Benchmark Your Marketing Campaign’s Execution And Performance To Achieve Superior Results
You and your team work hard to strategize and execute marketing plans. You spend countless hours producing powerful competitive positioning, differentiated messages, engaging content and impactful channel assets. You're happy with your work and it's come together exactly as you planned. But how do you know that's its good enough to outperform the competition?
Without benchmarking you won't be able to tell if your work is truly good enough to outperform the competition. Assessing competitors work upfront creates line of sight for what's required to achieve superior results. Additionally, determining what characteristics are pivotal to success creates a blueprint for what good looks like that you can use as a guide to craft your work. Once you’re live in market, benchmarking your performance enables you to see what's working and what's not, enabling you to take focused action to continually refine and improve your marketing campaigns and channel assets.
While benchmarking may sound complex at face value, the reality is that anyone can do it, and it’s simple if you approach it the right way and focus on a few select levers of success.
Choose The Right Benchmarks For Comparison
Choosing the right benchmark to compare against sets you up for success. Sometimes benchmarks are numbers, other times benchmarks are descriptive and qualitative. For example, if you want to benchmark your visual identity, it’s important to gather examples of visual identities that demonstrate characteristics you’d like to achieve in your own design work. In contrast, if you want to benchmark your event attendance, considering a numeric benchmark such as average attendance of past or similar events helps you establish a target to drive against.
Digital marketing channels are especially easy to benchmark, as marketing data underpins most of the typical platforms and tools used in today’s digital marketing campaigns. Previous campaign data from similar digital marketing campaigns is commonly used to understand if programs and deliverables are over or underperforming what’s typical. If previous marketing campaign data isn’t available, many vendors, associations, and analyst groups publish benchmarks that will be good enough to get you off the ground.
As your work progresses and you complete similar types of marketing campaigns and channel assets, you can shift from broader third-party benchmarks and focus on driving against your own marketing campaign and channel’s previous performance.
Establish a Baseline and Time Period For Comparison
Marketing campaigns and channels are continuously moving, changing, and evolving, so it's important you establish a static baseline for comparison or you'll be chasing a moving target. Establishing a baseline that doesn't change makes it simple to compare your work and results against a clear measurement of what good looks like. Having a static baseline enables you to continually advance your marketing campaign while your measure of success stays exact and consistent.
Choosing a single campaign, select group of campaigns, or defined set of previously executed marketing activities helps you clearly define what you are comparing against. Most important is to select similar marketing campaigns so you can create an apples-to-apples comparison. Benchmarking your work and performance against campaigns that are significantly different will create complexities in your benchmarking efforts and provide little guidance for you to drive against.
When using numeric benchmarks, thoughtfully selecting the right time frame for comparison enables you to more accurately assess your performance and progress. For example, if you’re executing an event, you may want to review registrations weekly across a several week period prior to the event. By comparing your event registrations to the average registrations that occurred each week prior to a previous similar event, you create a relevant measure for comparison.
Frequently Review Your Work and Performance
Frequently reviewing your progress and performance enables you to closely monitor that your improvement and growth is happening as expected. When you’re in the process of crafting and executing your marketing campaign, frequent reviews help you achieve an effective launch. When your marketing campaign is established in market, frequent reviews enable you to drive continuous improvement.
Completing reviews as scheduled and maintaining a steady cadence of reviews over time enables your awareness of the specific factors impacting your performance. It’s easier to pinpoint exact drivers of under and over performance when your review cycle covers short spans of time. It’s easy to miss important details if you’re not disciplined about keeping a pulse on your performance. Missed reviews and long gaps in performance assessment will decrease you’re ability to meet and exceed your benchmark for what good looks like.
While benchmarking may sound complex, the reality is that it’s simple and anyone can do it. Comparing your work against a vision and measure of what good looks like enables you to achieve successful outcomes. Choosing the right benchmark to compare against creates clarity and enables you to effectively progress your work. Using a combination of descriptive and numeric benchmarks ensures your work is well crafted and continuously improved, creating end-to-end success.
Selecting a fixed unit of measure that isn’t living, breathing, and changing over time, makes it possible to assess performance with simplicity. Completing reviews as scheduled and maintaining a steady cadence of reviews over time enables your awareness of the specific factors impacting your performance.
Follow these simple tips and your work will outperform your competition.
Ask Yourself These Questions
- How is the competition marketing similar products or services?
- What are the best examples of similar marketing campaigns?
- Should I use descriptive, numeric, or a both types of benchmarks?
- What is the right baseline to measure against?
- How often should I review my work and performance to be most effective?
About John Fildes
I grow the bottom line by connecting marketing to business strategy. By leveraging powerful positioning, content marketing, and client insights, I help CEOs drive qualitative and quantitative results at scale.
I've built an amazing network of incredibly talented people over the years. What I've appreciated most is those who have invested in me, mentored me, and helped me become the talented professional I am today. I pay it forward by doing the same for other high performing professionals and entrepreneurs.
All views are my own and not those of my current or prior employers.