Especially when tackled in small bursts of experimentation, digital marketing is an analytics-driven endeavor. For better or for worse, in the digital realm, there’s no shortage of data for marketers to crunch.
While collecting large sets of useful information, marketers often struggle to bring context to them. For instance, if you’re going to arrive at any useful insights, the way you analyze web traffic patterns after a change in strategy needs to go well beyond the number of visits and their duration. Website analysis thus becomes a complex task.
The best way to bring context to analysis is to benchmark all metrics. When you put your data in context by comparing it to the past, or what the industry is up to at large, you’re in far better position to derive insights into your marketing performance.
Here are three additional benefits of benchmarking.
1. Easily Evaluate Competitiveness
The internet is vast, and there’s no shortage of competition, no matter the business in which a company is engaged. Every sector has different standards, and marketers must ensure they’re comparing apples to apples.
For instance, comparing the traffic stats of a company like Amazon to the stats of a niche ecommerce retailer doesn’t make sense. Their sectors are the same but the scale of business is very different.
Benchmarking helps marketers identify niche-specific competitors easily and puts all metrics into perspective. The resulting analysis helps companies better evaluate their marketing and sales efforts and categorize their competitive position in their market.
This exercise also makes it easy to set marketing goals. For instance, marketers can calculate their percentage of market share and work to increase it. They can create metrics that measure this goal and tie them back to marketing strategy changes.
For example, you might shift your company’s content strategy to reflect new consumer trends and then measure the resulting changes in traffic. Benchmarks, in this case, provide marketers with a clear “before and after” picture they can use to inform further strategies.
Benchmarking also helps companies spot threats to competitiveness in advance. For instance, a competitor might gain a significant market share on a new social media platform that appeals to younger consumers.
A small share of voice on an up-and-coming platform points to a potential problem in the future that the company can quickly address.
2. Identify Growth Potential And Fix Gaps
Consumer trends change over time for a variety of reasons. As a result, gaps in a company’s marketing strategy tend to appear. A good example of this is changing societal attitudes, and the fact that the language companies use to market their products needs to change constantly.
While benchmarks don’t directly reveal which trends are changing consumer attitudes, they do alert marketers that change is afoot. A declining share of traffic from norms indicates that the company’s strategy isn’t hitting the spot with consumers and prompts deeper analysis into relevant metrics.
Once analyzed, companies can then plug any performance gaps with new strategies in line with consumer expectations. Best of all, they can measure performance against benchmarks to determine the new strategy’s effectiveness.
Benchmarks can also reveal potential new audiences to companies. As companies grow, it becomes essential for them to find more customers and prospects. This often means they need to target audiences that are not familiar with their product or a niche that has a different set of norms than the ones the company is used to.
In such situations, referring to an existing benchmark that applies to the new niche will help marketers instantly set realistic targets and goals. They also help calm expectations and give companies an idea of what to expect. For instance, a niche might have low traffic counts but high conversion rates as standard.
In this case, low traffic isn’t an issue, and a benchmark will highlight this fact. Without a benchmark, a company is likely to seek solutions to a problem that doesn’t exist and waste resources. Benchmarking also helps companies define standardized processes for every niche they encounter.
A benchmark provides a fixed goal for companies to target, and this stability extends itself throughout the chain. Marketing teams can design good processes because they know what to aim for and have data that backs their goals up. The result is a harmonious work environment where everyone in the organization is aligned in the same direction.
3. Better Change Management And Continuous Improvement
Change management can be a potential headache if not managed well. As users continue to access the web via more platforms than ever, companies need to rethink their website assets’ designs to ensure they’re fully functional.
Growing web accessibility regulations also pose challenges for firms.
Benchmarks can help firms prioritize the changes that are most critical to their businesses. It helps them allocate resources wisely and build a culture of continuous improvement in their organizations. By tying employee performance to data-driven benchmarks, companies can foster greater accountability and improve employee satisfaction.
Thus, benchmarks have an internal function as well. They standardize metrics, and process workflows across departments can help everyone in the organization work on the same page.
Benchmarking For Success
Bringing context to metrics and data is a challenge but benchmarking is the best way forward for companies of all sizes. From creating a healthy work culture to monitoring competitiveness, benchmarking is an asset for all organizations.