Benchmarking is a cost-effective way to measure brand awareness and reporting is a straightforward cost-effective way for marketing and PR managers to answer the question ‘how effective is my marketing or PR?’
Answering this question is a challenge for many organizations and brands because ideal solutions such as commissioning market research are often far too expensive.
Some might say sales growth is the ultimate measure. However first, uncontrollable external factors like a competitor launching a massive advertising and promotional discount programme can impact significantly upon sales of the strongest brands. Second, many PR campaigns are aiming to change the reputation and image of a brand more than boost purchasing so sales figures would not reflect the effectiveness of the campaign against this objective.
Benchmarking can be a relatively inexpensive approach, able to suit all sizes of organisation, especially those operating in B2B or consumer brands looking at their trade reputation. After an initial measure to benchmark the current position, repeating the exercise a year or two later can give an indication of how the marketing and PR may have helped to change awareness and the reputation among target audiences in that period.
A benchmarking exercise that the Clareville team has run successfully for two years for a B2B client is a good example of how it can be done. First, the areas to be measured were agreed. They included the quality and frequency of marketing communications, PR and social media outputs; the brand positioning; the company’s reputation and its price positioning.
A series of 8 questions were developed asking interviewees to score the company/ brand on a scale from +10: industry leading to -10 among the worst in the industry, and they were also invited to provide any comments they wanted to add to amplify their scores.
A cross-section of key contacts in various areas of the business were identified as potential interviewees, ranging from major direct customers, wholesalers and agents to trade media. Clareville team sent the team to a minimum of 12 contacts and would recommend aiming for up to 40, if possible, for a strong benchmarking report. After responses have been followed to maximise numbers, the results are collated, average scores calculated for each question and together with the comments, are compiled into a report.
The average scores provide the benchmarking figure for each area. Management can then decide what, if any action, should be taken. By repeating the benchmarking exercise a year or two later, ideally with the same interviewees, the scores from the first and more recent benchmarking can be compared and progress measured.
Working with an experienced independent benchmarking provider such as Clareville
An experienced independent benchmarking provider such as Clareville is able to carry out the research and pursue responses and keep this separate from the day-to-day working relationship and ensure that the project is completed on schedule.
To find out more about benchmarking and how Clareville might help your company, please email [email protected]