Leveraging On Benchmarking For Competitive Intelligence
By Josephine Osifowokan
In this age of highly competitive jostling for winning prospects over, a lot of firms strive to take over the market from their competitors. This process has gone beyond just searching for your niche in the market share; it has become the era of leveraging on benchmarking your brand against leading brands in order to improve your market performance
Benchmarking your brand’s performance against your competitions’ helps you to see what leading brands in your industries are doing and how you can leverage on that insight for more adept knowledge in the given field. Additionally, benchmarking your brand helps you to learn the processes used by other brands in order to improve your market performance. I will like to shed more light on what benchmarking really means.
What is benchmarking?
Although benchmarking would have a different meaning based on individuals perception, to some it could mean comparing a product or service against another product or service within the same industry or comparing your brand against leading brands or comparing your services based on customers feedback or user’s experience. The major goal of benchmarking is to improve one’s performance by comparing your processes with the way successful brands are functioning.
According to Business Finance; benchmarking is a systematic and continuous process that enables organizations to identify world-class performance and measure themselves against it. In other words, it is simply a process in which a firm measures its performance against that of the best firm in its industry or sector. Benchmarking is a strategic market tool that is involved in the gathering of information and considers the process by which an output is obtained.
Majorly, there are two good reasons why benchmarking is done. Firstly, benchmarking your brand can help you stay in business; by enabling your firm to outperform competitions in your sector/industry. Secondly, benchmarking your brand ensures that your firm is continually striving to improve its performance through learning from leading brands. At this point, I am sure you are beginning to wonder; how do you benchmark your brand? I will highlight five (5) steps in which benchmarking can be carried out.
5 Steps to the Benchmarking Process
There are several qualities against which a brand can be benchmarked; such as strategies, operations and processes of successful businesses. The following are stepwise on how you can benchmark your brand:
Perform SWOT Analysis
The first effective step in benchmarking your brand or firm is to conduct an internal performance analysis. This would provide insights on factors that should be improved upon such as employee’s performance, fluctuations in output or managerial decisions. Identifying your firm or brand’s strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats will aid mapping out strategies or plan for benchmarking against other brands.
Determine What And Why You Are Benchmarking
Benchmarking your performance against your competitors is an effective business management tool that opens the mind to various ideas from new sources, both within the same industry and in unrelated sectors. It is important to identify the reason why you intend to benchmark. This would help you stay focused on the goal you hope to achieve from the process. Also, it is paramount to know what you intend benchmarking against before setting out to benchmark.
Identify The Drivers
Once you have identified the barriers and set out plans, it is pertinent to identify the key drivers that would be used in measuring your performance. Also, the key performance driver should be critically examined before implementing.
Identify Who You Are Benchmarking Against
Another important step in benchmarking is asking yourself the question of whom you want to benchmark against? The answer should include either; the leading brands in your sector or leading brands in other sectors. Identifying this would give you a clear insight on what procedure to follow.
How To Measure
Once you have identified the brand against which you want to benchmark, it is, therefore, necessary to gather information about the business processes, customer’s experience and strategies being employed by the leading brand in order to measure the key metrics. Data obtained from this process is vital for comparison and improving on your market performance.
I will recommend that benchmarking of your brand should not be considered as a one-time exercise, but employed and implemented as an integral part of a continuous marketing improvement process if you must outperform your competitions.