As you begin your new year, you have probably spent a very large amount of time on planning your online marketing mix. You have started to look at new technologies and maybe even new ways to showcase and inform people about your product or business. Well I just want to share a bit of advise about benchmarks from 30,000 feet (A High Level Perspective).
While planning your goals and setting your measures of success late last year, you may have taken a look at some of the many industry reports that are available. You may have even started to look at the performance of your marketing tools and began to compare your stats to the those found in industry analysis reports. Before you get too deep in to the year may I recommend that you take a minute to review your current plan and look to set benchmarks based off your own data, instead of published benchmarks. I believe it to be a very good practice to set your own benchmarks and measure your success off of the milestones you set for your emarketing programs. Industry standards, or benchmarks, may be a good place to start for measuring the success of your marketing or business plan, however there is one important variable many reports leave out. Your business.
Like I briefly mentioned before, industry benchmarks are essentially averages or the summation of data acquired and manipulated by someone outside of your organization. Sometimes the formulas they use, donâ€™t take into account the variables your business model experiences or plans for. Industry benchmarks are important because it can give you a snapshot of the various marketing tools and how they perform across the marketing industry, but your business should really be measured on your own performance metrics and at your organizationâ€™s own pace. Letâ€™s take email marketing for example. The open and click-through rates, detailed in a email marketing benchmark report, are aggregates and averages across various business models and sometimes business verticals. This can lead to a very skewed perspective and may even lead to beign misinformed about your customers’ preferences or behaviors. Instead of comparing your open rates on generalized standards, try monitoring and observing your own opens and clicks based off of metrics you define. By doing this, you can included variables that are likely left out of the industry benchmarks. Things like; seasonality, subject lines, dynamic content, communication preferences, personalization etc. If you measure from, quarter to quarter, month to month, or even campaign to campaign, you will undoubtedly find out more about your marketing performance and customers, than any benchmark will supply. This may seem like a regular practice to some, and foreign to others, but try it out if you havenâ€™t before. Taking baby steps to improve your email marketing click-through rates or changing the links structure on your website for SEO, may take a little more time than you would like, but doing so will give you greater visibility into understanding your audience, even at 30,000 feet.