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July 14, 2023

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Competitive Benchmarking: How to Measure and Outperform Rivals

In today's highly competitive business landscape, staying ahead of the competition is crucial for success. Competitive benchmarking is a powerful tool that allows businesses to measure their performance against their rivals and identify areas for improvement.

By analyzing industry trends, best practices, and competitor strategies, businesses can gain valuable insights to enhance their own operations and outperform their rivals. Here are some statistics that emphasize the importance of competitive benchmarking.

  • A survey conducted by Bain & Company found that 85% of companies use competitor benchmarking as part of their strategic planning process.
  • Research by Gartner reveals that businesses that regularly benchmark their processes and performance achieve a 10-15% increase in productivity.
  • According to a survey by Deloitte, 80% of executives believe that competitive benchmarking is critical for their business's success.

This article will provide comprehensive information on competitive benchmarking and how measuring and analyzing key metrics can help businesses gain a competitive edge in the market.

What is Competitive Benchmarking?

Competitive benchmarking is the process of comparing and evaluating an organization's performance, strategies, products, or services against those of its competitors. It involves identifying key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics that are relevant to the industry and market, collecting data on how competitors are performing in those areas, and analyzing the findings to gain insights and make informed business decisions.

By benchmarking against competitors, businesses can identify their strengths and weaknesses, spot opportunities for improvement, and develop strategies to outperform their rivals.

Accelerate Competitive Benchmarking Efficiency using Arena Calibrate

Arena Calibrate is a comprehensive marketing tool that helps businesses conduct competitive benchmarking effectively. It enables businesses to gain insights into their competitors' strategies, tactics, and performance, empowering them to make informed decisions and gain a competitive advantage.


Features analytics


  • Competitive analysis: Arena Calibrate allows you to analyze and compare your marketing efforts against your competitors. It provides insights into their strategies, tactics, and performance metrics.
  • Data visualization: The tool offers visualizations and charts that help you understand and interpret complex data sets related to your competitors. This makes it easier to identify areas where you can improve or gain a competitive advantage.
  • Market research: Arena Calibrate provides access to market research data and industry benchmarks, helping you understand market trends and make informed decisions about your marketing strategies.
  • Real-time monitoring: The tool enables real-time monitoring of your competitors' activities, such as their advertising campaigns, social media presence, and content marketing efforts. This allows you to stay up-to-date and respond quickly to any changes in the competitive landscape.


  • Enhanced decision-making: By gaining insights into your competitors' strategies and performance, you can make more informed decisions about your marketing efforts and stay ahead of the competition.
  • Improved performance: Arena Calibrate helps you identify areas where you can improve your marketing initiatives based on benchmarking against competitors. This leads to better performance and results.
  • Time and cost savings: By using Arena Calibrate for competitive benchmarking, you can save time and resources that would otherwise be spent on manual research and analysis. The tool automates the process and provides valuable data in a more efficient manner.
  • Proactive response: Real-time monitoring and customizable alerts allow you to respond quickly to competitor actions or market shifts, enabling you to adapt your marketing strategies promptly.

Benefits of Competitive Benchmarking

Get a Clear View of Business Performance

Competitive benchmarking provides businesses with a clear view of their own performance in relation to their competitors. By comparing key metrics and performance indicators, businesses can identify areas where they excel and areas that need improvement, allowing them to make data-driven decisions to enhance their operations.

Boost Sales and Revenue

By analyzing the strategies and practices of successful competitors, businesses can identify opportunities to boost sales and revenue. Benchmarking helps uncover best practices, pricing strategies, marketing tactics, and customer engagement methods that can be adopted or adapted to drive business growth and increase profitability.

Utilize Benchmarks in Marketing

Competitor benchmarking enables businesses to set benchmarks for their marketing efforts. By evaluating how competitors are positioning themselves, targeting their audience, and communicating their value proposition, businesses can optimize their own marketing strategies to effectively reach and engage their target market.

Monitor Competitor Performance

Benchmarking allows businesses to keep a close eye on their competitors' performance. By regularly monitoring competitor activities, businesses can stay informed about industry trends, product launches, pricing changes, and marketing campaigns. This knowledge helps them adjust their own strategies and stay competitive in the market.

