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News Why email performance benchmarking is such a big deal for resorts.

screenshot of email benchmarking dashboard

photo of the author Gregg Blanchard

 Jul 28, 2020

With out new Email Performance Benchmarking Dashboard now being used by many of our clients, I followed up with Kurt Kinscherf, Inntopia’s Director of Customer Insights, to see how it’s going and why we’re so excited to release this tool.

Gregg: Let’s talk about benchmarking for a minute, Kurt. What is that one thing about benchmarking that gets your inner-nerd so excited?

Kurt: It’s even nerdier to say this, but I love everything about benchmarks. If you’re forcing me to choose one…

Gregg: I am.

Kurt: …then I’d have to say how insightful normal KPIs become once you know how they compare to companies like yours. Open rate goes from sort of interesting to fascinating.

It’s like running a race alone. If you run that race in 27 minutes, is that good? Is everyone else running it in 50 minutes or 15 minutes? Or are you right on pace? You don’t know because there’s no reference point. Benchmarking gives you that reference point.

Gregg: Which is especially true with email, right?

Kurt: Absolutely. Email has always been a bit of a black box. Most other marketing is fairly public. Take social media, for example. Posts are visible by anyone from anywhere and you can see view counts and like rates. Email, on the other hand, is only consumed on an individual’s own device in their own inbox.

Some email providers publish these big sweeping industry averages, but we have clients whose open rates are 3-4x those averages, so they’re not very telling.  

Gregg: Why aren’t other marketing CRMs or CDPs doing benchmarking?

Kurt: Pretty simple: they don’t have enough clients. I mean, they could do it, but the results wouldn’t be accurate because they’d either be comparing to a tiny comp set or to resorts or hotels that are very different from theirs. We have a very diverse group of users, but we also have enough that we can create representative and relevant comp sets for our clients. To the running analogy, it’s like age groups. If I compare myself to 18 year olds with healthy knees and nothing to do all day but train, that’s not very useful either. But other 40-ish year old dudes with day jobs? Now I’m starting to see how well I’m really doing.

Gregg: We’ve done a little benchmarking before, so how is this different?

Kurt: Right, we’ve published annual email performance averages each year for about a decade. The difference now is three-fold. First, these benchmarks are in a live dashboard right in your Inntopia Marketing Cloud account. There’s no need to wait until the end of the season to see how you’re doing. You can follow along in real-time.

screenshot of email benchmarking dashboard

Second, we’re benchmarking more KPIs. The most exciting is revenue per recipient which has become one of our clients’ favorite data points.

Third, the benchmarking dashboard is built on Microsoft Power BI. This platform allows you to dig into each KPI, each trend, and each comp set in some pretty mindblowing ways. You can even ask the dashboard questions in plain English and it will find the answer.

Gregg: I saw a demo of that and, yeah, mindblowing is the right word.

Kurt: Totally, but it’s important to note that while we love the automated aspect of things like Microsoft’s AI platform, we also wanted to be sure the comp sets within the dashboard were as accurate as possible. So those are actually hand-selected. We know these industries and clients better than anyone and we took the time to ensure every comp set was as representative and accurate as possible.

Gregg: That’s a great point. What’s the cost to this for a client?

Kurt: Out of the box, free with your account. If you want to do some more advanced stuff, there might be an extra fee. Bottom line, log into your account or reach out to your account manager and they’ll get you started. 

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