Pretty much any data point can be used as a benchmarking metric. The key is to ensure that you measure your metrics against numbers that tell the same story. Social listening metrics are more straightforward here, whereas financial metrics may rely on ratios to tell similar stories between brands.
A benchmarking analysis measures your performance in a specific area and compares it against industry standards or competitive performance. This leaves you with intel you can use to form a strategy and boost performance in areas of concern.
Here, we’ll explore how to measure your brand’s success with our comprehensive guide to benchmarking analysis. To get you on the road to beneficial brand insights, we’ll cover:
- What is a benchmarking analysis?
- Benchmarking analysis tools
- Strategies and use cases
Here are several stats that testify to why a benchmarking analysis should be on your radar no matter what role you play in your brand:
- A benchmarking analysis can help inform many aspects of your business to help you stay competitive. A survey released last year found 48% of respondents stated their industry is much more competitive, while 41% said theirs was marginally so.
- Using a benchmarking analysis to compare against other brands can help streamline your marketing efforts to capture earned media online. This is one of many examples where you can use benchmarking to spur growth as leads generated through earned media outperform paid media leads by 10-15%.
- 61% of brands say they’ve seen revenue increase through competitive benchmarking. Last year, that number came in at 52%, which hints at increased adoption of benchmarking strategies – and their effectiveness.
The competition will constantly be licking at your heels – a benchmarking analysis is how you survey the land and make adjustments. Let’s check it out.
What is a Benchmarking Analysis?
Benchmarking analysis is how you compare your brand against another across a variety of measurable metrics. Those metrics can be related to financial intel, marketing campaigns, product quality, production processes, etc.
Benchmarking analysis is common across businesses to see where a brand stands relative to industry or competitors. Your brand’s accountants assuredly measure your brand’s financial situation against the competition. That’s been a thing since trading began.
However, we live in a new market where the voice of the customer is more actionable than ever. That means that social listening provides numerical values we can track to establish how our brand is performing with consumers.
This, of course, does not take away from standard benchmarking measures but instead acts in a complementary fashion. Markets move like a swiftly running current, and social listening is your net to capture and understand consumer behavior. Establishing your metrics among consumer opinion opens a whole new world for the efficacy of your benchmarking analyses.
In the days of sailing ships, sailors would throw lines, or chip logs, from the stern of the vessel with knots tied at intervals. As the knots passed through their hands, measurements could be taken to assess the ship’s speed.
In much the same way, benchmarking analysis allows you to see how quickly you are moving towards a goal. Conversely, it also informs you if your brand is slipping away from the competition in a particular area.
In short, benchmarking analysis tells you where your brand stands relative to another. These measurements can be anything that suits your fancy. For instance, here are two major shoe brands’ social conversations measured on a scatterplot for volume, net sentiment, and passion intensity.
Knowing where you stand today is step one in making positive progress. Tracking movement over time lets you know if you’re strategies are working. And this works for any metric you care to evaluate as long as the data is measured in the same way.
Benchmarking Analysis Tools
Since the data sets you are measuring should be as similar as possible for actionable insight, making sure your tools play together nicely is critical. In other words, you don’t want a sentiment analysis from your brand in liters and another from a competitor in grams. It doesn’t work and isn’t worth your time.
There are benchmarking analysis tools for every aspect of business you’re interested in measuring – from SEO to financials and social media. Here are a few tools to get you up and running.
1. NetBase Quid
NetBase Quid is two data analytics tools under one roof that allow you to take measurements on social, news, blogs, M&A, patent data, and much more. It also allows you to create a benchmarking dashboard to understand typical monthly metric values for your brand, competitor, category, or a subset thereof. Its benchmarking capabilities include:
- Identifying business objectives to uncover situations where you should intervene and escalate internally or engage with social and news situations directly
- Creating processes to detect movement in sentiment to evaluate brand health by identifying a baseline sentiment number for benchmarking
- Determining threshold volumes to set alerts and providing context for reporting to your organization or clients
Measuring your insights as well as competitors is as easy as structuring your analyses in a similar fashion. That way, you stay keen on the metrics that matter, and you know how you measure up against the competition.
The more data you have on your competitors, the better off you are. Owler delivers hard-to-find company data on the competition. It also provides strategic news alerts, so you know when they are getting traction. This acts as a complement to your primary benchmarking analysis and supplements your intel at the same time.
With the amount of software available to brands these days, your benchmarking analysis is only constricted by your imagination and your budget. If you want to track how you stack up against a competitor’s website – you can do that with Ontolo. It’s a powerful data mining tool that lets you analyze web traffic and backlinks while collecting content at the same time
Ontolo offers a wealth of SEO data and scours the web for competitor data, allowing you to dig into engagement data on their websites. It also allows you to see the type of content they’re posting online. It’s a great way to measure a competitor’s website performance against your own.
These are just a few examples of benchmarking analysis tools you can use to measure performance against the competition. It’s the quickest way to improve upon an area of weakness or defend your title as king of the hill.
Use Cases for Benchmarking Analysis
Benchmarking analysis pits your brand information against competitors or known industry standards. Some argue that only knowing your benchmarks is useless, but we disagree. Although it leaves you nothing to measure against, it does let you know where you stand as you progress over time. That’s a brand health analysis. However, finding a standard to aspire to gives you a target to shoot for.
So, it doesn’t matter if you are a CPG brand, retailer, or sports team; one of the best things you can do is understand your industry standards and competitive milestones. Form your measurements around those standards as well as a few competitors, so you know who’s out in front.
Let’s take CPG, for example. Without a benchmarking analysis, you might think you’re doing fine. Taking the time to understand standards around key metrics will let you know if you’re not. Anyway, the sky is the limit with metrics to measure. Some you may want to consider include:
- Human capital management standards
- Procurement benchmarks
- Manufacturing and logistics norms
- Key supply chain metrics
- Accounts receivable and collections
- Tax and treasury benchmarks
- IT organization performance standards
- Patent and innovation movement
- Campaign and marketing performance benchmarks
- Share of voice/Voice of the consumer tracking
- Customer care metrics
These are just a few examples of the thousands of possibilities. If you can measure it, you can track it. Knowing is half the battle – strategizing yourself out in front of the competition is the other half. A benchmarking analysis is the quickest route from A to B.
A benchmarking analysis lets you know exactly where you stand concerning competitors in your industry. It helps you get honest with yourself and work on the areas you’d like to see improvement.
Reach out for a demo, and we’ll put the data analytics tools at your fingertips so you can get to work on the metrics that matter to your brand.