What is benchmarking
‘Continuous process of comparing a firm's practices and performance measures with that of its most successful competitor(s)’.
Why do it?
You have to know how you rate compared with your peers, to know where you need to improve relative to them. If you want to be "best-in-breed" in marketing, or just to "do better" you need a baseline to review the marketing effectiveness of competitors.
Online, potential customers will often directly compare what a competing brand or website has to offer. Benchmarking "puts you in the customers shoes" and gives you insight on where you need to improve. It can also give you inspiration to try new approaches whether they're related to content, design or the brand communications used.
So when should I benchmark?
Ideally you should be benchmarking at least every 6 months or so as it will allow you to keep up to speed with what your competitors are doing and how your competitors' marketing changes. It's also an essential part of developing a marketing strategy where you need to look at all aspects of your marketing communications especially SEO, content and social media.
5 great free online marketing tools
We know you will already be reviewing competitor sites, but at times we see there are some key issues that are often missed and you may also be missing some of the great free tools available to help you.
5 main pitfalls to avoid when benchmarking
Warning and recommendation
Be careful not to get too worried about your competition, of course it's important, yet not all of your answers will lie within your competitors - we think that looking outside of your market can be just as beneficial for driving ideas and innovation - a source of inspiration for asking new questions.