What do running a successful sports team and managing a B2B marketing department have in common? Quite a lot, in fact – if you know the value of digital benchmarking.
Michael Lewis’s book Moneyball is the famous story of how Oakland Athletics – a small and relatively poor baseball team – went on to have huge success in the 2002/2003 Major League Baseball season. Their achievements are widely credited to manager Billy Beane. Beane introduced the (then unheard-of) sabermetric approach – which involves using intensive objective benchmarking to understand performance.
Moneyball has been heralded as a ‘business bible’; and when it comes to knowing how to benchmark marketing, the book’s themes offer a lot of inspiration to digital marketers.
Let’s look at how B2B technology marketers can benefit from digital benchmarking.
How to benchmark marketing?
Benchmarking is a method of objectively evaluating your company’s digital marketing activities. You need to carry out an assessment of your existing digital marketing activities, tracking how often they are carried out, how much they are engaged with and what effect they have. Once you have a snapshot of the quality of your digital marketing today, the next step is to use this information as a reference to help you keep on improving.
Let’s explore some of the best methods of gathering the objective data that can give you a snapshot of your digital marketing efforts. Below are seven steps to take that will ensure you can effectively benchmark marketing activities at your organisation.
1. Narrow down the digital marketing activities you want to focus on
There are countless variables that you could use when you benchmark marketing – from email open rates, to the length of time customers spend reading your blogs, to how many times your latest whitepaper has been downloaded.
So, how do you decide what you’re going to benchmark?
We recommend choosing between one and three marketing activities you carry out – be that your blog, social media, emails, website analytics or anything else.
Deciding which activity to focus on ultimately depends on your wider marketing goals. Do you want to increase the number of visitors to your website? Or the amount of engagement your tweets receive?
2. Choose the right metrics
There are thousands of potential data points you could choose when measuring your digital marketing. Don’t be tempted to go overboard! Your benchmarking needs to be detailed, yet also provide you with enough clarity and simplicity to support action. We’d recommend choosing between three and five metrics to monitor. Examples would include:
- How often do you tweet/blog/send emails?
- How many people react/read/open your content?
- What do people do once they see your content?
- Where do readers come from?
- How long do people interact with your digital marketing content?
- How often do people click on your call to action (CTA)?
3. Do your initial benchmarking against these metrics
Once you have the focus for your analysis, plus a selection of metrics you want to measure, now’s the time to use powerful tools to carry out your digital benchmarking.
You also need to choose a reasonable time period in which you are going to review your digital marketing. Most companies carry out their analysis based on the three previous months.
You might begin your analysis by simply tallying up numbers – of blogs, of tweets, of emails sent, etc. But, for more detail, the following four tools give you a lot of powerful extra detail for digital benchmarking.
Each of these tools will help with your benchmarking efforts.
- Google Analytics
Analyse visitor traffic and paint a picture of your audience. Discover the routes they take and devices they use to reach your site, and track what they do while on there. Reporting features display this in a clear and actionable manner.
MailChimp lets you build your email campaigns with ease and monitor their effectiveness. Features such as A/B testing and campaign reporting help you get an understanding of what’s drawing your audience in, and what’s getting ignored.
- Twitter Analytics
Twitter Analytics help you understand how the content you share on Twitter is being received. Month-by-month statistics on the ‘success’ of your tweets and audience insights give you better knowledge of your audience and how best to attract their attention. Read our exclusive free eBook about the three tools that can boost your Twitter presence here.
4. Carry out competitor analysis too
Of course, you can’t use Google Analytics on your competitor’s website (although the Partner Benchmarking Tool does let you test any website you like). Nonetheless, you should carry out a basic analysis of your competitors’ digital marketing in the areas you focus on. Compare how often they blog, tweet or otherwise promote themselves during the same time period.
5. Create a report that summarises your marketing benchmarking
Once you have completed your first round of analysis, you are now able to take stock of where you are objectively. Create a report that gives an honest view of where you are today and include comparable data from your competitors.
Google Data Studio is a great tool for marketing professionals, especially if you are using multiple platforms and pulling weekly reports from each.
6. Create a digital marketing strategy to improve your metrics
Now you have your digital benchmark, the next natural step is to create a strategy which will help you improve on those metrics. Now’s the time to aim high:
- Double click-through-rate from your emails
- Treble inbound web traffic
- Increase leads from your blog by 50%
At Fifty Five and Five, we know how important creating a B2B marketing strategy is. Learn how we work with clients on campaign strategy here.
7. Review then repeat
A one-off benchmark is pretty pointless. To get real value from digital benchmarking, you need to carry out regular analysis to get a feel for how you are improving and to get a taste of the impact your strategy is having. If you use our Partner Benchmarking Tool for digital benchmarking, you can track and record all your analyses over time.
Don’t wait to get started
When you benchmark marketing activities, you get a transparent and objective way of tracking the effects and impacts of your work. This should help you develop your marketing strategy and generate more leads.
And remember: once you have an idea of where you are, it’s a lot easier to plan where you’re going.
We can raise your game
At Fifty Five and Five, our expert marketing team use a variety of digital marketing technologies to help them deliver the best results for our clients. To find out more about our team, what we do, and the technologies we use, get in touch with us today.