Measuring Against Industry Average – Should You Do It?

Do you ever wonder how you stack up against your competition and/or your peers?  You can’t answer that question with a “no” without lying.  We all do it, it’s totally normal.  But is it healthy?

I had a brief but interesting conversation about this very question with a great client of ours this week.

A few key thoughts (disclaimer: some not complete) that I took away from this particular chat…

1.  It’s more important to measure your own progress instead of someone else’s.  Does Amazon.com’s outrageous conversion rate really mean anything to your business?  Perhaps a better practice is to make note of where your conversion rate is and take steps to continuously improve against that benchmark?

2.  It’s not necessarily a bad thing to look at industry averages for setting your own goals providing that industry averages are realistic.  By realistic I mean they aren’t based on large company numbers only, but rather companies of similar size and capabilities to your own.

3. Industry average is exactly that, an average.  They aren’t the rule.  They are points of reference and shouldn’t be treated as anything more in most cases.

4. Sometimes,  industry / competitor numbers are really nice to look at.  If nothing else they can be fun and even motivational.  I know I get some of my drive by seeing what my competition is doing and understanding that it’s actually possible!