Stay Updated on Trends

Competitive benchmarking helps businesses stay updated on the latest industry trends and customer preferences. By analyzing the practices of innovative and successful competitors, businesses can identify emerging trends, technological advancements, and changing customer demands. This knowledge allows them to adapt their strategies and offerings to stay ahead of the curve.

Enhance Company Culture

Benchmarking fosters a culture of continuous improvement within the organization. By benchmarking against competitors, businesses encourage a mindset of innovation, collaboration, and striving for excellence. It motivates employees to seek better ways of doing things and promotes a culture of learning and growth.

Respond to Market Shifts

Competitive benchmarking helps businesses adapt to market shifts and changes in customer preferences. By tracking competitor performance and market trends, businesses can proactively adjust their strategies, product offerings, and customer experience to meet evolving demands and stay relevant in a dynamic market.

Set Achievable Goals

Benchmarking provides businesses with realistic goals and targets. By comparing their performance against competitors, businesses can set achievable objectives based on industry standards and best practices. This helps in strategic planning, resource allocation, and performance evaluation.

Identify Performance Gaps

Through benchmarking, businesses can identify performance gaps and areas where they lag behind their competitors. This insight allows them to prioritize improvement efforts, allocate resources effectively, and implement targeted strategies to close the gaps and improve overall performance.

Foster Innovation and Creativity

Benchmarking encourages businesses to think creatively and innovate. By studying the practices of successful competitors, businesses can identify new ideas, approaches, and processes that can drive innovation within their own organization. It inspires a culture of continuous improvement and fosters an environment where new ideas are encouraged and embraced.

How to do Competitive Benchmarking?

Competitive benchmarking involves the systematic process of comparing your business's performance, strategies, and practices against those of your competitors. It helps you identify areas of improvement, understand market trends, and gain a competitive advantage.

Clear Goal Definition

Start by defining clear goals and objectives for your benchmarking efforts. Determine what specific aspects of your business you want to benchmark against your competitors. It could be sales performance, customer satisfaction, website traffic, pricing strategies, or any other relevant metric.

Having clear goals helps focus your efforts and ensures that you gather the right data and insights to drive actionable decisions.

Identify the Right Competitors

When conducting competitive benchmarking, it is crucial to identify the right competitors to benchmark against. Look for competitors who are direct competitors in your industry and offer similar products or services.

Consider factors such as market share, target audience, geographic reach, and business model. It is important to choose competitors that are relevant and influential in your industry to ensure that the benchmarking insights are meaningful and actionable.

Similar-sized Businesses in your Industry

Benchmarking against similar-sized businesses in your industry can provide valuable insights into how you stack up against your immediate competitors. These businesses are likely facing similar challenges and operating under similar market conditions.

By comparing your performance to similar-sized competitors, you can get a better understanding of your market position, strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement.

Similar-sized Businesses in a Related Industry

Benchmarking against similar-sized businesses in a related industry can offer a fresh perspective and uncover innovative practices or strategies that you can adapt to your own industry. While the products or services may be different, there may be similarities in business models, target audiences, or operational processes.

Analyzing the performance of related industry businesses can provide insights and ideas that you may not have considered within your own industry, allowing you to gain a competitive edge and identify new opportunities for growth and improvement.

Industry Leaders

Industry leaders play a crucial role in competitive benchmarking as they set the standard for performance and innovation within the industry. Benchmarking against industry leaders allows businesses to understand the best practices, strategies, and approaches that have contributed to their success.

By studying the performance of industry leaders, businesses can gain insights into emerging trends, customer expectations, and industry standards. This knowledge can be used to set ambitious goals, identify areas for improvement, and drive innovation within their own organization.

Benchmarking against industry leaders also helps businesses stay competitive by ensuring they are keeping pace with the top performers in the industry and continuously striving for excellence.

Relevant Metrics Selection

When conducting competitor benchmarking, it is essential to carefully select the metrics that will provide meaningful insights and align with your goals. Choose metrics that are relevant to your industry, business objectives, and areas of focus.

These metrics could include sales performance, market share, customer satisfaction, website traffic, conversion rates, or operational efficiency. The selection of relevant metrics ensures that you are comparing and evaluating the right aspects of your business against your competitors.

Track the Metrics

Once you have identified the relevant metrics, establish a system to consistently track and measure them. This can involve setting up data collection processes, implementing analytics tools, or leveraging existing systems.

