Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Statistically important

If the 2009 World Series is any indication, sporting events are the main reason the field of statistics was invented.

Game 6: The two starting pitchers – Pedro Martinez for the Phillies and Andy Pettitte for the Yankees – are a combined 75 years old.

I’ve spent more-than-imaginable hours watching the Amtrak Acela series (also dubbed the Turnpike Tussle), and I’ve been astounded by the statistics announcers Joe Buck and Tim McCarver deem important for the TV audience to know.

When the Phillies left-handed-hitter Chase Utley hit two home runs off a left-handed pitcher, it was only the second time that’s ever happened. Babe Ruth did it first, in 1928.

I’ll give you that one. Apparently anything that compares with Babe Ruth is interesting to someone.

This is the 12th World Series that Joe Buck is calling, paired with Tim McCarver, who is analyzing a record 20th Series.

Now there are statistics on the guys announcing the statistics!?!

Sometimes I think they just make this stuff up.

This is the third time a World Series pitcher has started after only three days rest, a steady diet of Cheetos, and wearing women’s underwear.

OK. I made that up. But you get my point.

I don’t want to know every bit of data; I’m looking for insight. Tell me what’s relevant and why it matters. Otherwise, the announcers are just filling airtime until the next pitch. Oh yeah, that IS what they’re doing. Filling airtime. Trying to keep the TV audience from getting up for that next beer or bathroom visit.

As if that were even possible.

Go Phillies!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Marketing to "e"-verybody

It's a good thing I took a more generalized liberal-arts approach to studying communications than specializing in, say, marketing. Considering how social media continues to create new rules for reaching out and drawing in prospects, my book-learned marketing skills from college are now only quaint reminders of the way things used to be.

Yes, I've adapted to Web 2.0, social networks, and next-generation "e" everything. Still, the technology and its implications continue to leapfrog ahead.

Such was the premise of a recent humor article, Subject: Our Marketing Plan by Ellis Weiner, published in The New Yorker (Oct. 19, 2009). It spoofs the marketing plan of a book publisher, in the form of a letter to one of its authors.

My takeaway (besides the giggles): Not everything "e"-social is better. It's hard to imagine how technology can fully replace good old-fashioned social skills when it comes to touching hearts, engaging minds, building trust, and motivating people to take action.

At some point, it takes the personal touch of a real live person to make a difference.