My friend David Burney (design guru and rockabilly lead singer) and I have a common affection for Michael Lewis's Moneyball - a story of how Billy Beane of the Oakland A's used Sabermetrics to compete effectively against much bigger competitors. Turns out we aren't the only marketers who like this book - I saw this blog on BNET, which refers to Steve Rubel's original post.
Steve makes some great points, but he's largely staying in the realm of what marketers can control (targeting, media, etc.). I think true insight comes from digging deep into the sales funnel and getting your hands dirty with the data you find there... this is the "sabermetrics", or objective evidence, that marketers had a hard time getting their hands on before on-demand CRM and closed-loop marketing technologies. Just like Bill James figured out that batting average is of limited statistical use in baseball, marketers might find that click-through rates are of limited use when you can get your hands on metrics like "convert-to-opportunity" percentage, "days-in-sales-cycle by tactic", or "avg. deal size by marketing vehicle (or by keyword, or by website)". The possibilities that unfettered access to sales funnel data gives to marketers are endless... and marketers who understand and use that data will be able to outflank much bigger competitors just like Billy Beane does.