Understanding your brand is one thing. But understanding your brand beyond your own business is critical if you want to position yourself for optimal growth.
Competitive benchmarking can help you quickly identify your niche audience group(s) and build an informed marketing strategy. The process allows you to compare your company against a number of competitors using a collection of metrics or measure your performance compared to others over time.
The benefits are clear – not only can you get an organised overview of how your company performs – be it revenue performance, market share or brand awareness. You can also stay ahead of the competition by observing when a competitor is doing well or beginning to struggle – all opportune times to evaluate your own strategy.
Competitive benchmarking can be as broad or as granular as you like. It all comes down to your specific needs and what areas are important to your business.
Regardless of your objectives, undertaking these three foundational steps are critical to your benchmarking success:
Step 1: Identify your competitors
Knowing who your competitors are is the first step to gathering the data you need. The ultimate goal of competitive benchmarking is to leverage key insights from top players in your market to determine your next move.
To start narrowing down your direct competitors, look into brands within your market with the same size and success, that offer the same product and services and target the same persona. From there start to think of your secondary (indirect) competitors who might provide different products but still target your niche audiences.
Step 2: Set your objective and competitive benchmark
Setting your objectives can be as simple as asking yourself “What do we want to learn?” or you may already know areas of weakness and growth that your company is focused on. Having pre-existing KPIs and targets is also a good place to start. Either way, asking the right questions can help you determine which avenues to pursue and which data sources to hone in on. And don’t stop there – consult with all parts of the business to see what would be useful to include to ensure the benchmarking objectives provide value on a holistic level.
Step 3: Determine data collection strategies
Once you know your objectives the next step is to find the right tools and data collection methods to gather those key insights.
For example, if your objective is to find out why your brand is performing better in certain regions but not others, your team will want to find access to first-party data directly from your consumers on how and why they prefer other brands in those regions. Tools like Audience Intelligence can help you do just that. By gathering transactional data from consumers, this tool enables you to gain direct access to first-party data on your brand’s performance as well as other players in the market. With a reporting dashboard specifically tailored to location based performance, this makes it even easier to hone in on regional data and extract key insights. From there, you have the option to conduct your own research by surveying the exact consumer types with the exact questions you want, to gain a holistic understanding of your competitor landscape.
No matter your goal, competitive benchmarking is a carefully thought out process which can take some time (and even a considerable budget depending on the data gathering tools). But the insights your brand can gain from this kind of research is invaluable and the only way you can set yourself apart from the competition.
Find out more about our unique-in-market offering, Audience Intelligence. Get in touch with one of our experts today.