Benchmarking – the “how am I doing?” of the reporting world. As member organizations strive for a way to add “value” for their members, something they can’t get through a Google search, benchmarking is gaining in popularity and software has made it easier and less costly than ever before.
As an association, for instance, your industry data repository is impressive. Who else has a better notion of what like-minded professionals do, earn and think? Your member resources are invaluable as you can provide an individual member up-to-date information on an entire industry — information they can not come by on their own. Sure, there are repositories and reports that can be accessed through search but nothing that speaks specifically to your individual members the way a benchmarking report can.
For instance, a marketing association can survey its membership to find out what vice presidents of marketing in New York City earn; how much their departmental budget is; and the components of their marketing mix. They can marry that with information on total company earnings and number of employees. Now the marketing association can produce a report detailing the average wage earned, dollars spent and where for their members. This benchmarking report allows members to compare their company with like-sized companies and figure out where they stand.
Benchmarking does several things for member-centric organizations:
1. Capitalizes on industry knowledge. This is information that is not available to members on their own. The member organization has the power of numbers and can compile and aggregate data in a way that would be very difficult and time consuming for an individual.
2. Provides a non-dues based form of revenue. Members (and non-members) will pay for the ease and uniqueness of this information.
3. Furthers and promotes the group. With the continued circulation of a benchmarking report, your organization’s name is furthered as an industry leader and go-to point for industry information. Extending your reach to a new audience may contribute to an increase in membership.
Benchmarking reports can be exceptionally labor intensive by creating, developing and circulating a survey; enticing members to complete it; ensuring you have an accurate representation of your membership; culling the data and publishing the results or you could select a membership management provider who offers benchmarking as a feature. Either way benchmarking is a great way to offer something that only you have. The data contained in a benchmarking survey reminds your audience of the knowledge-base you possess and the value you bring to their lives.