Competitive benchmarking is an essential piece of every marketing strategy. Your brand doesn’t live in its own bubble--at least not in the eyes of your audience. There are lots of other brands and services competing for the same market you are. Knowing how you stack up can help you to fine-tune your strategy and rise above your competitors.
That said, simply looking at your competitors and how they perform on social media is just the tip of the iceberg. All those likes, shares, and comments you see don’t mean much. There’s no context behind them. They might just have a highly engaged internal team pulling those strings.
That’s where competitive benchmarking comes into the picture. With benchmarking, you gain contextual insights into the what and the why.
Here’s how you can put competitive benchmarking to work for you.
Why Competitive Benchmarking Matters in 2022
Let’s say you’re running a 5K. You’re competing with other runners on a fairly balanced playing field. The plot twist: you’re racing one by one. You can’t see how fast the other runners are racing compared to you. You can only do your best and focus on your own race. In the end, you have no way of knowing anything other than your own time.
This is how many companies choose to operate. They’re not keeping tabs on the races of their competitors and are instead focused on their own lane. They’re not aware when lesser competitors have pulled ahead of them. They’re not certain when they’ve started to lag behind.
Now, imagine a normal race where you and other participants are running alongside one another. You can see who is ahead of you, and by how much. You can then adjust your own speed or technique to gain a little more distance and speed. With the right tweaks, you just might be able to win. And if you’re already winning, you might be able to widen the gap and put some real distance between you and your competitors.
That’s the difference competitive benchmarking makes in a business. You’re not just watching your own metrics, but also those of your competitors. You know how your social media audience, engagement, marketing, email campaigns, website traffic, and SEO stack up against others.
If you’re ahead, you can use your benchmark data to figure out why you’re doing so well. And if you fall behind, you can see what your competitors are doing differently than you. Use that intel to inspire changes in your own strategy.
We’re entering a highly competitive business landscape in 2022. The effects of the pandemic are lingering, specifically in terms of talent availability and supply chain disruptions. Maintaining a competitive edge has never been more essential, especially when conditions outside your control can cause you to flounder.
What Can You Do with Competitive Benchmarking Insights?
It’s clear that competitive benchmarking is important. But once you get insights, what should you do with them?
Here are a few ways you can use benchmark data in your marketing:
Set Actionable Goals
When you know how you compare to your competitors, you can set and prioritize relevant goals. For example, if your competitors are posting new content every week but you’re only posting monthly, you may need to reassess your content strategy.
Competitive benchmarking removes some of the guesswork from goal setting. Instead of firing in the dark, you can make decisions based on data — and come closer to hitting your target.
Highlights Wins to Stakeholders
Marketers face increasing pressure to prove their salt when it comes to linking actions and ROIs. However, these same higher-ups need to know what success looks like. For example, they might not realize the value of social media engagement or why you’re paying attention to certain metrics.
Benchmark data can help you put context behind your marketing metrics. Show off what you’re doing better than the competitors to keep your stakeholders happy.
Improve Your Competitive Advantages
Marketers can pick out the various trends driving the market. But you also need to know what’s driving those trends. Benchmark data can help to fill in the knowledge gaps. See how competitors are deploying their marketing tactics and compare their campaign performance with yours.
This allows you to see which parts of your marketing are working well, and why. From there, you can optimize the right parts, inspire new campaign ideas, and build on your proven successes.
Using AI-Enabled Consumer Intelligence to Benchmark Your Competitors
Data is at the heart of competitive benchmarking. Rather than visually comparing your company to a competitor, you’re diving into detailed data to support your observations.
This data might include engagement rates, click-throughs, SEO scores, and anything else that might indicate success. However, your competitors aren’t likely to hand over their numbers.
How do you obtain such specific intel?
We suggest leveraging AI-enabled consumer intelligence to do most of the heavy lifting for you.
What is AI-Enabled Consumer Intelligence?
