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The Social Benchmark

by Randall Craig on April 12, 2011

Filed in: Blog, Business Development, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Management, Strategy

Tagged as: , ,

In your professional field, who is the best at what they do? Chances are, you didn’t name yourself. This is not surprising – between personal modesty, and our competitive instinct to look over our shoulders, we will usually make the comparison to others.

Management experts will tell you this is wrong; that the correct approach is to focus on the customer:  if you meet your customer’s needs, then all will be well.  They are correct, but there is a powerful benefit to comparing yourself to your competitors: you gain insights into the market from a completely different perspective. You can examine their service approach – and possibly glean some insights that will make you even better.

In fact, the quest to be the best can only happen when you incorporate the best ideas – no matter the source.  This practice is called Benchmarking. It is useful in strategy, in marketing, in Social Media, and even on a personal level.  Disregarding (or ignoring) great ideas just because they come from competitors, junior members of the team, or from the web is silly.

This week’s action plan: Whatever task you are doing this week, take a minute to do some benchmarking: First, choose your comparators. Then find out what they’re doing. Finally, extract what is applicable, and make it your own.

Additional Insight: A common problem occurs when you choose the wrong comparators. Merely comparing yourself against the usual (and often average) suspects means a usual and average result.

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Randall Craig

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Randall has been advising on Web and Social Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of seven books, including the recently released "Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business", and speaks across North America on Social Media and Web Strategy. More at and

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