Innovations in marketing and the popularity of social media have made it easier than ever for businesses to reach their customers effectively. However, this has also led to customers being inundated with marketing material. Competitive benchmarking can help your business rise above the competition and make an impact on potential customers.
What is competitive benchmarking?
All marketers want to drive the best performance of their campaigns, but how do you know if your efforts are paying off? Understanding and analyzing performance in a vacuum can be unproductive—or worse, misleading. Competitive benchmarking analysis is the study of marketing performance as measured against the performance of your closest competitors.
“There are several competitive analysis tools marketers can use to monitor their competitors organically - which track most things available to the public, and there are also tools you can use to track your competitors' paid activity,” Candace Boren, Product Marketing Director at Marin Software explains. “Once you’ve collected metrics for your competitors, you can use that information side-by-side with MarinOne to analyze your performance to see how you are or aren’t stacking up to your competitors.”
Monitor organic competitive intel
Take a look at what content your competitors are producing for their website, blog, and social channels. Press releases and news mentions will also allow you to keep track of the messaging strategies employed by your competition. Vendors such as Crayon, Klue, and Contify can help you keep track of your competitors’ owned content and mentions. You could supplement this research by analyzing competitor SEO performance using vendors like Semrush and Ahrefs.
Monitoring paid competitive intel
In addition to organic intel, you should also keep an eye on paid media and where your competitors are advertising across search, social, display, television, and other channels. The success they experience can be replicated while their failures can be avoided. Some tools that can help you keep track of your competitors’ paid marketing efforts include MediaRadar, The Search Monitor, and Pathmatics.
How analyzing the competition can give you greater insight into your own marketing performance
So you’ve gathered intelligence on when and where your competitors are advertising and distributing organic content. Now what?
The key to competitive benchmarking is to use this data to your advantage! Take a look at which channels your competitors focus on. This may be a good indicator of where to best reach your target audience. Have they moved away from a particular channel? Maybe they haven’t seen strong performance here. And of course, notice if there are channels you’re missing in your campaign strategy—you want to maintain a presence everywhere that your competitors are reaching potential customers.
“Competitive benchmarking is important because even if you think your performance is where it needs to be, you don’t want to look at it in a vacuum because there’s always more opportunity to acquire customers who might otherwise go to your competitors. So if you are monitoring their performance to make sure you are in line with it, you're capturing every opportunity that you can see,” Candace explains.
Keeping an eye on your competitors can help you ride the wave of success that they might be experiencing on another platform. For example, TikTok has become important since its rise in popularity in 2019. Analyzing the competition can help you identify the opportunities a new popular social media platform can present to businesses.
The benefits of competitive benchmarking don’t stop there. Modern customers are highly opinionated and fragmented. Effective targeting can help you find and reach customers who are being underserved by your competitors. If a competitor is experiencing success on a platform or with a specific marketing strategy but are unable to meet customer demand, competitive benchmarking would put you in the perfect position to fill that gap in the market.
3 ways to extract maximum value from competitive benchmarking data
Make your competitive benchmarking data work for you by pairing it with effective analysis and improved strategizing using these tips.
Use the RACE Framework to analyze the effectiveness of your marketing activities across all channels
Sometimes, it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact area within a wider marketing strategy to adjust for the best results. The RACE Framework gives marketers a simple way to analyze marketing activity and it can be applied to any channel or platform that you wish. RACE is a mnemonic device. It stands for Reach, Act, Convert, and Engage.
These steps represent the journey that marketers must take from the beginning of a customer interaction to its conclusion. Analyzing marketing results at each of these steps can help marketers understand how to capitalize on the opportunities presented to them by competitive benchmarking data.
Improve marketing data utilization with effective and uncomplicated reporting processes
Data is only as valuable as the insights it can provide. These insights also have to reach the right team members to actually be useful. Marketing teams must make sure that decision makers, team leaders, and other relevant stakeholders have access to critical information so they can strategize effectively. It is also important for this data to be presented in an easy-to-understand manner.
Optimize spending on channels and strategies that have a proven track record of encouraging conversions
The average social media user visits over seven social platforms each month. How do you decide how much attention each platform should get from the marketing team and how the marketing budget should be distributed across these channels? Competitive benchmarking data can pinpoint the platforms that seem to generate the most conversions and interactions for businesses with a similar profile to your own. Marketers should use this information to optimize their spending on important platforms while keeping niche platforms in consideration in case they become more important in the future.
"Analytics tools like MarinOne can help you look at your performance and compare it to your competition. And if it's not where you need it to be, budget allocation tools can help you find the right level of investment for your campaigns to get you up to par," Candace explains. "And as you move through your spend period and find you are not performing in one channel and performing really well on another channel, these algorithms will automatically shift your budget allocation for you. You'll be outperforming your competition without having to manage your campaigns manually day in and day out."
Demystify data-driven reporting and marketing strategy with MarinOne
To compare your competitors’ marketing strategies with your own, you need a comprehensive picture of your digital program. MarinOne’s advanced analytics suite pulls all your search, social, ecommerce, display, and app advertising into one view. It’s easy to see at a glance where you are spending and where you are performing, so you can easily compare your performance with the competition.
If you want to take it a step further, MarinOne’s budget allocation tools will shift your budget between campaigns and channels based on how well they’re performing—all while ensuring you hit your budget targets at the end of each month.