Discover how to leverage publicly available online information and the latest AI technology to get fast and accurate insights into industry leader performance for benchmarking.
What is Benchmarking?
Benchmarking is the process of comparing the products, services and processes of leading organisations against your own performance.
Benchmarking gives you insights to enable you to pinpoint opportunities for improvement within your organisation.
Usually, the organisation you are comparing your company with is in the same or a similar industry or field, though that is not always the case. Organisations can take inspiration from anywhere. This was the case when London’s Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital benchmarked its cardiac surgery to intensive care unit handoff against pitstop techniques used by the Ferrari Formula One race team.
The Challenge of Gathering Data for Benchmarking
The hardest part of the benchmarking process is gathering useful and reliable information. Successful companies typically don’t want to share their secret sauce or reveal weak points in their products, services or processes, and traditionally this information has been kept guarded and confidential.
In the past, there were limited ways to get such information. You could conduct costly market research, asking consumers questions about their experience with the brand. You could also parse relevant information from interviews in industry magazines, reports, marketing materials, etc., an arduous and time-consuming process.
Some traditional benchmarking methods border on the nefarious, such as trying to prise sensitive information out of contacts from competitor companies during casual conversations.
But the landscape of how information is shared has changed drastically over the past decade. Now there is a wealth of publicly accessible data which provides ample insights.
New Benchmarking Resources
This list contains benchmarking resources and tools that take full advantage of big data.
Google Trends enables you to chart interest in keywords, brands and topics over time and compare them against each other. It’s free and easy, all you have to do is choose the search term, time span (going all the way back to 2004) and location.
Statistics and Infographics
Search blogs for free industry data. In order to produce interesting content, company blogs, and in particular SaaS blogs will occasionally publish industry averages stats to promote their services. For example, this blog by Wordstream details the average click through rate (CTR) in Facebook ads by industry.
It’s important to note that these are industry averages and not best practices, but they are still useful for giving you a sense of how your company is performing.
SEO & Google Ads
While you can’t get into your competitors’ Google Analytics, you can use tools for keyword research and online ranking data such as SEMRush and SE Ranking. Discover the organic and paid for keywords that your competitors are targeting. You can also view their ad copy over time to see which phrases they’re returning to and which they’ve ceased to use.
Get an idea of ad spend by looking at CPC rates. While this information isn’t easy to accurately assess, you can get a general idea of their Google Ad campaign strategies.
Social Media Marketing
Social media is rich in useful data, and best of all it’s wide open. Compare engagement levels on posts by your competitors. With Symanto technology you can compare brand mentions on different social media channels over time. When mentions peak it could be a sign of a marketing campaign success or a PR disaster. Look back to see what your competitors were doing at that time.
Product Development & Customer Service
If you want an in-depth, non-biased opinion on the performance of your competitors’ products and services, ask their customers, or rather, listen to what their customers are already saying.
Social media and review sites are full of customer service information that would previously have been guarded as a top secret. This information is golddust. It reveals the strengths and weaknesses of a company from the perspective of the people who matter most, aka their customers, aka your potential customers.
The challenge with this kind of information is finding a way to make sense of a vast quantity of qualitative, unstructured data. But thankfully, advancements in natural language processing (NLP) technology have revolutionsed what’s possible.
Symanto’s AI NLP technology is capable of analysing thousands of customer reviews and social media comments in a matter of minutes. Our topic and sentiment analysis technology uses deep learning to accurately assign topics and sentiment to each comment or review and give stats on how the customer base feels over all about key aspects of the organisation.
For example, find out how your competitors feel about the price, features and performance of competitor products and the quality of their service.