How a Marketing Audit Can Enhance Your Business Strategy

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Moving forward is a funny thing. You want to leave the past behind, but you still have to look back now and then to guide you and determine how far you’ve come. The world of marketing is like that. While constant improvement is the goal, you have to assess what you’ve done in the past to create new strategies for the future. Regular marketing audits can help with that.

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What is a marketing audit?

A marketing audit consists of a full-scale review of a business’ marketing plan, including its:

  • Objectives
  • Strategies
  • Activities

The goal of a marketing audit is to determine what’s working and what’s not. This will help you to allocate resources moving forward. A marketing audit can be performed by an in-house individual or team, but you may get a more objective perspective by hiring a third-party provider.

Here are four reasons to conduct a marketing audit:

  1. A marketing audit will give everyone an opportunity to step back and remember why certain strategies and campaigns were launched in the first place. Revisiting the big picture will clarify the smaller steps that need to be taken.
  2. By clearing away the strategies that aren’t working, there will be more room to try new strategies.
  3. Checking out what the competition is doing gives you the chance to do it better or to fill in the gaps they’re missing.
  4. You’ll maximize your marketing budget by only paying for the strategies that work.

This is easy to confuse with a content audit, which is when a website’s content (articles, blog posts, and website page copy) is gathered and evaluated. While content is often part of marketing, content audits and marketing audits are different — though both types should be conducted on a regular basis.

Setting marketing objectives

There are numerous insights a marketing audit can give you. The aspects you opt to analyze and dig into depend on your current goals. For example, maybe you use Instagram for marketing, but for the past three months you’ve been focusing on creating Stories instead of content for your regular feed. Right now, your marketing audit would track the growth and engagement of Stories — it would be a waste to analyze the regular feed too much since you already know you’re not putting marketing energy there.

A marketing audit is only as good as the marketing objectives you’ve set. If you’ve set objective A but your team has been working on objective B for some reason, or your marketing audit looks at the results for objective C (which you haven’t fully launched yet), the insights you get will be mismatched to the work the team is putting forward. Clearly define your objectives, communicate them to the team, and ensure that the marketing audit tracks those specific goals.

3 components of a marketing audit

Within the marketing audit are sub-audits. These include:

  • Environmental
  • Strategic
  • Organizational

Each sub-audit has its own set of benefits for the business.

Environmental audit

In an environmental audit, the business’ customers and competitors are analyzed. Questions to answer include:

  • What are the customers’ demographics?
  • What are the customers’ buying habits?
  • What are your competitors doing in their marketing?
  • What is the pulse of the industry you’re in?

You may assume that you already know these answers, but this information can change over time based on factors like the seasons or trends. During an environmental audit, you can also discover where your brand has been mentioned and consider customer reviews and ratings.

Strategic audit

In a strategic audit, current marketing strategies are analyzed to uncover what’s performing well and can be boosted even more, as well as which ones are performing poorly and need to be changed or abandoned. Marketing objectives will be reassessed to ensure they’re still appropriate for the business. These insights are easy to measure because they focus on:

  • Hard numbers regarding rankings
  • Click-through rates
  • Conversion rates

Organizational audit

In an organizational audit, resources and the marketing department are looked at closely. Resources include:

  • Finances
  • Equipment
  • Production
  • Labor

The marketing team will be under a microscope at this time as well, and their revenue will be analyzed.

There are all sorts of tools to help gather and analyze data for your marketing audit. For example, for branding (brand mentions, customer ratings, customer reviews), you can set up Google Alerts. For SEO, you can use Google Analytics. SEMrush is great for competitor analysis, and most social media platforms have robust stats built-in.

When you’re first launching a marketing strategy, everything might feel like a challenge. Once you settle into it, though, it’s easy to get comfortable — the hard work is over, right? Not exactly. Smart businesses schedule marketing audits on a regular basis, at least once a year. In order to keep the momentum going and continue to make a splash with your audience, you have to regularly revisit and tweak your marketing strategy.

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