What is a marketing audit and why is it necessary?
A marketing audit is a check-up for the marketing side of your business. It’s the opportunity to identify any issues with marketing strategy, process and implementation that could be causing problems now – and which could be costly in the future. A regular marketing audit is necessary for a number of reasons:
- A better understanding of what works and what doesn’t. This kind of insight is invaluable when it comes to making future decisions about strategy and spend. If you know which channels (such as social media) and tactics work best for you then you won’t waste precious resources.
- Quantifiable marketing. Measuring ROI on marketing is notoriously difficult but a regular audit means you begin to measure success in terms of data that can be compared – to the competition and to previous years. That provides the opportunity to make much better informed decisions and establish definitively whether goals and objectives are being met.
- You’re more likely to reach your objectives. A marketing audit – and the data you generate – means you’re not working with guesstimates when it comes to reaching targets and goals but with numbers and data that you can actually use to map out achievable steps to success. This means a better, more precise marketing strategy that generates real results.
The key stages in a marketing audit
- Timing. A marketing audit shouldn’t be a crisis response – before you kick off your marketing for the first time is an ideal moment to audit, or you can stick to an audit once a year.
- Define the terms of the audit. Is this an audit of a single campaign, one channel or all of your efforts? What are the objectives of the audit and who are the stakeholders who will be involved in it?
- Establish the context of your business. It’s useful to delve into your competitors’ marketing, as well as the current industry climate, when you begin the research stage of your marketing audit to provide some context to the data you collect about your own business.
- The internal data. Start with a list of all your marketing platforms and collateral (e.g. social media, website, and newsletter) and then gather key metrics for each one. You can look at tactics, budgets, goals and audience for each, as well as the tools you have in place for tracking and measuring.
- Analyse your findings. For example, you might want to check the performance data that you have from Google Analytics on your website against industry benchmarks to gain a better understanding of where improvements could be made.
- Create a plan of attack. A good marketing audit should generate both short and long-term recommendations and a detailed list of next steps to take towards achieving them.
A sound marketing audit is the first step for any business looking to understand its current marketing performance and position. From there, it’s possible to redefine marketing strategy to optimise marketing efforts for success.