Existing products in your niche can be a valuable reference and source of inspiration.
Scout for products that are somehow related to your design goal. These could be products that solve the same problem or adopt a similar solution strategy. Create a structured overview of these products for example by clustering them into meaningful categories; creating a landscape of alternatives. Benchmarking may serve as a more extensive and neutral alternative to competitive analysis.
When designing an app that gives users personalised advice about new music artists, a benchmark shows information from similar websites or apps. The benchmark also compares solutions that give personalised advice about other topics, like books or travelling for example that could be inspiring.