General Marketing

Base hits deliver more than homeruns

By Andrew Douglas | 2 min read

Good marketing usually looks like base hits, not homeruns.

Good marketing usually looks like base hits, not homeruns.

In baseball, base hits account for 60% of runs. A batter puts the ball in play and makes it to first base while another player scampers home. Baseball managers employ strategies to move players methodically around the bases. Sometimes a player will even bunt the ball to move a fellow player one more base closer to home.

Homeruns make heroes

You could say base hits are the most important part of baseball, but it’s not the “Base Hit Derby” that people pay money to see at the Major League All-Star Break. It’s the homerun derby where heroes are made.

Successful advertising sells things. Sometimes it’s a product, sometimes it’s an idea. Some of our clients are selling themselves as the best way to solve a problem like world hunger.

It takes time to move a consumer around the bases from initial awareness, where they are hearing your message for the first time, through the first purchase, and on to them becoming a recurring customer. And, most often, it’s base hits that move consumers around the bases.

Base hits produce loyal customers

A base hit in marketing is consistently executing the baby steps of a good strategy. Base hits aren’t jazzy. They often don’t bring the crowd to their feet. But they move consumers consistently closer to the purchase.

A homerun looks like a story about your product on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. A homerun takes a big swing with lots of energy behind it. That’s the problem with home run swings in marketing. They’re not cheap. It takes a lot of time and effort to build the strategy and execute the tactic.

Base hits convert

Here’s what a marketing plan of base hits could look like:

  • An initial Facebook and Google ad campaign attracts the attention of a consumer because it clearly addresses a problem they’re facing with a solution you’re offering.
  • After three times seeing the ad the prospect clicks and briefly surfs a landing page on your website for more information. 
  • Your website is fast and responsive and well thought out. It performs well on SEO and leads prospects through a journey. It’s not just a brochure.
  • They don’t buy but their action allows us to pursue them with remarketing ads across other websites. 
  • Eventually they click on an ad again and join your email list which leads them automatically through an email journey, building a case for purchase. 
  • But after all that, they don’t decide to buy until they see a post from your company on social media.

Sure, we sometimes build a homerun into the plan but we warn clients that you have to swing hard to get the ball over the fence. The effort to get a marketing homerun might mean you have to rob time and budget from other tactics.

Strategy: Base hits and a homerun hitter

All this talk of base hits doesn’t mean you abandon the hope of hitting a homerun.

We try to inject the chance for a homerun into every marketing plan. You need the right pitch to hit a homerun. Old-news stories generally don’t set you up for homerun marketing events. But if you have a good idea it’s worth taking a shot and attempting to go viral on social media or land a big media hit. Just don’t do it at the expense of executing those base hits.

Good marketing is great execution

More often than not, workback schedules, hitting deadlines, delivering flawless copy, being mindful of branding guidelines, and repeating basically the perfect message over and over again is what delivers new customers. 

Andrew Douglas, founder of Story Digital Marketing.

Andrew Douglas

Andrew is the founder of Story Digital Marketing. He has 30 years of experience in journalism and marketing and is passionate about the written word.