If you are a newbie to the marketing field, you may ask yourself: “What is a marketing audit?”, “How to conduct a marketing audit on my own?” or "Is it about taxes and stress like when receiving an HMRC audit?" Please don't worry; marketing audits are far less pressure and stress.
To thrive, businesses need lots of thought and concentration, and regular marketing audits are necessary to maintain the flow of the blood.
By the time you have completed reading this post, you will have a good understanding of a marketing audit's components and the steps you can take to conduct a marketing audit yourself.
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What is a Marketing Audit?
A marketing audit is a comprehensive, systematic analysis of an organization's internal and external business marketing environment. This addresses the goals, objectives, strategies, and principles of the company to determine any issues or opportunities for improvement, and proposes a plan of action that perfectly fits the business requirements.
From the beginning, you may wonder why a marketing audit is even required. Well, a marketing audit is an extremely valuable tool that can be used by marketers to better understand the existing marketing environment available, develop a unique marketing strategy, and address any underlying problems that might occur during the audit process.
With a marketing audit, management can gain an in-depth view of the business' marketing activities. Thus, they can assess the performance, budget, and resources available to the department in general. A well-conducted marketing audit should highlight areas with excellent performance and those that are not as expected.
Finally, a marketing audit helps decision-makers inside an organization make strategic decisions based on facts, analysis, and data to help achieve the company's overall objectives.
The Benefits of Marketing Audit
For every small business, a marketing audit is valuable here for five following reasons.
1. Realign Your Marketing Activities With Your Goals
Almost all entrepreneurs have so bothered with conducting the everyday tasks of running a small business that they forget the bigger picture and the long-term goals of the business. If this occurs, it may be hard to remember why a specific marketing strategy has been introduced or to assess if the company is effectively implementing it.
That's where marketing audit comes into play. It's a way to step back a bit, go back to your business plan and marketing plan, and make sure your business goals are reflected by the everyday activities you conduct.
2. See What Isn’t Working
A marketing audit allows business owners to search for all the marketing activities that are presently being carried out while assessing whether those activities are effective. This is when you take an objective look at your business, equipped with facts and data obtained from your research.
It's a chance to rely on your judgment and instinct to make decisions on marketing areas where your company is underachieving. Next, you can make informed decisions about how to improve activities or use new techniques to make your marketing efforts effective.
3. Gain Exposure to New Ideas and Different Strategies
A marketing audit involves extensive research into the business and also external factors. While this may not be the main reason to implement an audit, the research process can be a fantastic way to explore new ideas to attempt in your firm.
You could learn, for instance, throughout your research that your competition has been doing something you never considered doing. You may create new marketing strategies that have enormous potential with a few adjustments to turn the plan into yours.
4. Get In-Depth Insight Into Your Competition
Effective marketing requires a thorough understanding of some factors, like the market, the target audience, and the competition. A marketing audit is a fantastic way of investigating who your competition is.
You will revolutionize the way you approach your audience by discovering your competitors' strengths and weaknesses. Learning what they're performing well will give you a better idea of how to do something better so that your company reaches the top.
5. Save Time and Money in the Long Run
Without this type of regular check-in, you could unintentionally waste time and money on marketing activities which yield poor performance. Implementing a regular marketing audit allows you to optimize your investment in marketing by making you concentrate on the activities that perform best for your company.
6. Plan Your Marketing Audit
A marketing audit usually requires reviewing all current business documents for transparency on goals and plans, making a list of current strategies, collecting input from core business staff, and executing external factors research (competition, market, economy, industry, and many more).
It typically starts with your company's SWOT analysis, which can enable you to determine the opportunities for improvement. You may never recognize what your marketing budget is worthy of, without a regular audit.
What Makes an Effective Marketing Audit
The aspects below should be taken into account when conducting a marketing audit:
The audit should include all marketing areas, not just where there is an issue, but also the entire marketing function.
A systematic approach should be applied to evaluate the organization's micro and macro environment (the SWOT analysis), marketing principles, objectives, strategies, and other activities that directly or indirectly impact marketing performance.
