May 17, 2020


SMW employees


They know that the participants in a session got what they needed when they called them "the best support group" in chat. And Senior strategist Casper Vahlgren definitely understands why support may be needed for those who do this work. "We have a huge amount of data available that can be exhausting and overwhelming."

In "Using Benchmarking To Inform Your Social Strategy" during #SMWONE Vahlgren combined his considerable knowledge with actionable advice and suggested exercises to reduce the depth of the pool, in which many feel like they are drowning.

Here are the key findings and insights:

  • Go to the room where very few seem to be
  • Don't overlook the insights from unsuccessful campaigns
  • Focus on the markets where sales are outperformed by the size of the current audience

Position where there is potential

For many who design a social strategy, the prospect of how best to use the budget can seem difficult. External parties always want to weigh things up, and even if the decisions are left to us, it is not always easy to figure out what to do. Vahlgren offered a key figure-based and well-thought-out decision: benchmarking as a guide for the potential of markets compared to those that may be saturated or deadlocked for your brand.

Vahlgren recommended that the three market states be viewed side by side and that energy and budget be concentrated on markets in which the potential audience and sales are exceeded by the size of the current audience. There you have room to grow, he emphasizes, and that is where you should invest your time and money accordingly. This will not always lead to the large multi-channel campaigns that competitors may run, but it will be the best and most efficient use of your time.

Working in the empty space

In Vahlgren's lecture there was a unified theme of the economy. Another example came when he answered the question of how to use benchmarking as a tool to stand out in your industry. His answer? Work in space. He means to draw the results of your benchmarking data on an axis-based visual map. Do your competitors tend to use your product or service in an accessible or desirable way? Does your content come from a place of observation (we make your life easier) or sweat (we make it easy for you to work hard)? And what matters is which place on the map is clear and clear?

To stand out, Vahlgren noted, you should go to the room that seems to be very few and go there. Position your brand so that it differs from the busiest places on the map. Distinguish your tone, your visual signatures and your content topics. As soon as you are authentically there, the customers who have not seen themselves from your competitors' approach can see themselves in and with you.

Beware of bias

Vahlgren initially warned the audience that there would be some curses, and he kept that promise with his last exploratory question in the lecture: "How can I not screw this up?" His answer: Beware of prejudices that you may bring into the data.

As an example, he shared maps of World War II fighter jets that returned to the airfields, shot up, but ultimately still airworthy. These planes have been studied in depth to determine where additional armor needs to be added to make them safer for future missions … until someone pointed out a neglected argument: shouldn't we also think about the planes that didn't make it back? ? The lesson: While we usually focus our learning and future actions on the successes that benchmarking achieves, we can learn at least as much from the campaigns that are not going well. But no matter where we get our lessons from, Vahlgren encourages us to ask why … a lot. "If you've asked why five times, you've probably found the right answer. Keep asking why."

While Vahlgren raises a number of questions in his session, this may be the most important one that social media strategists need to ask when starting their benchmarking efforts. With a solid, unbiased, and well-informed "Why?" In light of this, chat boxes shared by these professionals will hopefully change from places with calls for support to places with success stories.

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