Much Clutch?

I have a love/hate relationship with Ryan Howard.  (I’ll go easy on the links today… on Amtrak and don’t have the greatest internet connection… God I love the quiet car!).  Allow me to make an omission:  I’m not a numbers guy – scored much better on the verbal than the math back when the SAT was a real test (#makekidsfeelgoodlikenotkeepingscoreinlittleleague)!  And due to aforementioned internet connection issues, I can’t research and cite with certainly that the numbers I’m about to mention are 100% accurate; but I can say that they’re close.  I am, and have always been, what you would call a ‘feel player’.  Numbers are annoying to me… especially the one tied to my alimony.  So you stat geeks out there feel free to rip away, but my mea-culpa has already been issued!

One of my regular readers is most certainly about to fall off his chair when he reads this.  In an effort to ‘protect the innocent’, his name rhymes with Rat Mappe and he’s a diehard Mets fan (btw, can we agree the Mets have the DUMBEST mascot in all of sports?  I mean they’re in the advertising capital of the world, and all they come up with is Mr. Met????  Horrific.).  In this joyless season for such masochists, this is sure to put a smile on my friend’s face:   I’m waiting for Ryan Howard’s next clutch home-run as it seems to occur roughly once every Wilson Valdez bobblehead night (which is to say not very often).  I know, he’s an RBI machine and has turned into a serviceable defensive first baseman, but my God, how may whiffs in clutch moments do we have to endure???  Listen, I love me some Phillies, especially the core of Rollins, Utley, Hamels, Victorino and Howard… all of whom grew up together (I begrudgingly throw Hamels into this mix and I’m adopting Victorino even though he didn’t come up through the Phillie’s farm system – I believe it was the Dodgers – he’s pretty much been here all along for this glorious ride).

I believe the Big Dawg (or is it ‘Lafayette’ from True Blood?) has 31 home runs.  For those of you dying for a distraction at work, get on and tell me how close I am to the following statistics:

  • Less than 10 have come when the Phillies were either 1 run up, tied, or 1 run down
  • 15-20 have come when the Phillies have more than a 4 run lead

I just can’t get strike 3 from last year’s NLCS out of my head when the Bearded Wonder (how’s that ‘repeat’ coming along from your MLB network commercial, chief?) struck out our boy looking to advance to the World Series.  It’s why we Philly fans have such a love for Chooch Ruiz – that guy is the epitome of clutch!  So I love Howard for his stats… and the RBI’s are timely… but I need my big bopper hitting bombs when they matter, not when I’ve already switched over to the Real Housewives!  (Did I just say that?!).

While we’re on the topic of misunderstood statistics, can we put to rest the ‘high cost’ of direct mail and replacing with email?  Keep in mind that I’m a fan of both; providing services for each helps pay my mortgage… but this logic makes me want to tear out my eyeballs.  For the non-direct marketers out there, I’m going to make this very simple:  Judging what you pay to execute a campaign is like t*ts on a bull – useless!  You must consider the cost of a given action that you want your audience to take… or even more simply, the cost to have your message consumed (read, heard, eaten, whatever!).

The overall cost to deploy an email campaign… using a GOOD response list (and not some compiled garbage) is, let’s say $100 per 1,000 emails delivered, or about $ .10 per email (there are some soft costs that we’ll ignore such as the cost to develop the HTML creative, but we’ll assume that’s being performed by salaried individuals who would be paid regardless if they performed this work or not).  Direct mail is, on the surface, WAY more expensive.. .for our purposes, we’ll use $ .85 per piece which includes printing the mail piece, postage, and the list rental cost being similar to email.  But I’m telling you these numbers tell us squatola regarding the true cost!  Who cares how much it costs to send out a campaign… I want to know what it costs to get somebody to actually read what we’re sending.  If you’re not concerned about that, call me, you’ll become my favorite client!

So if we look at the cost per read, we have to look at some historical statistics of who looks at each marketing message.  In my career of providing prospect email lists to marketers,  I would say that a 15% open rate is a pretty fair 10 year average across thousands of campaigns.  In other words, for every 100,000 emails sent, 15,000 will be read… or $ .67 per read email.  Pretty cheap!

Looking at direct postal mail in the same light, studies show that 85% of advertising postal mail is actually read.  So to reach that same quantity of 15,000 readers, we only need to send 17,650 mailers.  Assuming a cost of roughly $ .85 per piece, the cost of $15,000 to reach 15,000 ‘readers’ of our message is north of the $ .67 achieved by email, but there’s one other missing link… how are we defining a ‘read’?

When you account for the fact that “opens” for email (which we’re assuming is a ‘read’ email) are registered when images are served from where they are hosted, and considering that a huge percentage of email recipients utilize the ‘preview pane’, it stands to reason that we’re counting a decent number of ‘opens’ being ‘read’ that are simply showing up in the preview pane and actually deleted without being read!  I don’t have a way to quantify this absolutely but I think a reasonable assumption would say that when it all comes out of the the wash, the cost to actually get your email read is pretty comparable to that of a postal direct mail campaign.

So email is a lot of things… it’s super timely (we can deploy much quicker than we can direct mail), it ties seamlessly into other online branding (easily made to look/feel like landing pages, websites, etc) and errors can be quickly fixed (ever catch a typo after printing 10,000 postcards?).  But what it’s NOT is demonstratively less expensive than direct postal mail.

Sort of like saying that Chooch is demonstratively less clutch that Ryan Howard… not the case mi amigos!

    • Tone
    • September 10th, 2011

    In all probability you were a severe critic of Mike Schmidt during his tenure in Philadelphia. With all due respects, you don’t know what you are talking about when you criticize The Big Piece. What is of particular importance is the synergistic effect of having excellent hitters, hitting in front of him (Utley) and behind him (Pence). You are a microcosm of what has been wrong with Philadelphia sports over the years. Please eat you cheese steak and try not to choke on it.


      • TC
      • September 12th, 2011

      I know, I know, but have you noticed his increased HR production the last couple of games since my post? I will take credit for properly motivating Mr. Howard… you’re welcome Philadelphia!!!

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