How Moneyball style analytics are shaping the future of business through data-led decision-making

Why traditional brands must learn new tricks for social media analysisThe world is full of examples of in-depth analysis leading to success. It’s true in almost all fields; even movies have even been made about the way deep analysis has turned sports teams around, with Moneyball especially being a rollercoaster success.

The Moneyball trend describes how challenging a traditional gut-led decisioning process can transform an organisation. By replacing gut-led decisions with those backed by data and analytics, the Oakland Athletics’ baseball team became enormously successful while, massively reducing the costs usually required for this level of success. A natural result was that the talent scouts complained that they knew best, but the analytics inspired results showed that, actually, their gut-based decisions were massively flawed.

A more recent example isthe fairy tale of FC Midtjylland, a small Danish club that went from close to bankruptcy to winning their first ever Superliga, the Danish football league, in just one season. This success story was all down to the smart use of data and analytics. Matthew Benham, who made millions with his company Smartodds, which used statistical models to predict football results, provided FC Midtjylland with a vital edge in the transfer market, as well as on the pitch.

But sports teams are relative latecomers to the game when it comes to making better use of data. In business, using analytics to inform your strategy is now a fundamental principle. Most modern businesses now apply this kind of analysis to some part of their operation, allowing them to make savings, boost profits or simply increase productivity.

But what happens all too often is that, having analysed a campaign and acted to correct flaws and accentuate strengths, a business will then stop its analysis, or maybe pick it up again once sales take another dip or in the wake of a competitor beginning to outperform them.

In cases like these, even when businesses go back to analytics a second time, they are missing a whole set of learnings from the previous research. It’s not enough to analyse your business at one moment in time. It is crucial to continuously monitor what happens in real time, to analyse the outcome of each new campaign, and to ask yourself how to make the next one more successful, while avoiding any pitfalls.

Then, when another campaign comes into play, it is your chance to apply the lessons you have learned from your analysis of all previous campaigns. The analysis of these campaigns is a continuous process, each analysis building on the results of the last Execute analyse, learn.

This kind of continuous analysis soon becomes self-sustaining; improvements flowing into improvements, errors relentlessly identified and eliminated. Continuous analysis means increased success and as long as you have the analytical capability to learn from it, then the more data you have for that analysis, the better. Acting on the right analytics at the right time, like Moneyball tactics in sport, will put you ahead of your industry.

Andy Crellin is head of insights at ResponseTap