The Super Bowl is upon us.  Who’s going to win?  The Baltimore Ravens or The San Francisco 49ers?  Will Colin Kaepernick or Joe Flacco be heading to Disney World? Will Beyonce lip sync the halftime show?  (On a side note, who cares?!) My prediction, which everyone from ESPN and the NFL Network has been clamoring for all week, is below.  An even more interesting prediction, however, is who will win the Direct Marketing Super Bowl?  Not familiar with that one?  And you call yourselves cutting edge?  Ok, full disclosure.  I’m a Baltimore Ravens’ season ticket holder and our marketing guru has “politely requested” that I write something about the Big Game.   Since he’s such a great person, I’m actually making this up as I type.  Without further delay, here are the top 5 reasons on who will win the much anticipated Direct Marketing Super Bowl:

One brief timeout.  (Get used to this as a normal NFL game takes 3 hours – the Super Bowl takes about 4-1/2 hours.)  Before we get to the Top Five list, I’d like everyone to pause and keep a friend of mine in their thoughts.  My colleague from Boston, Craig Blake, an avid blogger, is (unfortunately) a New England Patriots fan.  With the Boston area’s recent streak of success in sports, it has been rare to see Craig humble.   These past two weeks have been a trying time for Craig.  I’m not sure if his therapist has released him from her care just yet, but please, keep him in mind.

OK, this time, without interruptions. 

5. Data

Great data analytics work well for both direct marketing efforts and for NFL teams. Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens’ GM, is well thought of around the NFL.  His Hall of Fame playing career and tutelage under New England’s Bill Belichick helped him become skilled at evaluating talent.  But, he’s even more adept at valuing the talent, a skill not shared by most of his counterparts.  The Ravens do not subscribe to independent scouting services – they do the data analysis work themselves.  Evaluating players is important – valuing them and making sure they fit into the overall approach is critical.  New England and Baltimore do this better than any teams, as evidenced by their records over the last two years.  An understanding of the data makes it easier to know your marketing – and football – direction.

Edge: Baltimore 

4. Strategy

Brothers will be coaching against each other for the first time in any American professional sports championship.  Jim and John Harbaugh, the sons of a high school and college coach, will square off for the second time.  Baltimore (John’s team) won the 2011 battle.  Creating a 360-degree view of the opponent helps organizations develop great game plans.  Breaking down film, looking at results, tweaking the plan and developing a solid approach for the team happens both on the field and off. Having a full view of the customer in marketing is a crucial element in the success for any campaign, as well. Having an experienced team in place to create strategy, with the foundation based on solid analytics, separates the good teams from the great ones. 

Edge: Baltimore 

3. Multichannel Approach

The Ravens are playing like champions right now. Rather than relying on one element of their approach to take them all the way, the Ravens truly have a multichannel approach on game day.  A little dose of Ray Rice (social media marketing, if you will), a pinch of Joe Flacco and Torrey Smith (Direct Mail, for sure), and the defensive tandem of Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs and Ed Reed (perhaps email marketing, mobile offers and telemarketing?).  Point is, all of these elements come together to form a whole that is greater than the sum, as does a truly multichannel approach in marketing.

Edge: Baltimore 

2. Implementation & Technology

San Francisco has introduced a new quarterback to much of America this year: Colin Kaepernick.  His athleticism, intelligence and playmaking make him a difficult match up problem for most teams he has faced.  New “technology” like a “pistol offense”, is always great – as long as it’s used in the right ways and the right situations.  Sometimes this new “technology” can run into problems, like, perhaps, a Ray Lewis.  Or, an Ed Reed.  Baltimore’s defense, a veteran group, has seen just about everything out there.  They are typically one step ahead of even the best offenses, as evidenced by a second half shutout of the highest scoring team in the league, the New England Patriots.  Sorry, Craig.    

Edge: Baltimore 

1. Fundamentals

The most successful direct marketing programs practice all of the basics.  Baltimore may be a bit boring at times.  After all, their quarterback played at the University of Delaware, not the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.  Not everyone is a Ray Lewis fan because of his past actions and some of his current behavior.  Almost all will admit, however, he practices the fundamentals better than anyone.  He truly makes his teammates better.  He’s perhaps a step slower, but he’s an awful lot smarter.  Practicing the fundamentals in direct marketing always works well, too:  solid data, clean lists, great offers, excellent creative & copy all help to get customers and prospects to take that next step.

Edge: Baltimore 

Prediction: Baltimore

 

ROI: 27-16