Regularly monitor the selected metrics to gain an accurate understanding of your performance and how it compares to your competitors. Tracking the metrics over time allows you to identify trends, patterns, and areas for improvement.

Collect Benchmarking Data

Collecting benchmarking data involves gathering information about your own performance as well as the performance of your competitors. This data can be obtained through various sources such as market research, industry reports, financial statements, customer surveys, and online analytics tools.

Ensure that the data collected is reliable, accurate, and up-to-date. A comprehensive collection of benchmarking data provides the foundation for meaningful analysis and insights.

Results Analysis

Once the benchmarking data is collected, analyze the results to gain insights into your performance relative to your competitors. Identify areas where your business excels and areas where there are opportunities for improvement.

Compare the data against industry benchmarks, market trends, and best practices to understand the implications and significance of the results. This analysis helps in identifying strengths, weaknesses, and areas that require strategic attention.

Refine and Repeat

Based on the analysis, refine your strategies, processes, and practices to bridge the performance gaps and enhance your competitive position. Implement changes, improvements, and innovations to align your business with industry benchmarks or even surpass them.

Additionally, it is important to repeat the benchmarking process at regular intervals to track progress, adapt to changing market dynamics, and stay ahead of competitors. Continuous refinement and repetition of the benchmarking process allow businesses to consistently improve their performance and maintain their competitive advantage.

Analyzing Competitive Benchmarking Metrics for Measurement

Analyzing competitive benchmarking metrics involves examining the data collected and drawing meaningful insights to inform decision-making and performance improvement.

This process includes comparing your own performance against competitors, identifying trends and patterns, and evaluating the effectiveness of your strategies and initiatives.

By analyzing the benchmarking metrics, businesses can gain a deeper understanding of their relative position in the market, areas of strength and weakness, and opportunities for growth and innovation. Here are some competitive benchmarking examples you should consider:

Search Engine Optimization Metrics

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) metrics are key indicators that measure the effectiveness and success of an SEO campaign in improving a website's visibility and organic search rankings.

These metrics provide insights into various aspects of a website's performance and help identify areas for improvement and optimization.

Keyword rankings

This metric tracks the position of targeted keywords in search engine results pages (SERPs). By monitoring keyword rankings, businesses can assess their visibility and competitiveness in organic search.

Higher rankings indicate that the website is effectively optimized for those keywords and is more likely to attract organic traffic.

Backlink profile

The backlink profile metric measures the quantity and quality of incoming links to a website from external sources. Backlinks are an important factor in search engine algorithms, as they indicate the authority and relevance of a website.

A strong backlink profile with high-quality, authoritative links can improve search rankings and increase organic traffic to the website.

Domain authority

Domain authority is a metric that predicts the overall ranking potential of a website on search engines. It is based on various factors such as the website's age, backlink profile, content quality, and user engagement.

A higher domain authority score indicates a higher likelihood of ranking well in search results and attracting organic traffic. Monitoring and improving domain authority can contribute to better search engine visibility and increased organic search traffic.

Social Media Metrics

Social media metrics are key performance indicators that measure the impact and effectiveness of social media marketing efforts. These metrics provide insights into audience engagement, reach, and the ability of social media channels to drive traffic to a website.

Followers and engagement

This metric measures the number of followers or subscribers on social media platforms and the level of engagement they have with the content. It includes likes, comments, shares, and other forms of interaction.

Monitoring followers and engagement helps businesses assess their social media presence and the level of interest and interaction from their audience.

Social media reach

Social media reach refers to the total number of unique users who have been exposed to a particular social media post or campaign. It indicates the potential audience size and the effectiveness of content distribution.

Tracking social media reach helps businesses understand the reach and impact of their social media activities and the potential visibility of their brand and content.

Referral traffic from social media

This metric measures the amount of traffic generated to a website from social media platforms. It provides insights into the effectiveness of social media channels in driving visitors to a website.

By monitoring referral traffic, businesses can assess the success of their social media campaigns and content in attracting and directing users to their website, which can contribute to increased conversions and engagement.

Email Marketing Metrics

Email marketing metrics are key performance indicators that measure the effectiveness of email campaigns in engaging subscribers, driving traffic, and generating conversions. These metrics provide insights into the performance and success of email marketing efforts.

