One of the most important questions you need to ask yourself is which type of benchmarking structure will work best for your business...
Create Valuable Market Reports and Communicate Results
One of the biggest challenges in our experience for most associations is providing market reports and effectively communicating the results from their benchmarking efforts to businesses. While to the untrained professional this shouldn’t be much of a challenge the fact is that most associations are failing at this very aspect of assisting their members.
In this article, we will discuss market reports and the best way to communicate results to member businesses. If anything, this article does not intend to stifle any other creative and more effective methods. It is meant to help associations take these significant steps with confidence.
Drafting a Market Report
Drafting a market report can be challenging. However, you don’t have to dive too deep into the nitty-gritty. The report can have a certain level of depth but with a thorough analysis of the market. Start by laying out questions. Each question can be discussed on a single page and then decide which tables and or graphs can best encompass all the figures visually.
Try to combine things like data points, questions, and key performance items which are related to each other on the same number of pages. Also, explain why there is a variance between various periods and even between reference groups. You can also use various other types of data from many different sources.
You then round off the market report with an insightful and encompassing summary. The summary can be promotional or be used for advocacy. It should also include the data provided by your participants. The best way to create any market summary in our experience is with an infographic. Nothing encompasses a set of ideas better than an infographic.
Using infographics are a fun way to communicate data related information, provides an easy method to communicate with third parties and focus on the value of the outcome. The infographic can surmise the content and all the outcomes on a single page. However, we still advise that you use large numbers, pictures, graphs, tables, and other visual aids. But there is a certain power to using a picture especially one that’s tailored to encompass an entire story into one large graphical piece. Plus it has been shown that people tend to remember graphical pieces or infographics better and quicker than regular wordy documents.
Tip: The market report does not have to be button down and formal. It can tell a story. That story is always going to be memorable. Sure, it won’t be professional, but members will find it useful, and that should be the goal of any report.
Infographics make for excellent summaries of market reports if they are done right. Plus, if there is an associated press release that too can be spruced up with an infographic. Infographics have been proven to be highly effective at communicating valuable data and marketing the association as well as the benchmarking results. So, it is a proverbial double whammy!
Finally, the management summary can also be surmised with a professional infographic. However, it can also be laid out as a story but by keeping it simple. Use small, easy to understand data sets which can quickly be scanned, and understood.
Communicating the Results
Once the market report has been drafted and ready the next step is to publish it. You will at least want to send it to members who have participated in benchmarking. These members would get both the market report and a customized report. If you are using an online benchmarking survey tool, the market report can be included in the system allowing the participants to download it with the click of a button.
However, you’ll need to decide who else gets the summary and market report. Do you want it to be published outside of the association? Will your members agree to the information being widely published? Are they any non-participants who may be interested in the report and will they be willing to pay? Can it be downloaded for a fee by everyone, even businesses who are not members of the association? All of these questions have to be answered both in light of the association’s monetary policy and what member businesses find acceptable.
Tip: Some associations may benefit from asking members for a small fee to participate in benchmarking, and for them, the results/reports will be free. Those that participate for free will pay for the results. The best way to know which one will work is to split test both strategies.
Create a Press Release
Make sure to create a press release which will include the overall results and have a summary. However, the trick here is to choose a reputable press release agency, one with the broadest distribution network. Plus, publish it on your own website and magazine.
The reason why we recommend a press release is because it will help you make a lot of noise about benchmarking. It will also prompt non-members and those that didn’t participate to either become members or if they already are members then start participating. All of this tie into making your next benchmarking effort even more successful.
Market reports, press releases announcing that the reports are out and communicating the results from the benchmarking effort are all keys to improving the industry as a whole. Each individual business is a part of the industry, and when a company has the required information to grow and compete, it does the industry a whole lot of good.
A growing or budding industry means more members for an association which translates to more money, more benchmarking and more exposure. So, it is a win-win situation even when you use benchmarking as the primary tool to help each individual member business grow.
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