I don't know if you're a Baseball fan, but you still know its spring training time in Arizona. In fact I enjoyed a Cactus League game with my grandson last weekend.

Sports metaphors abound in business - one of which often heard is "Keep your eye on the ball!" This refers to keeping your focus on THE MOST IMPORTANT THING.

When standing at home plate, keeping "your eye on the ball" may be good advice - but human limitations make it literally impossible to do. Even the best hitters on the planet can only track the ball until it is about five feet in front of the plate... but then, it simply becomes impossible as the ball is just moving too fast. At that point, the difference between a home run and a swing and a miss is matter of milliseconds.

Business can be just about as unforgiving, however, when determining next steps it's not only critical to keep your "eye on the ball", you have to know WHICH ball to focus upon in your business marketing. And what you have to focus on is your Return On Investment (ROI).

For example, like many businesses, I know of one that's expanded its media use from one to eight to twenty over about 4 years, with recent emphasis online - yet their own stats reveal that direct-mail is outperforming everything else by at least 50%.

Perhaps they should consider re-allocating time, money, energy accordingly in their business marketing. Of course, every media that works to bring in customers at break-even or better should be used.

The ball to keep relentlessly focused on in all cases is ROI - does this provide long term value?