Open rate

The open rate metric measures the percentage of recipients who opened an email. It indicates the level of interest and engagement from the subscriber base. A higher open rate suggests that the subject line and sender reputation were effective in capturing the attention of recipients.

Click-through rate (CTR)

The click-through rate measures the percentage of recipients who clicked on a link within an email. It shows the level of engagement and interest in the content of the email. A higher CTR indicates that the email content and call-to-action were compelling and led recipients to take further action.

Conversion rate

The conversion rate measures the percentage of recipients who completed a desired action, such as making a purchase or filling out a form, after clicking on a link within an email. It reflects the effectiveness of the email in driving conversions and achieving the intended goal.

A higher conversion rate indicates that the email content, design, and call-to-action successfully influenced recipients to take the desired action.

Content Marketing Metrics

Content marketing metrics are key performance indicators that measure the effectiveness and impact of content marketing efforts. These metrics provide insights into the engagement, reach, and conversion potential of content.

Content engagement

Content engagement metrics measure how users interact with content, including metrics such as time spent on page, bounce rate, social shares, and comments. These metrics indicate the level of interest and engagement from the audience, helping businesses understand which content resonates with their target audience and drives meaningful interactions.

Content reach

Content reach metrics quantify the number of unique users or impressions generated by content. They provide insights into the potential audience size and visibility of the content. Monitoring content reach helps businesses assess the effectiveness of content distribution channels and strategies, as well as identify opportunities to expand their content's reach and impact.

Conversion rate from content

The conversion rate from content measures the percentage of users who complete a desired action, such as making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or filling out a form, after engaging with content. It reflects the ability of the content to drive conversions and achieve business goals.

Monitoring the conversion rate from content helps businesses assess the effectiveness of their content in influencing user behavior and driving desired actions.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising Metrics

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising metrics are key performance indicators that measure the effectiveness and efficiency of PPC campaigns. These metrics provide insights into the performance, reach, and conversion potential of PPC ads.

Click-through rate (CTR)

The click-through rate measures the percentage of users who clicked on a PPC ad after viewing it. It indicates the relevance and appeal of the ad to the target audience. A higher CTR suggests that the ad copy, keywords, and targeting are effective in capturing the attention and interest of users.

Cost per click (CPC)

The cost per click measures the average amount paid for each click on a PPC ad. It reflects the cost efficiency of the campaign and helps businesses understand the financial investment required to generate traffic.

Monitoring the CPC allows businesses to optimize their PPC budget and ensure that they are getting the best return on investment.

Conversion rate from PPC

The conversion rate from PPC measures the percentage of users who complete a desired action, such as making a purchase or filling out a form, after clicking on a PPC ad. It reflects the effectiveness of the ad in driving conversions and achieving business goals.

Monitoring the conversion rate from PPC helps businesses assess the performance and profitability of their PPC campaigns and make informed decisions to improve results.

Errors to Avoid in Competitive Benchmarking Analysis

When conducting a competitive benchmarking analysis, it's important to be aware of potential errors that can compromise the accuracy and effectiveness of your findings. By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure more reliable and insightful benchmarking results.

  1. Biased or incomplete data collection: One of the most common errors is relying on biased or incomplete data. Ensure that you gather comprehensive and accurate data from multiple sources, including both internal and external data. Avoid cherry-picking data that only supports your preconceived notions or biases, as this can lead to misleading conclusions.
  2. Ignoring the context: Context is crucial in competitive benchmarking analysis. It's important to consider external factors, industry trends, and market conditions that may impact the performance of your competitors. Failing to account for these factors can result in inaccurate comparisons and unrealistic expectations. Always put the benchmarking results into the broader context to gain a more nuanced understanding of your competitors' performance.
  3. Overlooking qualitative factors: While quantitative metrics are essential in benchmarking, don't overlook the importance of qualitative factors. Customer feedback, user experience, brand reputation, and other qualitative aspects play a significant role in competitive success. Incorporate qualitative data into your analysis to gain a more holistic view of your competitors and identify areas for improvement.
  4. Lack of consistent and regular monitoring: Benchmarking is an ongoing process, and it's essential to regularly monitor and update your analysis. Failing to do so can result in outdated or irrelevant insights. Establish a consistent benchmarking schedule and methodology to ensure that you stay up-to-date with your competitors' performance and industry trends.

