A benchmark statistic in market research is never undervalued. It is an initial study to gather measurements which will serve as a comparison to a future wave or phase of similar research. Benchmarks can be considered the constant in research design, acquired before changes take place. Businesses don't often realize the value of a benchmark until they do not have one.
Over the years, I've worked with a number of clients who would have been served much better if they had used market research prior to a marketing or advertising campaign. The initial study should aim to gather benchmark data followed by another round of market research afterwards to understand how the campaign changed awareness, impressions, and the brand equity of its product or service. Without the benchmark, there was a lack of comparison data to identify growth or decline. Sure, the new marketing campaign may have drew 1,000 more clicks to your website but how did the new advertisements impact your brand? These higher-level strategic measures cannot be pulled from Google Analytics. Unfortunately due to tight budgets it's often difficult to find time and dollars to conduct a second pre-campaign survey.
Let's say you recently completed a study which gathered information on awareness and perceptions of your company blindly through an online survey. Here is the data you acquired:
- Awareness in 2016: 62%
- Positive Impression of Company in 2016: 78%
Out of context, you will not know if these numbers are good? Bad? Average? Have they improved? Declined in recent years? Without a benchmark, you are flying blindly here. However, if you knew your awareness was 55% in 2012 and your positive impression was 74%, as a company you would understand both have increased over the past 4 years which lends more insight into some of the marketing and strategy work you've done.
Don't have a benchmark from a prior study to work with? Here are 2 options to add some context and meaning to your data:
- (1) Inquire about your competition in your survey. Ask about your 3 or 4 major competitors' awareness and perceptions. This will give you some relation as to where your business sits in the competitive landscape.
- (2) Scour the internet for similar studies and industry benchmarks. You may be surprised to find a recent report completed on a similar topic that references like statistics. Pay attention to differences in methodologies as they may not be a true apples-to-apples comparison. But at least you'll have some context as to whether your 62% awareness is good or bad, or if it is the industry average.
Interested in working with a market research company in Syracuse for your online, telephone, or mailed survey needs? Contact the owner and founder of Drive Research at [email protected] or by calling 315-303-2040.