April 09, 2008

Bill James, Sabermetrics

My wife always wonders why I never applied my craft to the analysis of sports. Well, it would be hard to answer questions better than Bill James does in this interview with baseball fans on the Freakonomics blog in the New York Times (FYI, here is Bill's website, if you're interested).

Using his logic, if analysis of multichannel and micro-channel customers were a baseball game, we've just moved into the bottom of the first inning in terms of our ability to understand customer behavior.

Think about the established metrics (valid or invalid) baseball uses to evaluate players. When a player comes to bat, the television screen instantly shows batting average, home runs, runs batted in. We know where the player bats in the batting order. Given the information, we set expectations for the outcome of the at-bat.

Now think about multichannel and micro-channel analysis. If you were given a segment of customers at a company that features catalog marketing, e-mail marketing, social media, and store channels, what are the metrics one would list on a television screen that would set your expectations for future performance of that customer segment?

Yup, we're in the bottom of the first inning when it comes to integrating Web Analytics, E-Mail Analytics, Catalog Response, Social Media Response, and Store Performance at a customer level.