Audits in marketing should be performed from time to time – for example once a year or once a quarter depending on your marketing campaigns and business dynamics.
While this evaluation can be conducted by internal members of your company in many cases it is useful and more effective to hire an external marketing consultant to bring a fresh and realistic perspective to the table.
When your marketing is not working as successfully as you would like, the audit can spot areas for improvements, while when your marketing is profitable and effective the audit can help you take your marketing to the next level and maximize the benefits of your existing marketing approaches. So marketing audit should be used by any company regardless of how successful its marketing is – it will always bring some improvements to the organization.
In addition, it is useful to compare your performance with the performance of your competitors and other companies from various industries in order to develop some new and better approaches to sales, advertising, promotion, PR and marketing in general.
This type of thinking should be incorporated into your marketing planning process – your new marketing plan should always start with conducting a marketing audit first and identifying the strengths, weaknesses and potential opportunities for improvement.
Here are some important steps for your marketing audit:
- The single most important point in marketing audit is the evaluation of the marketing effectiveness in terms of the fit between the overall business strategy and the marketing performance. Is your marketing aligned with your overall goals and objectives? As your business strategy changes the marketing strategy and tactics must change as well. As your overall performance targets change so the marketing performance targets must change.
- After the fit assessment or the gap analysis between company’s and marketing targets and performance is done, next the marketing initiatives should be evaluated: all the marketing campaigns and tactics used in your process. What measures are used is as important as it is important what campaigns and tactics are used. Marketing KPIs and metrics must be developed to reflect your business strategy.
- In terms of continuous improvement on marketing there should be a way to periodically evaluate performance and improve the marketing as well as the sales results. Some type of ongoing marketing reporting system must be in place in order to be able to track and monitor performance at anytime. The marketing KPIs from step 2 should be effectively incorporated into your marketing reports.
Here is a simple marketing audit checklist and the components which should be taken into consideration:
- The latest developments in the general environment (social, economical, politics, technology, demographics…).
- Customer analysis – segmentation overview and evaluation of the latest changes in the customer base, prospecting trends and new opportunities to acquire and retain your core customers.
- Partners and supply chain analysis – can we improve the supply chain and marketing to improve overall performance? Evaluation and SWOT analysis of your vendors, distributors, suppliers, partners… and the way your supply chain currently performs.
- Assessment of your product/service portfolio – how strong our offering and value proposition are in the marketplace compared to competitors and other potential alternatives? What is the ratio of value vs cost for our products and services? Is pricing at the right level to support the business strategy?
As a conclusion, the marketing audit will help you better position your company in the market and improve the ROI on your marketing. External analysis reveals the threats and opportunities and the general trends in the environment, while the internal analysis will evaluate your current best practices, capabilities and your portfolio of products and services. This type of analysis and evaluation will always guide you to identify potential improvements in your marketing performance.