The Modern Marketing Blog covers the latest in marketing strategy, technology, and innovation.

  • September 12, 2011

Benchmarking On and Off the Court

Adrian Chang
Customer Success Manager, Strategic Accounts

I’m an avid player and follower of tennis. In a previous life, I was also a Marketing Specialist at IBM focused solely on marketing and analytics across its sponsorship properties including PGA Tour, Cirque du Soleil, Super Bowl and Grand Slam Tennis where IBM served as a technology partner. So it’s exciting to see these two interests combined this year at the U.S. Open in the form of benchmarking.

I’ve followed many technological enhancements that have helped to bring fans closer to the sports over the years, such as the challenge system with Hawk-eye, the technology that tracks the trajectory of the ball and allows players to challenge line calls. When I last attended the U.S. Open in 2006, players could receive a DVD with a menu of their groundstrokes – both winners and errors off the serve, volley, forehand and backhand to assess their performance.

Five years later, fans can now get “Keys to the Match” for players who are competing head-to-head. The technology uses 5 years of benchmark data collected by IBM to better predict a player’s chance of winning based on how well they execute their game strategy.


For Santiago Giraldo, it could not have been easy to face 16-time Grand Slam Champion and 5-time U.S. Open Champion Roger Federer in the first round. However, for him and the fans following the sport, it was great to see benchmarks in place such as “winning more than 69% of points on his first serve” to determine whether or not he had a chance to get into the second round. Unfortunately for Giraldo, Federer surpassed his “Keys to the match” exceeding all three, hence making the win pretty much predictable as he cruised in straight sets 6-4, 6-3, 6-2.

Clearly, benchmarking is a vital component of perfecting a competitive advantage. It gives you the ability to identify your strengths and weaknesses, to adjust your strategy based on a competitor’s playbook and to find predictable patterns in the field that others miss.

Just like the tennis court, benchmarking in business has emerged as a vital component in the competitive b2b sales and  marketing cycles. Benchmarking helps you keep pace with trends in the market and to figure out how to beat it. Revenue growth can be more predictable and your investment in tools and process and improving them is similar to Roger’s investment in time on the practice court. If you are not currently on the path to benchmarking your performance, here are 5 things that you can do to get started:

1.     Visit Topliners for an Overview of Eloqua’s Revenue Lifecycle Benchmark and Assessment Tool;

2.     Review Eloqua’s benchmark reports – www.eloqua.com/benchmark and see where you stack up;

3.     If you’re an Eloqua customer, contact your Account Manager to get an All Access Education Pass to help you master key concepts related to growing your company revenue;

4.     Get started on your Eloqua Success Plan

5.     Check out this blog post by Jim Williams regarding how to beat the S&P 500?

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