How to Conduct a Successful Marketing Audit For Your Business
Last update: 13 April 2023 at 12:46 pm
Every business needs a marketing strategy to expand its outreach and grow its business. Once a company has established marketing goals and objectives, it needs to assess how well the marketing plan is functioning. This is where a marketing audit comes in.
A marketing audit analyses all the necessary components of marketing strategies which include both external and internal environments of the marketing efforts.
It acts as a useful tool for the marketing team to have insight into the outreach, ideal target audience, competition, weaknesses, and opportunities.
Whether your business is small or big, a marketing audit is a necessary regular procedure that should be incorporated into your marketing mix as a way comprehensive method to measure and adapt your marketing activities for optimal results.
What is the Purpose of a Marketing Audit?
A marketing audit essentially collects all the data from your marketing department to periodically assess what is working and what has missed the mark. It is a way to discover a newfound perspective for strengthening your overall brand, outreach, and lead generation through dissecting and reassembling your marketing plan.
An audit of your marketing performance provides an in-depth understanding of your marketing team and operations. It is a powerful business tool that offers a comprehensive evaluation of the weaknesses and strengths of the department in its entirety to:
- and implement new marketing objectives.
The ultimate aim: make sure that all the factors of your marketing environment align with your initial goals and objectives.
What are the Four Characteristics of a Marketing Audit?
There are specific characteristics of a marketing audit to ensure that it is successful and offers effective solutions for the current marketing environment of your company’s industry. An audit will take a closer look at what your business aims to achieve from its marketing strategy and pave the most effective route to arrive.
Initiating an audit also benefits the department if any problems occur. By investing efforts into an audit, the best possible solutions, ideas, and strategies can be formulated to realign the goals and accomplish the correct marketing functions.
1. A Comprehensive
Firstly, marketing audits should be comprehensive. This means that it should be the umbrella over all of your marketing functions.
A full-scale audit takes a look at the external, internal, and marketing environments of your business. It shouldn’t zone in on a specific area that is problematic or one that is thriving, but rather be an all-inclusive method of analyzing all the components.
Secondly, the audit should be systematic. The audit should include a step-by-step process of all the strategies, goals, operations, and influences of your marketing department. A successful audit ensures that all factors are accounted for, and the process runs smoothly and efficiently.
Thirdly, the audit should be conducted independently. This means that the team that determined and developed the marketing strategy shouldn’t be involved during the process of the audit. An internal team may have biases that could negatively impact the outcome of the audit.
Selecting a third party to audit will provide a neutral perspective and ‘fresh eyes’ which could positively impact the process. An outsider audit provides your internal department with non-bias suggestions and expert solutions for favorable outcomes.
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Finally, an audit should be conducted periodically. There is a misconception for some businesses that audits are only necessary when a problem has arisen or a campaign isn’t working. However, to successfully promote your products and services, an audit should be a prerequisite to the company’s marketing strategies and regularly done every year or two.
What are the Three Elements of a Marketing Audit?
There are three main elements of a marketing audit for a successful process. A comprehensive audit requires rigorous insight into the external environment that could influence the business, the internal environment of the organization, and the marketing strategies. These three elements are used as categories to conduct different types of audits to develop a comprehensive audit report.
1. The External Factors
The external factors involve current affairs of the world such as political, cultural, environmental, demographic, and economic factors that affect the. This type of audit looks at the macro-environment to assess the consumer’s habits and the competition’s strategies and how these factors influence the business marketing environment.
2. The Marketing Strategy
The marketing strategy audit analyzes and collects all the components of the marketing department. This type of audit gathers information regarding the communication channels, like social media and digital channels, and the overall effectiveness of the current marketing plan in place.
The data collected from this marketing productivity audit is measurable which can give a clear indication of what is working and what needs adjustments post-audit.
3. The Marketing Team
This type of audit assesses the internal factors of the business that affect the overall strategy. It analyses the micro-environment within by looking at the efficiency of the team running the department, the marketing budget, the resources used, internal communication channels, and the overall competency of the department.
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Who Should Do the Audit Process?
One of the four characteristics of the audit is that it should be conducted independently. However, some businesses do have a self-audit process to focus on effective solutions within the internal structures of the organization.
That being said, an outside auditing team will focus on analyzing every detail of your department and offer a new perspective into core systems that the team may have missed. They will also identify areas where weaknesses and opportunities exist within the strategy to bring about positive critique and successful adjustments.
You can start by taking a look at a qualified digital marketing agency to help you with your audit.
How to Conduct A Marketing Audit
The four characteristics and three elements of a marketing audit give you a broad overview and a basic template to conduct the audit. Thereafter, each business should set out the audit to align with their industry, specific products and services, and ultimate goals.
For instance, whether you use digital marketing or traditional marketing, your audit will differ slightly according to the different data collection and communication channels used. However, there are a few key components that should be included in most audits.
1. Begin with an Inventory of Your Marketing Efforts
The first step is data collection. An inventory of all three elements will be gathered by the auditing team to systematically organize the essential factors that influence your business goals.
The data collected will be all your marketing assets such as branding, business goals, social media channels, the site health of your websites, the persona of your ideal audience, and what the competition is doing.
This step is the most time-consuming part of the process because it requires each aspect individually. The best way to conduct the inventory is by separating each marketing effort according to categories. For example, separate each social media channel and collect individual data like follows, likes, shares, and click-through rate.
2. Data Analysis
Once all the data is collected, it needs to be analyzed. There are business tools that can be used to measure, compare, and analyze all the data. A SWOT analysis can be done to get a whole perspective of where opportunities and threats lie.
There are also many digital tools that can assess how the different communication channels are doing. This can provide insight into what channels aren’t a good fit for your business or other channels that would promote the business better.
3. Discover Insights for the Audit
Now that all the data has been analyzed, the auditing team compiles a marketing audit report with extensive insights into the marketing program and core systems.
There may be specific problems with the website or the words that are used on social media. These mishaps pointed out by the audit offer a readjustment for improved outreach, communication, and consumer engagement.
The department can use this report to discuss and plan to actively adjust, correct, and realign the marketing goals to align with the company’s needs to grow.
4. Align Your Marketing Goals
The audit lays out the big picture of the company’s marketing department and performance. This can help create a clear path for the company to realign its goals and objectives to determine a new marketing plan and receive beneficial results.
5. Implement Marketing Soloutions Post-Audit
At the last stage of the audit, the department allocates the necessary actionable duties to the appropriate team members and each member rectifies, adjusts, and implements according to the new marketing plan.
When Does My Business Need to Conduct a Marketing Audit?
Every business should invest the time and finances into one. No matter how small or big your business is, marketing is an essential division of the success of your business, and an audit ensures that you are following the right avenues to accomplish your goals.
How Often Should a Business Conduct Audits?
A business should initiate a marketing audit at least every 12 months. The current market is constantly changing according to digital advancements and fast-paced communication channels. So, it is better to evaluate your marketing goals and objectives regularly to remain relevant and attractive to your consumer group.
A marketing audit gives your business the opportunity to recognize the weaknesses and strengths of your marketing efforts to find improvements and solutions.
Overall, outsourcing your marketing in general, or for an audit, offers you marketing professionals that will accurately help you to assess your marketing tasks and come up with new ideas for a stronger marketing strategy.