My research team and I have had a couple of interesting conversations with Colin Kinsella, CEO of Mindshare Interactive. How did Colin end the feet-dragging that had stalled the change he was brought on board to finish? Not by telling the team what leadership wanted them to achieve, but by changing how the team did things.
Kinsella moved team meetings into The Loop (a multi-screened war room). "That room has a whole bunch of behavioral change mechanics built into it," he said. The Loop partially completed Mindshare's transition from a media agency to a digital agency by focusing the team not only on paid media but also owned (website) and earned (i.e., social) media.
Just as important, instead of unproductive reporting on what they had done and what was planned, the team meeting in The Loop became where they took action.
The Loop puts real-time trends in paid, owned and earned media front and center along with insights from a variety of potentially correlating online sources. The mix proves explosive in sparking ideas from the whole team.
The focus is to find a client's money-ball moments. In other words, Kinsella's teams look for an unsung statistic highly linked to success. The original basis of the Oakland A's Moneyball success? The insight that getting on base correlates to winning games. While the traditional competition spent big on high batting averages, the A's signed players who got on base any way they could. As a result, the A's won more with cheaper players.
Finally, their money-ball hypothesis in hand, the team takes action right there and then. "Jack Welch says the two enduring differentiators for business are being faster than your competition at, one, generating insights and, two, acting on them."
Still in The Loop, both the analytical and creative groups leverage the tools and processes needed to affect every aspect of their client's marketing. Their new process allows Mindstream to change everything about a client's messaging and distribution in four intense days. "We can change digital video. We can change banners. We can change search terms. We can change the front page of a website."
Throwing Competition for a Loop
So as to not reveal specifics of how his clients are beating their competition, Kinsella puts an old chestnut example into The Loop process.
"Suppose some seemingly unrelated data trending with motorcycle sales pops out at an analytical person in the meeting: sales of motorcycles are highly correlated to housing starts." It makes sense because construction workers love big bikes and buy them when their next few years of employment seem secure. "Your money-ball play if you're, say, Harley Davidson's agency is to focus spend on the growth markets with high housing starts while your competition at Kawaskai, or Honda, or Ducati wastes money in low-growth markets," Kinsella says.
How to Change Your Team Meeting to Moneyball
- Don't tell your team what to achieve, change how your team actually works together.
- That change includes giving them data and focusing their collaboration on finding an unsung, undervalued trend that defines your next best step, your highest-return practice.
- Then just put that change into motion, then and there.
What's your team's money-ball practice?