The most unbiased approach to perform a marketing audit is to hire a third party who does not show any prejudice and does not have the stress of historical factors. To get a better picture of the company, you would need to encourage them to fully immerse themselves in the company culture and activity when they conduct the audit.
If you are requesting a third party to collect the audit findings, you will have to be prepared to spend some of your own management time on the process to achieve the best results.
The marketing audit should never be a standalone event. Even though a complete audit as part of your strategic marketing plan requires the implementation once or maybe every other year, you should audit your marketing activities more regularly to ensure everything is on the right track to achieve your goals.
How to Conduct a Marketing Audit
Step 1: Describe All Marketing Goals and Objectives
The marketing objectives should be well planned out and detailed, and align with overall business goals. Some examples of key marketing objectives include enhancing brand visibility, growing audience size, differentiating from the competition, growing or maintaining market share, creating qualified sales leads, and improving usage among existing customers
Make sure to set long-term as well as short-term goals. Long-term goals should be achieved within the next two years and should be listed according to the order of their priority. Short-term targets should be something that can be accomplished within the next 12 months, sorted by priority, and taking into account the resources available to the organization, like time, budget, and personnel.
Step 2: Create Your Customer Personas
Seize the chance if you have not created comprehensive buyer personas for your typical customer. You should have the following things in your typical buyer persona: job titles or functions, industry, geographic location, company size, and other demographic, ethnic, or behavioral descriptions.
Step 3: Identify the Competition
List your industry's top 3–5 competitors. Include info about their business, like company name, website, and location of headquarters. Create an extensive list of all their products and services, and highlight the one which is similar to your products and services.
Step 4: Describe Your Products and Services
For each product and service you offer, make sure that all features, benefits, pricing, sizing, and distribution methods are included. Evaluate how your corresponding products or services in comparison to your top competitor(s). Specify the different strengths and weaknesses and any historical data you may have concerning your market share, customer perception, and overall performance of each item as compared to the competitors.
Step 5: Map Out Your Inventory
Develop a comprehensive document with all the existing marketing assets in it. Collect all the brand materials and marketing collateral, and archive them. Start with your website's site map and a spreadsheet covering relevant information about each item.
You should cover the following things: the asset's name, category or topic, URL, target buyer persona, broken links, 404 errors, duplicate content, traffic by channel, click-through rate, engagement, sessions, page views, shares by the network, content length, metadata, content-type, organic position by keyword, page speed, and bounce rate.
Step 6: Analyze Data and Draw Conclusions
When all of your data has been collected and recorded, you will have a fairly good picture of your business's standing. Determine strengths and weaknesses when reviewing each part of your marketing audit. Keep careful notes about anything you notice that you want to improve on or continue to do well.
Step 7: Make a Plan and Put It into Action
After reviewing the marketing audit results, you should be able to make more informed decisions on how to step ahead. Your Action Plan will begin by fixing any problems found during the audit. You should fix any faults of the site like broken links or 404 errors, solve any problems with analytics-tracking, and locate gaps in existing material.
After that, approach any areas that could have immediate benefits for the marketing team. Single out any possibilities within easy reaches, like organic search terms or related backlinks. Optimize pages and metadata which already have a high rate of conversion.
Protect your brand by ensuring all social media channels are optimized and refreshed, requesting backlinks to reclaim any brand mentions, and responding to reviews on Yelp, Google My Business, and any other industry-relevant online directories.
To make a plan, you should update your brand guidelines, messaging, and voice; seek opportunities for CRO and UX to improve your metrics; and research any prospects for networking, publication, and industry-specific.
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t's not easy to find out how to perform a marketing audit that improves your brand identity and your ability to communicate with customers. A marketing audit is a way to thoroughly examine your marketing strategy and seek out all of your strengths and weaknesses.
The steps required to conduct a marketing audit are detailed and yet vital. Attempting to answer the hard questions might help you explore the business progress you have always wanted.
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