What is a Benchmark Study?
Benchmark studies refer to the process of evaluating and comparing the performance, metrics, or best practices of a company against recognized industry standards or competitors. The aim is to identify gaps, areas of improvement, and potential strategies to enhance overall effectiveness. Often times, benchmark studies are used for market research.
- Performance Analysis
- Comparative Analysis
- Industry Standards Assessment
- Isolated Assessment
- A software company conducts a benchmark study to evaluate its customer satisfaction ratings against its closest competitors.
- A hospital compares its patient wait times to industry standards through a benchmark study.
Using Benchmark Studies for Marketing
Utilizing benchmark studies isn't just about keeping up with the Joneses; it's about creating ownable, unique data that sets your brand apart. When you benchmark, you're not just measuring; you're generating insights that can be gold for your social media, content marketing, and sales channels. This not only elevates your inbound strategies but also gives your outbound efforts a compelling narrative. In a world clamoring for attention, benchmark studies offer you something invaluable to talk about—something that's rooted in fact, resonates with your target audience, and enhances your market position. Learn more
Benchmarking as a formal process can be traced back to the 1950s, with its roots in Total Quality Management (TQM). Xerox Corporation is often credited for popularizing the concept in the late 1970s when they conducted a comprehensive study to understand their cost structure compared to Japanese competitors.
- The "Spend Trend Analysis" benchmark study often reveals cost-saving opportunities in procurement.
- In marketing, the Customer Engagement Benchmark Report is useful to understand how your brand engagement rates stack up against the industry average.
- Robert C. Camp, who is known for developing formal benchmarking procedures.
- Peter Drucker, who discussed the concept in the context of 'Management by Objectives'.
Benchmark Studies and Market Research
Benchmark studies and market research are closely related concepts often used in tandem to provide a comprehensive view of a company's standing in its industry. Market research focuses on gathering data on market trends, consumer behavior, and competitive landscapes to help a company make informed decisions. It often encompasses surveys, focus groups, and data analysis to gather actionable insights.
Synergy Between Benchmark Studies and Market Research
- Contextualizing Data: Benchmark studies give context to the data collected through market research. Knowing that 70% of customers are satisfied is less meaningful without knowing that the industry standard is 80%.
- Identifying Gaps: Market research can identify customer needs and preferences, while benchmarking can pinpoint areas where the company falls short of industry standards. The combination allows companies to allocate resources more effectively.
- Strategic Planning: Both can feed into the strategic planning process. Market research informs what the customer wants, while benchmarking data reveals how well the company delivers it. This duo informs both short-term tactics and long-term strategy.
- Measuring Effectiveness: After implementing changes based on market research, benchmark studies can measure the effectiveness of these changes against industry norms.
- Competitive Advantage: Understanding where a company stands compared to competitors (benchmark studies) and what its customers want (market research) offers a significant competitive advantage.
In summary, benchmark studies work with market research by providing a comparative lens through which to view market research data, enabling a company to make more informed and effective business decisions.
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Benchmark studies are valuable across various sectors, including healthcare, manufacturing, IT, and education. They can be qualitative or quantitative and can be conducted internally or externally.
- Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
- Performance Metrics
- SWOT Analysis