Are All Benchmarks The Same?

In life we don’t like to compare ourselves to others too much (at least we try not to) and we avoid FOMO (fear of missing out) via Facebook on a personal level. However, when it comes to our jobs, our own marketing effectiveness, performance and industry benchmarking…we want to learn more about our peers and comparisons are welcome. Marketers always strive to achieve better results, more conversions and increase velocity to drive more revenue. We also strive to better ourselves, our teams and our organization and that is why benchmarks and surveys are so important.

ANU_HomeButtonThe only problem with benchmarks and their data is that they must be relevant. If you are a tech start-up, do you care how a large manufacturing organization runs their marketing department or what their budget is for content marketing? Probably not. We can all learn from best practices and benchmarking surveys and reports share a great deal of that (favorites from industry content experts like Content Marketing Institute, MarketingProfs, Demand Gen Report, HubSpot and Kapost). However, it’s imperative you put stock into benchmarks and reports that are relevant to you, your industry, your segment and most importantly, your buyers.

That is why ANNUITAS launched our own annual Enterprise B2B Demand Generation Study in 2014. We realized the majority of studies we used to quote statistics, measure ourselves and our clients against focused on small to mid-size organizations, not large enterprises like our buyers. And, it’s all about our buyer so we decided to do it ourselves. A section on the study focuses on Content Marketing Strategy and that ties into why we are giving away a free pass to Content Marketing World 2015 for one lucky person who completes the survey. An event like #CMWorld is a great resource for our buyers and every marketer can appreciate a free pass.

We learned a great deal in conducting two large surveys. First of all, it’s not as easy or as quick as you would think to create the survey, gain responses, analyze results and then develop the final report. There are many things to consider when developing a survey, but here are a few tips to help make the process a little easier:

  • Document your strategy – It is easy to get down in the weeds and forget the purpose of the survey. Document your goals and objectives and limit questions to those that support the objective. Focus. You can always ask less critical, follow-up questions via a webinar or email after survey completion.
  • Simplify – Don’t ask too many open-ended or complicated questions. Make survey engagement and completion easy to minimize abandonment rates and incompletes. Use radio buttons and simple rating scales—don’t ask people to rate scale of importance of more than 10 (even that might be pushing it). According to PewReseachCenter, limiting answer choices to four or at most five is recommended for most questions and especially for phone surveys.
  • Focus on your buyers – As always, make this content about your buyers. What are issues facing your audience specifically? What nuances make this survey unique? This only leads to better insight into your buyers and allows for detailed follow-on content.

The success of your survey is measured by the insight you gain from responses, but also in how well you utilize the research. A survey can and should be a cornerstone piece of content – make sure to maximize it and aim to have impact your buyers and help guide others in the industry.

Please help us complete our 2015 B2B Enterprise Demand Generation Survey by taking it today. Fill out the form to receive a copy of the results and be entered to win a free pass to Content Marketing World this September.

Author: Erika Goldwater CIPP/US @erikawg VP, Marketing, ANNUITAS

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