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The easy way to benchmark your digital marketing performance

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 21 Nov, 2019
Essential Essential topic

Benchmarking allows you to see how well you are faring against your competitors, allowing you to pinpoint what you do well and where improvements need to be made.

Measuring your success is more than looking at how much traffic is coming to your site and what your conversion rate is. You can’t really get a true idea of how you are performing unless you compare yourself to your competitors.

‘How do we compare to our competitors?’ and ‘What does excellence look like?’ are questions you should be asking when developing your digital marketing strategy. While many companies are asking these questions, they may not know exactly what answers they are looking for.

In order to benchmark your performance against your competitors, you need to know exactly what you should be comparing and how to structure your review and recommendations. This is where our comprehensive benchmarking templates come in.

Aiming for digital marketing excellence template

Making digital marketing benchmarking easy

Our digital marketing benchmarking templates have been edited by our co-founder Dr Dave Chaffey and are available to Free Members, making it easy to complete competitor analysis and see where you stand. The one-page templates will allow you to review how well you’re currently using vital digital marketing techniques using a five-point scale for different criteria.

Ultimately, this will allow you to see where you are performing better than other companies in your niche and where the gaps are in your current capabilities. The templates will enable you to:

  • Assess how well you’re using key digital marketing techniques.
  • See where the gaps are in your activity/capabilities.
  • Communicate what your priorities should be to your team and decision-makers.
  • Create a detailed improvement plan.

This means that if you are responsible for or involved in managing and improving how digital marketing as a whole contributes to the business, or how well specific channels do, these templates can be beneficial.

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We have provided a dedicated benchmarking template for each area of your marketing, allowing to look at individual channels and then assess overall performance. This will enable you to create plans for different channels but also unify these plans under a single, overarching digital marketing strategy.

How are the benchmarking templates structured?

We’ve used the Carnegie Mellon capability maturity model to structure our benchmarking templates, which is a five-point scale. This model lets you rate different processes from an unmanaged approach as you start out (Level One) to a well-managed one (Level Five).

The benefit of this approach is that it allows you to be more objective about your current capabilities and where you need to improve, allowing for a more detailed complete competitor benchmark.

The templates available that use this model are:

  • Digital transformation assessment
  • Integrated lifecycle marketing using the Smart Insights RACE planning framework
  • Digital analytics
  • Marketing campaign planning
  • Content marketing planning
  • Email marketing and marketing automation
  • Online customer experience
  • SEO capability
  • Social media governance
  • Influencer relationship management
  • International marketing – website localization and translation
  • E-commerce
  • Marketing agency services

You’re able to benchmark the different ‘best practice’ activities for each of these, allowing you to complete a comprehensive digital marketing audit and compare your performance to your competitors’.

Once you have the results of your benchmarking, you’ll have a better idea of where you need to focus and what you need to work in order to see your digital marketing results improve.

RACE Planning Framework

The template for integrated lifecycle marketing uses our RACE Planning Framework, which provides you with a planning system that covers all aspects of digital marketing across the customer lifecycle.

The Smart Insights RACE planning system

Our RACE Planning System uses a simplified version of PR Smith’s SOSTAC® Planning System, which is a really great framework that is easy to follow and to remember. The version of SOSTAC that we use looks at Opportunity, Strategy, and Action.

Why you need these templates

If you want to create an effective digital marketing strategy that takes into account where you are, where you want to be and how you compare to your competitors, these templates will be invaluable. They will allow you to plan improvements for specific channels but also inform your overall strategy, ensuring that you’re more likely to achieve the results you’re hoping for.

They also provide a structure to your marketing capabilities audit, which ensures you’re asking the right questions about the right areas for each specific area of marketing. Using this structure for all future audits will help you see how you are improving over time, which can be helpful when getting buy-in for activities from decision-makers.

To access the digital marketing benchmarking templates, just sign up for Free Membership. As well as meaning you can access these templates, you’ll also be able to make the most of our expert free resources, create a Personalized Learning Plan and assess your own abilities with our Capability Grader.

You can find out more about the many benefits of Free Membership in our breakdown.

Recommended resources

Once you have completed your benchmarking activities using our free templates, you’ll have an idea of what activities you need to work on. Our resource library includes guides on all major areas of marketing, allowing you to structure your learning and development, and upskill yourself in order to improve your strategy and results.

Resources that you may find helpful after using these templates include:

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By Expert commentator

This is a post we've invited from a digital marketing specialist who has agreed to share their expertise, opinions and case studies. Their details are given at the end of the article.

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