Competitive benchmarking should be part of your data-driven marketing strategy.
In August 2016, Elaine Thompson claimed the mantle of world’s fastest woman, and Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympian of all time. Thompson and Phelps achieved these incredible feats by continuously pushing themselves to do better. To do this, they not only tracked and measured their personal performance, but they also tracked the performance of their peers and of their competitors. Together, this data gave Thompson and Phelps the knowledge and drive needed to improve their own performance.
When it comes to measuring marketing performance, most marketers look inward, focusing on key performance indictors (KPIs) such as website traffic, open rates, social engagement metrics, and conversion rates. While these inward facing KPIs are important, it is also important to look at what is happening outside your organization and to benchmark your marketing performance against peers and competitors. This will give you the knowledge and drive you need to improve your performance and chance of success. It can help you to identify threats and strategic opportunities.
When adding competitive benchmarking to your marketing strategy the first step is to determine who to benchmark against. I recommend not just benchmarking against direct competitors, but to also benchmark against industry leaders, and against a company or two that you think is excelling (this company does not need to be in your industry). By taking this more global view, you can gain ideas and intelligence from industry leaders and from the creative and strategic minds of top performers. A word of caution – be strategic and keep the number of companies to a reasonable number.
While you should determine the KPIs to track and measure based on your business and marketing goals, here are some to consider:
- Traffic by channel
- Visits by source
- Bounce rate
- PPC activity and spending
- Social engagement
- Social reach
- Posting times
- Top performing content
- Meta description (company positioning)
As with your inward facing KPIs, action is key. Use the data you gather to inform your strategy.