Using Benchmarks to Win More Business Pt. 1 (S1-E007-01)

Written by PortMA

Using Benchmarks to Win More Business Pt. 1 (S1-E007-01)

I’d like to share with you how to design a winning campaign and find the right consumer. We know the best predictor of the future is the past. This starts with benchmarks.

When we can plan based on a well-organized set of data that benchmarks this history, we can then create a campaign that’ll get it right more often from the start. So, you’re moving your marketing downriver faster when you’re developing a campaign that is based on a good archive database of the past.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Develop a Message-to-Market Match

A benchmarking database is an excellent tool to develop a campaign. It’s going to allow you to project and exceed the expectation of the stakeholders, whoever that may be for you. It starts with being able to find the right consumer.

Marketing is about creating a compelling message and delivering that message to the consumer target most ready to hear it. We talked about this idea of the Message-to-Market Match in other posts. This is why brands develop consumer profiles. As a marketer, your program will deliver when it reaches the right consumer. In many cases, it’s really that simple.

The idea of the Message to Market Match starts with identifying the best places to reach the right type of people. When you have access to a benchmarking database that has archived this from historical performance, you can evaluate how different venue types trend for different demographic profiles, different ages, different genders, and different lifestyle matches.

Applying Benchmarks

For example, if you’re developing an adult beverage campaign with messaging designed to appeal to men over the age of 45, should you focus on on-premise, which would be bars, clubs, et cetera, or would you focus on off-premise activations like grocery or liquor stores?

You might consult your benchmarking database and review the venue type by gender and age. You would see that on-premise tends to skew toward females (if it’s not a 50/50 mix) and tends to skew younger. Whereas off-premise tends to skew more towards men and older generations.

With this information in hand, you can develop an off-premise heavy campaign strategy and you can defend your decisions to stakeholders based on the volume of data that you’re benchmarking those decisions on. It’ll get you to the target more often the first time and will generate a stronger overall campaign.

(You can listen to the full episode of the podcast below.)

The Marketer’s Dilemma

There is a tradeoff between event size versus event frequency (number of event days). We know big events are expensive. They often come with hefty venue fees, or over-promised high impressions and more intercepts because of the greater foot traffic.

On the other hand, street intercepts and some retail activations are more nimble. They’re much less expensive and they bring a reliable level of foot traffic (be it less) with some consumer targeting capabilities.

When you’re thinking about these two, every experiential marketer knows that there’s a struggle. And when you’re designing a campaign, you’ve got to figure out between the smaller street intercept activation days versus the larger destination activation days, like street fairs or sporting events.

The question is: Should the smart marketer do smaller, less expensive street intercepts or pay those venue fees to attend the state fair?

Comparing Activation Types

That smart marketer might also think about focusing on a middle option, or consider a music festival, for example. A good benchmarking database will answer the question for you, specifically.

The answer will always have to do with this trade-off between efficiencies and costs. Let me give you some examples:

Let’s say you consult your benchmarking database and you find out that a state fair within a particular product category, at a particular product price point (or within one market versus another), is going to average 880 engagements per day at an average cost of $7,500 per day. So you narrow that down and you standardize it to $8.52 per engagement.

$7500 / 880 = $8.52 per engagement

The retail intercept actually might not be all that different because you might see that you’re having an average of 144 engagements per day, and it’s a typical cost of maybe $1,250 per day. When you do that math, you realize that those engagements at retail are costing you about $8.68 per engagement.

$1250 / 144 = $8.68 per engagement

The benchmarking database might report to you that the music festivals are averaging around 610 engagements per day with typical costs of $4,200. At $6.88 per engagement, we can see that music festivals are almost a full $2 less per engagement.

$4200 / 610 = $6.88 per engagement

As long as that venue is the right demographic fit for the consumer target, the music festival might be your most efficient option. We’re not saying you should focus exclusively on music festivals. But, in this scenario, you should probably go heavy with that activation type as much as it is available to you.

The Power of Benchmarks

This is just an example of how a good benchmarking database is going to allow you to explore different types of venues. It allows you to explore quality versus quantity and quantity versus efficiency. You can assess the type of decisions you have to make.

Now you know how a good benchmarking database is going to be a venue research tool that allows you to discover routing plans and a data-driven strategy. Benchmarks are going to deliver the best outcome for your client and your stakeholders. The people you’re delivering it to will see the best results.

You’re moving your marketing downriver faster when you’re developing a campaign that is based on a good archive database of the past.

You’re using data to make smarter decisions and develop a winning campaign. We can design winning campaigns with well-organized data. We find the right consumers and deal with this event size versus event frequency trade-off problem.

Next time, we’ll discuss how you can use this database to sell to stakeholders.

Further Reading

Additional Resources


  • Experiential Measurement Blueprint
  • Event Impression Calculator
  • Experiential ROI Benchmarking Reports
  • Event Measurement Video Tutorials
Click for Additional Resources