Pros and Cons of Industry Benchmarks

March 13, 2019

We humans naturally have a fear of the unknown, right? We all react to being outside of our comfort zone differently. Some might get quiet, some might get chatty, others might get downright angry. These reactions are rooted in the fear of answering the question, “Will this really work?”

For many businesses, competitive analysis is meant to ease this natural fear and minimize risk. For years, marketing departments have used industry benchmarks as a reference for comparison. Pitching an idea and then following it up with an assessment of businesses who have successfully done something similar has allowed many creative ideas to move forward and become successful.

What is an industry benchmark?

A benchmark is a reference point that is used for comparison. Industry benchmarks allow your business to assess a product, service, or process in comparison to others in your category, or even internally across departments. This method is not only a great way to see the path ahead, but it can also force you to think strategically.

What are the pros and cons of industry benchmarks?

There are always two sides to every story, and industry benchmarking is no different. To determine whether it’s a good idea to look at benchmarks, it might take an inward focus on what your company values. If innovation is in your wheelhouse, tread lightly. If family is big for you, it might not make a difference either way.

Pro: Competitive benchmarking can help you gauge if you’re heading the right direction.

Con: You may put up imaginary boundaries that could stunt innovative thinking.


Pro: Internal benchmarking allows you to repurpose something without reinventing the wheel.

Con: You could miss out on a better solution.


Pro: Competitive research can get the creative juices flowing.

Con: It can also be a distraction and lead to a tangent in your creative process.


Pro: It can give you an idea of what your competitors are doing.

Con: Comparison can lead you to feel hung up on the success of your competitors.


Pro: Industry benchmarks can help with budget projections.

Con: If done too soon, it can raise more questions than answers.

Charting new territory through creative marketing is the end all be all for us as an agency. We’re not setting out to blend in will all the other agencies, we’re here to stand out. Forward-thinking and innovative, we’re all about using industry benchmarks, but with a few caveats. At the end of the day, our best ideas are the ones that have never been done before.