Marketers use tools to measure campaign performance, create content, and optimize their efforts. Likewise, you can use tools to manage your benchmarking research.
AI-enabled consumer intelligence uses artificial intelligence to help monitor your competitors at scale. When your audience engages in conversations about your competitors, or your competition launches a new product or campaign, your AI-enabled tools will collect and organize that data from various sources. This gives you a clearer understanding of what your competition is doing in the market compared to your own company.
As a result, brands have a better idea of their share of voice, reach, engagement, and overall impact across every channel. See at a glance where your competitors are gaining on you and where they’re falling short. This real-time intel allows you to make impactful changes to your approach so that you can get ahead — and stay ahead.
Using AI Consumer Intelligence for Benchmarking Competitors
The AI aspect of AI-enabled consumer intelligence gives marketers a better way to learn beyond what’s already known. It answers the questions that marketers might not know to ask.
Rather than just documenting what consumers and competitors are saying, AI can turn those conversations into intelligent insights. Context is a big part of competitive benchmarking, and AI’s ability to find patterns and relationships in data makes it easier to uncover insights that marketers can start using right away.
Here are some areas where using AI consumer intelligence can help the most:
Share of Voice
How do you see yourself in the industry? A market leader? A newcomer? Something in between?
No matter how strong your presence, your competitors are vying for the same market. Share of voice indicates how much you’re being heard compared to other brands in your niche.
Boosting your share of voice allows you to become more actively involved in conversations. The more you contribute, the more chances you have of drowning out your competitors’ voices.
There’s more to effective marketing than rising above the noise. Good marketing should influence consumer behaviors, actions, and sentiments. We’re in a time where most consumers distrust marketing and advertising, especially messages that come straight from the company or brand.
That’s why seeing your competitor’s ad campaigns everywhere you turn shouldn’t be cause for panic. It doesn’t mean they’re about to swipe your entire customer base. Nor does it mean they’re about to post record-breaking sales.
If customers don’t like the ad campaign, or worse, it hits a nerve and becomes a brand turn-off, that’s even better for you!
That’s why sentiment analysis matters in competitive benchmarking. It gauges how brand mentions, marketing messages, or ad campaigns appear in the eyes of an audience.
Comparing your competitor’s sentiment analysis with your own can help you define what your audience loves about you. It’s a great opportunity to capitalize on positive press while also addressing any negativity surrounding your brand.
If content marketing is in your marketing toolkit, you most certainly need to track its performance. Content is king for everyone these days, and your competitors are likely using content to capture more market share, too.
This can be one of the hardest areas to track without the right tools. Content marketing is an expansive undertaking in terms of formats and number of channels.
AI consumer intelligence can automate content benchmarking and compile insights across channels. Linkfluence looks at several key areas, including overall content performance, engagement, timing, frequency, and the types of content being created.
Content marketing and influencers are increasingly linked. Brands and companies that partner with key influencers in their niche can expand their brand to new, relevant audiences. In turn, they establish trust, build brand recognition, and may even improve their social media followings and content performance.
AI consumer intelligence tracks where your competitors are being featured. Key influencers might include industry publications, news media outlets, websites, bloggers, and social media influencers, for example.
This gives you a ready-made list of sources that you can reach out to — they might promote you, too!
Themes and Trends
Getting ahead of trends and themes in your industry are key to creating high-performing content and connecting with influencers. When you’re “in the know” about things that matter to your audience, you stand a better chance of getting noticed by them.
AI continuously collects and reviews data to identify recurring themes and trends. Use this insight to guide your content development, improve audience sentiments, and appeal to influencers.
Using AI Consumer Intelligence in Your Strategy
The better you understand competitive benchmarking, the better able you’ll be to use available insights. Linkfluence simplifies this process by putting AI to work in collecting, analyzing, and organizing data in a ready-to-use, always-on format. Get real-time competitor insights and always know where you stand in the market.
To see how AI-enabled consumer intelligence can work for you, get a demo today.