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Competitor benchmarking with the RACE Framework

Author's avatar By Dave Chaffey 19 Jul, 2021
Essential Essential topic

Use the RACE Framework to review and improve all aspects of your competitor benchmarking

When I train or give talks to marketers on digital marketing, I see that competitor benchmarking tools are popular. Often people will reach for their pens when I mention a tool to help inform their marketing. New, free tools are naturally the most popular!

I thought it would be useful to break down and categorize the most important aspects of online benchmarking, so you can check out tools you could use to support each stage.

Today, there is a great breadth and depth of paid and free benchmarking tools available for marketers. Sometimes it can be difficult to know where to start.

That's why our competitor benchmarking guide and template includes a full list of free and premium online benchmarking tools integrated across the RACE Framework.

What is competitor benchmarking?

Competitor benchmarking is a structured analysis comparing the online services, capabilities, performance, and tactics of an organization with competitors in the areas of customer acquisition, conversion, retention, and growth.

A key part of market research, benchmarking is the optimum starting place for strategic decision-making. In the competitor research and benchmarking process, all key factors that affect the commercial performance of a company are identified. Performance is then reviewed against competitors for qualitative assessments and quantitative key performance indicators (KPIs) where relevant.

Quantitative benchmarking criteria give you hard figures so you can compare your performance against that of competitors and seek to make improvements against. The RACE Framework provides a handy way of reviewing performance across your omnichannel marketing funnel which you can see below.

Omnichannel Marketing funnel

Competitor benchmarking to inform your marketing strategy

The mind map diagram below shows how I see the many different types of benchmarking activities that can be helpful for informing your marketing strategy, plus where they sit within our RACE Framework.

The RACE Framework structure is a great template for elevating your approach to benchmarking to help you track and adapt your marketing at the key points in your customers' lifecycles. For example, using heat mapping tools to measure website traffic interaction, and customer feedback tools to measure customer engagement.

Our competitor benchmarking guide and template walks you through the next step - selecting the best (free/premium) competitor research and benchmarking tools to gather the qualitative or quantitative research you need to inform your strategy.

competitor benchmarking

Competitor benchmarking across the RACE Framework

Here are the activities, categorized by RACE, which make up a typical competitor benchmarking review:


  • Audience share and composition
  • Investment in digital media
  • Platform usage

For the most up-to-date mobile stats and sources, you can check out our mobile marketing statistics complication.

Planning and mastering a truly omnichannel marketing strategy means getting to grips with each touchpoint in your customers' experiences of your brand. As you can see in the diagram below, different channels can help drive home your key messages at different stages of your customers' journeys, including paid, owned, and earned media, and digital experiences.

RACE framework lifecycle


  • Search marketing
    • Keyword Analysis
    • SEO
    • PPC/AdWords
  • Social media marketing
  • Display advertising

Our research on clickthrough rates may be useful for informing your benchmarking goals and objectives at this stage.


  • Website engagement
  • Site experience feedback

Want to know how to build a perfect landing page? Check out our perfect landing page example and tips.


E-commerce marketers can check the latest e-commerce conversion rates, by sector, region, device, and more.


  • Customer experience feedback
  • Social media marketing
  • Email marketing

There are so many ways to measure audience engagement, but email open and click rates are a great start.

Free and premium competitor benchmarking tools

Now you're up to speed with competitor benchmarking, it's time to get stuck and start generating actionable insights for your company. Our competitor benchmarking guide and template is jam-packed with practical advice and recommendations, including our recommended competitor benchmarking tools for tracking your marketing activities at each stage of the RACE Framework.

Join Smart Insights today as a Business Member for instant access to marketing training and templates to support your marketing strategy and planning. Whether you're looking to build a new marketing strategy for growth, improve your channel performance, or transform your team's approach to digital, we've got marketing solutions to support you to reach your goals.

Author's avatar

By Dave Chaffey

Digital strategist Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of online marketing training platform and publisher Smart Insights. 'Dr Dave' is known for his strategic, but practical, data-driven advice. He has trained and consulted with many business of all sizes in most sectors. These include large international B2B and B2C brands including 3M, BP, Barclaycard, Dell, Confused.com, HSBC, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, M&G Investment, Rentokil Initial, O2, Royal Canin (Mars Group) plus many smaller businesses. Dave is editor of the templates, guides and courses in our digital marketing resource library used by our Business members to plan, manage and optimize their marketing. Free members can access our free sample templates here. Dave is also keynote speaker, trainer and consultant who is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Digital Marketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing. My personal site, DaveChaffey.com, lists my latest Digital marketing and E-commerce books and support materials including a digital marketing glossary. Please connect on LinkedIn to receive updates or ask me a question.

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