How to Conduct a Marketing Audit in <br>4 Easy Steps
How to Conduct a Marketing Audit in
4 Easy Steps
As a marketer, do you find yourself so bogged down in the day-to-day execution of your marketing plan that you don’t really know what is and isn’t working?
Marketing strategies should be dynamic and fluid. They need regular assessment to keep what’s working and ditch what isn’t. Think of a marketing audit as taking the proverbial blinkers off to gain a broad perspective of your company, the environment in which it operates, and successful marketing strategies that can be developed to achieve its business goals.
This article will explain what a marketing audit is, why you should conduct one regularly, the marketing audit process and what an audit report should cover.
What is a Marketing Audit?
A marketing audit is a thorough analysis of an organisation’s marketing environment in 3 key areas:
1. A macro external analysis of the factors that may impact marketing performance, such as demographic, economic, cultural, environmental and political factors.
2. Analysing the micro external factors closely associated with your marketing activities, such as the customer and competitive landscape.
3. A deep-dive into the internal environment, including looking at business systems, product and pricing, conducting a SWOT analysis and reviewing your current marketing plan and activity.
Why Conduct a Marketing Audit?
Quite simply, a marketing audit allows you to take an objective approach to strategy development by pinpointing which marketing activities are working and which are not. It will enable you to:
Know your strategy is working
Your audit tracks what you’ve done to check if your strategy works by identifying any gaps and opportunities.
Allocate marketing budgets appropriately
By evaluating performance and removing what’s not working, a marketing audit allows you to better allocate your marketing budget to practical activities and tactics.
Support business objectives
A marketing audit helps realign your marketing activity to support overall business objectives, and helps to position marketing as a strategic function for business growth, i.e., being able to show tangible business growth that has been generated directly from your marketing efforts.
Make informed decisions
A marketing audit enables your marketing department to make better judgements based on analysis and data, not personal preferences or knee-jerk reactions from across the business.
What can happen if you don’t do a marketing audit regularly?
An audit allows time for reflection. The risk of not conducting regular audits is that your marketing department keeps doing the same things over and over again, irrespective of whether they’re working or not. An audit helps avoid wasted spending by identifying what needs to change in your marketing communication to consistently achieve desired business results.
4 Easy Steps to conduct a Marketing Audit
Here are the 4 simple steps to conduct a marketing audit:
Agree on timings and scope of work
All stakeholders need to get on the same page by agreeing on what period and precisely what will be reviewed.
Marketing Audit process
The next step is the actual auditing process, which includes:
- Gathering data by collating information about current strategies, live ads and campaigns, desktop research, lead and conversion stats, etc.
- Analysing the data, such as performance trends, knowledge gaps, unmet marketing goals, and successes. This is a very important step. Data on its own tells us nothing. It’s the insights we glean from the data that will lead to accurate recommendations and action from the findings.
- Recommendations and next steps from the insights gathered.
Share marketing audit results
A critical step in the process is to share all information, insights and recommendations with the entire company, and not only your marketing team, because marketing does not operate in a silo and affects all areas of the business.
Incorporate learnings into the marketing strategy
This step is about taking action and making the necessary changes to the marketing strategy. Not all recommendations in the audit will be taken on board, so it’s important to get everyone familiar with the audit report and on the same page about what’s useful to do now vs. later vs. not at all.
What should be included in a marketing strategy audit report?
Below is a guide to the key sections the marketing strategy audit report should include:
Describe the company, note its market share, define the target market and explain the products/services it sells.
Summarise key points from the report. It’s best to write this last so you can summarise key findings, insights and recommendations.
Macro Environment Audit:
Explore the external environment which affects a company’s performance, such as demographic, political, cultural, environmental, and economic factors. This can often be presented as a PESTLE Analysis.
Micro Task Environment Audit:
Focus on the factors outside the company closely associated with it, such as industry size, competitors, sales channels, distributors and the customer landscape.
Business and Marketing Systems Audit :
A business and marketing systems audit reviews the internal systems and processes and how they contribute to productivity and efficiency.
Product and Pricing Audit:
Review the company’s product and pricing policies, e.g., look at current pricing practices, compare price vs. competitors, and discount and incentive policies to identify areas for improvement.
Distribution Audit :
Review your distribution channels. Do you sell your services or product directly to your customers or through intermediaries? What do your competitors do? This will uncover potential gaps in ways to reach your target market.
SWOT Analysis :
Review the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats posed to the company.
Current Marketing Strategy
One of the main questions a marketing audit must answer is whether the current strategies being implemented are effective and achieve overall company goals. The areas under review will include:
Articulate why an organisation exists and if the current marketing strategy supports this.
Express the idealistic future that the brand wants to create and if the marketing strategy is taking the company in that direction.
Strategic Business Objectives
List the big picture goals of the company and if marketing is supporting reaching these objectives.
State the marketing objectives, both long- and short-term, and question whether they are the correct targets to chase.
Sales Figures and Targets
Show the sales targets vs. actual sales. Are you achieving sales targets? If not, identify what needs to change in your strategy to improve sales or perhaps the targets are unrealistic.
Sales Force Function
Describe the sales team’s function within the business and its link to marketing. How aligned are the two functions? Afterall, they should be working to the same goal.
Marketing Team Function
Evaluate job functions and performance.
Examine the brand’s current position in the market compared to its competitors and define how customers perceive the brand. This can be presented as a Positioning Matrix. And, does the company have a brand strategy in place? You may like to develop one yourself by using this handy how-to guide.
Digital Marketing Audit
Digital performance marketing plays such a pivotal role in marketing today that it requires a specific audit of the various active digital channels.
Conduct an audit on page load speed, Google indexing, broken links, user experience and traffic, etc.
SEO / Keywords
List your keywords and how they rank. Then reconcile this list against the keywords for which your website actually ranks.
Review the efficiency of paid digital ad spend by channel. Include an analysis of impressions, clicks, average CPC, average session duration, pages per session, bounce rates, click conversion rates and cost per conversion etc. Show how or if this is contributing to marketing ROI.
Assess the organic and paid content performance on the main social channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. Look at the following metrics:
- Impressions: total content views
- Engagement Rate: the percentage of interactions vs. the number of people who saw the content
- Total Interactions: the sum of all public actions (on Facebook, this would be Reactions + Comments + Shares)
- Monthly Growth Rate: the percentage of new followers
- Clicks: number of clicks to the website
- Conversions: number of conversions on the website from social
Look at recent email marketing campaigns and measure the following:
- Bounce Rate: the percentage of emails sent which weren’t successfully delivered to the recipient
- Open Rate: the percentage of recipients who opened the email
- Click Through Rate: the percentage of clicks on links in the email
- Conversion Rate: the percentage of conversions on the website
- Unsubscribe Rate: the percentage of recipients who unsubscribed
These metrics will determine where any problems lie e.g., headlines, length of email or design. Also, look at the contact list/database quality, as this also impacts open rates.
Insights and Recommendations
In this section, repeat a list of the key insights and findings identified throughout the marketing audit along with recommendations and next steps. While they are detailed throughout the report, its handy to also present these as a neat list at the end of the report.
Recap and summarise the marketing audit and its findings.
Why you need an expert to help you
It is advisable to use the expertise of a third-party to ensure a successful audit. Why? Because they are objective, which will result in an honest, unbiased analysis. It’s important to get the audit right or the insights gained may be inaccurate, directing you on the wrong path. Choose an experienced marketing strategist, who understands what metrics to measure, what questions to ask and who uses the analysis tools to pull the data you require, to get the answers you’re looking for.
If you want an experienced expert helping with your marketing audit, feel free to book a call with me.