With Major League Baseball’s spring training under full force, it inspires me to look at how we approach our “online marketing game.” We can learn a lot about winning “conversions” from how the game is played. Most baseball people will tell you that you can win the game with the “long” ball or with the “short” game. When you convert a visitor to a sale or to a lead, hopefully you have scored a run your competitor won’t. Pete Rose liked to say  “Somebody’s gotta win and somebody’s gotta lose and I believe in letting the other guy lose.” You should adopt the same philosophy.

Pete received the nick name “Charlie Hustle” for his unique playing style. He may not have been the athlete with the most talent but he worked harder than anyone. It is about getting rock solid on the fundamentals and executing regularly. Even when being walked, Rose would sprint to first base, instead of the traditional trot to the base. Rose was known for sliding headfirst into a base, his signature move. He played his heart out and would do anything to score runs on the board. Pete understands what it takes to be a winner. Some of his accomplishments:

Major League records:

  • Most career hits – 4,256
  • Most career games played – 3,562
  • Most career at bats – 14,053
  • Most career singles – 3,215
  • Most career runs by a switch hitter – 2,165
  • Most career walks by a switch hitter – 1,566
  • Most career total bases by a switch hitter – 5,752
  • Most seasons of 200 or more hits – 10
  • Most consecutive seasons of 100 or more hits – 23
  • Most consecutive seasons with 600 or more at bats – 13 (1968-1980)
  • Most seasons with 600 at bats – 17
  • Most seasons with 150 or more games played – 17
  • Most seasons with 100 or more games played – 23
  • Record for playing in the most winning games – 1,972
  • Only player in major league history to play more than 500 games at five different positions – 1B (939), LF (671), 3B (634), 2B (628), RF (595)

When he struggled, he’d continuously experiment with his technique until he would find a winning combination. Businesses and especially marketers love the excitement of the home run. Hitting the long ball is definitely one way to win ball games. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, by Michael M. Lewis, published in 2003, looks at the Oakland Athletics baseball team and its general manager, Billy Beane. Its focus is the team’s modernized, analytical approach to assembling a competitive baseball team despite Oakland’s disadvantaged revenue situation.

Rigorous statistical analysis had demonstrated that on base percentage and slugging percentage are better indicators of offensive success, and the A’s became convinced that these qualities were cheaper to obtain on the open market than more historically valued qualities such as speed and contact. I think the same is true today in online marketing. It is not about having the greatest creative talents and who can hit the most home runs but who has the ability to keep moving runners to the next base. This is about consistent, and persistent execution.

In more than a decade of helping companies improve their marketing and increase their conversion rate, one of the key characteristics that determines success is the ability and speed of execution and change plans on the drop of a dime. It is better to get some thing up and out the door even if it is flawed (and it always will be) than to wait and deliberate and evaluate to consider doing something. You can win games even if your are less innovative, less powerful and less talented just by mastering the hustle.

Get things done. Continuously optimize later.

So which organization would you rather have, a team of high paid superstars who don’t deliver consistently, or a bunch of charlie hustles?

If you need some guidance on what tools, talent and techniques you need, we’d be happy to coach you.