department, check out The Big Data-Driven Business: How to Use Big Data to Win Customers, Beat Competitors, and Boost Profits by Russell Glass & Sean Callahan.

This post was originally published on the Bizo blog. In July 2014, LinkedIn + Bizo joined forces to build the most robust B2B marketing platform available to marketers. To learn more, check out David Thacker, VP of Product at LinkedIn’s announcement blog post.