By avoiding these errors and adopting a systematic and comprehensive approach to competitive benchmarking analysis, you can derive more accurate insights and make better-informed decisions for your business.


Competitive benchmarking is a powerful tool for businesses to measure their performance and gain a competitive edge in the market. By analyzing key metrics and comparing them to industry rivals, businesses can identify areas of improvement, capitalize on strengths, and outperform their competitors.

To effectively analyze competitive benchmarking, it is recommended to leverage tools and technologies that simplify the process. These competitor benchmarking tools provide comprehensive data, automate data collection and analysis, and offer insightful reports.

By utilizing these tools, businesses can streamline their benchmarking efforts and gain actionable insights to improve their strategies and outperform their rivals.

FAQ on Competitive Benchmarking

When to use competitive benchmarking?

Competitive benchmarking can be used in various situations, including market entry, performance evaluation, product development, marketing strategies, and continuous improvement. It helps businesses gain insights into the competitive landscape, identify areas of improvement, and make informed decisions.

By analyzing competitors' performance, products, and strategies, businesses can stay competitive, adapt to market changes, and outperform rivals. The competitive benchmarking process is continuous that ensures businesses stay up-to-date and maintain their competitive advantage.

What is non-competitive benchmarking?

Non-competitive benchmarking, also known as generic benchmarking or functional benchmarking, is a process of comparing performance, practices, or processes of an organization with those of other industries or organizations that are not direct competitors.

Unlike competitive benchmarking, which focuses on comparing against direct competitors, non-competitive benchmarking looks beyond industry boundaries to gather insights and identify best practices that can be applied in a different context.

By benchmarking against non-competitors, organizations can identify alternative strategies, technologies, or processes that may not have been considered within their own industry. This broader scope of benchmarking can lead to innovation, increased productivity, and the development of new solutions to common problems.

How frequently should businesses do competitive benchmarking analysis?

The frequency of competitive benchmarking analysis can vary depending on the industry, the competitive landscape, and the specific objectives of the business. However, it is generally recommended to conduct competitive benchmarking analysis on a regular basis to stay informed and proactive in the market. Here are some common frequencies for businesses to consider:

  • Quarterly: Quarterly benchmarking analysis allows businesses to track competitor activities, market trends, and changes in customer preferences on a more frequent basis. This helps in identifying emerging opportunities or threats and making timely adjustments to strategies.
  • Biannually: Biannual benchmarking analysis provides a balance between staying updated and avoiding excessive time and resource commitment. It allows businesses to assess competitor performance, evaluate market dynamics, and adjust their strategies accordingly.
  • Annually: Annual benchmarking analysis is a minimum recommended frequency for businesses to gain insights into competitor strategies, industry trends, and customer behavior. It helps in assessing long-term performance and making strategic decisions for the upcoming year.

It's important to note that the frequency may vary depending on the industry dynamics and the pace of change within the market. Businesses operating in fast-changing industries or highly competitive markets may need to conduct benchmarking analysis more frequently to stay ahead.

Ultimately, the key is to find a balance between staying informed and dedicating sufficient resources to conduct thorough and meaningful benchmarking analysis. Regular monitoring and evaluation of the competitive landscape will enable businesses to make informed decisions, identify opportunities, and stay competitive in their industry.

What are the potential challenges and limitations of implementing a competitive benchmarking initiative?

​​Some potential challenges and limitations of implementing a competitive benchmarking initiative include:

  • Data availability: Obtaining accurate and relevant data about competitors can be challenging, as they may not openly share certain information.
  • Apples-to-apples comparison: Ensuring a fair and meaningful comparison between your business and competitors can be difficult due to differences in size, market positioning, and business models.
  • Lack of transparency: Competitors may intentionally hide or manipulate information, making it challenging to assess their performance accurately.
  • Contextual differences: Each business operates within a unique context, including market conditions and customer preferences, which may impact the applicability of benchmarking data.
  • Changing market dynamics: Industries and markets evolve quickly, making benchmarking data quickly outdated and requiring regular updates.
  • Over Reliance on benchmarking: Benchmarking should complement internal analysis and strategic thinking, rather than being the sole basis for decision-making.

Despite these challenges, competitive benchmarking can still provide valuable insights when approached with awareness of these limitations. It can help businesses identify areas for improvement and stay informed about market trends and competitors' strategies.

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