The Complete Guide to an Effective Marketing Audit
If you are starting or haven't yet developed a clear vision for your business, you're probably not even close to being ready to undertake a marketing audit.
There are many ways to market your company. In the beginning, many entrepreneurs think they can get away without marketing their business and just let the sales come in on their own.
But many companies find that this approach only works if you're a one-person show. It's much easier and less expensive to market your business with multiple revenue streams.
And since having multiple streams of income is a common goal for many small businesses, it makes sense to put some serious thought into how you'll achieve that goal.
Have you ever wondered if your marketing efforts are producing the desired results? Well, wonder no more because, with this guide, you will learn what it takes to know whether or not you're reaching your customers and which of your marketing channels are bringing in the most revenue for your business.
What is a Marketing Audit?
A marketing audit is a systematic review of the performance of a marketing campaign over a defined period. It's a quantitative evaluation of campaign performance based on pre-established goals.
An audit is a great tool to help marketers understand if there is an actual correlation between a campaign and the desired results. Audits can be used to determine:
- Whether advertising and promotions are successful.
- Whether products are being sold.
- Whether consumers are buying the products.
- Whether consumers are reacting positively to a specific campaign.
- Whether or not consumers are making purchases.
Marketing Audits are a series of tests used to determine a company's effectiveness. The idea is to pinpoint the weaknesses of a company and find ways to correct those weaknesses. There are two main types of audit: Internal and External.
Internal Marketing Audit
So, what is an internal marketing audit? An audit is a self-assessment or self-study in which an organisation looks at itself. It doesn't necessarily involve external criticism or review; instead, the self-assessment is internal. An internal marketing audit is a tool that you can use to understand the status of the company's current state.
Internal marketing audits are meant to help a company see its strengths and weaknesses from an outside perspective to help improve its overall marketing performance.
They give insight into what your company needs to improve on and how you can reach new customers and grow your brand. They look into your company's performance and its current strengths and weaknesses. This helps companies make better decisions about improving their business and how to move forward.
External Marketing Audit
An external Marketing Audit is similar to a website audit, but it examines what your competitors are doing instead of looking at how your website is doing.
An external Marketing Audit will help you figure out why your company isn't performing as well as you hoped.
This is done by looking at what your competitor's sites are doing and seeing how they communicate and interact with their customers. This is a great way to help you determine what you need to do better to make your website stand out from your competition.
External marketing audits are helpful to businesses because they allow them to find weaknesses that could harm their brand.
They are also valuable because they can help organisations that already have a strong brand but have areas that could use some improvement to improve their performance. For example, if a business has an excellent brand name but lacks an online presence, an external audit can help them find the areas of opportunity.
When To Conduct A Marketing Audit
You should conduct Marketing Audits throughout the entire lifecycle of a business. The key is to understand your business strategy and ensure that your marketing strategy aligns with that strategy.
Marketers tend to focus on the short term, whereas the best-practice approach to marketing is long-term. There are three phases of the marketing lifecycle: planning, execution, and measurement.
The key to a successful marketing audit is identifying your goals and objectives for each phase of your marketing lifecycle and measuring those objectives to ensure that you are on track.
This is an excellent time to look over the data you have already collected and see if you can figure out what is working and what is not.
It can be hard to tell if your marketing efforts are beneficial because of all the business noise. This is the time to cut through the clutter and look at the facts, especially if you have been doing marketing for a long time.
How To Conduct a Marketing Audit
So your business may have a social media strategy in place, but did you ever conduct a marketing audit to see where your efforts are going?
If you haven't, now is the perfect time to do so. Here are a few things to consider when conducting a marketing audit.
1 – Get the Big Picture – Review the Overall Plan
The overall marketing plan is the foundation upon which everything else must rest. There's no point in writing a book or creating a piece of content if there isn't an audience or purpose for it to exist in the first place.
This means You should build your marketing strategy and tactics around your business's overall goals, not just any particular piece of content or project.
Your overall marketing plan isn't just an online strategy. It's a full-blown campaign. Every aspect of your marketing needs to be on-point from start to finish.
Your brand identity is the foundation of your campaign, so make sure it's fully developed. Once your brand is set, develop your website, social media, email marketing, advertising, and offline activities. Don't forget to keep up with new trends and adapt your plans to suit your business.
2 – Evaluate Your Business Model – How Does it Fit In?
The key to a successful business model is to have one that can handle all your customer's needs and wants.
- So what are your customers' needs and wants?
- Where are you already meeting some of these needs or wants?
- Why do customers choose to buy from you over your competitors?
Your customer's decision to buy from you or someone else boils down to three main things: affordability, quality, and service. What can you do to improve these areas to give your customer more reason to choose your company over another?
It's the number one mistake business owners make. They spend so much time on the marketing and sales processes but fail to evaluate whether their business model works.
When you ask yourself this question, you're asking the right questions. By asking if you're doing something you're passionate about or something that genuinely serves a need you have identified, you're asking the right questions.
- Are you being honest with yourself?
- Is there a reason you're not having success in your current business?
- What would you need to do differently to have more success?
3 – Gather Data – Learn About your Customers
If you want to build a great relationship with your customers, you need to understand them first. A market audit is a great way to gather data about your potential customers and figure out what will help you succeed with them. But you don't need to spend money to get started.
You can do market research at no cost. A market audit aims to uncover as much information about your target audience and their buying behaviours.
An online survey is one of the most effective and least expensive ways to gather data about your customer base. It's a great way to gather data without asking for anything other than your customers' email addresses.
Many of these surveys also include freebies for respondents like coupons or samples. You can also use Google Analytics, giving you detailed information about your site visitors.
4 – Select Your Audience – Who Is Your Target Audience?
Marketing is all about getting your product or service in front of the right people. To do this, you need to find those people. In other words, you need to determine who your ideal customers are. The best way to find out is to do a market analysis.
To get started, you need to answer three questions: whom are you trying to reach, what are they looking for, and how can you reach them.
There's much advice on what NOT to do with the data you gather from an audit. We'll give you one thing to focus on: make sure you're targeting the right people.
You can do this by looking at what they're saying online, what they're searching for, and the content they're creating. This way, you'll be able to tailor the message and style of your ad messages and landing pages to resonate with the kind of people you want to reach.
5 – Analyse Data – What Do You Need to Learn?
If your business is just getting started, you probably don't have an in-house marketing expert or someone on staff trained to perform a complete audit. However, the benefits of an audit are enormous.
What do you need to know to prepare for a marketing audit? The first thing you should do is establish a strong relationship with your marketing agency or vendor.
It would help if you understood who they are, what they do, and their goals. You'll also want to make sure you're comfortable with them before signing on for their services. The second thing to keep in mind is to be aware of their services.
Are they only providing graphic design, or do they also handle social media? How much of the work will you need to do on your own, and how much can you delegate? Is there anything you'd like to ask the agency?
6 – Choose Tools – What Do You Need?
Tools like Google Analytics can provide much information about your site's performance, but only if used properly. One example of this is understanding how to measure the success of your social media presence.
Do you have an effective Facebook page? Did you know that the number of people who like your business page is more important than those who follow your company on Facebook?
The same goes for Twitter. If you don't know what to do with the information your analytics tool tells you, you're missing out on the best opportunities to grow your business.
There is no one-size-fits-all tool for conducting a marketing audit. The process is different depending on your company type, audience, industry, size, etc.
Each tool is designed to solve a particular problem. But while numerous tools can help you with an audit, there are two standouts: Marketo and MarketingSherpa.
The first is a robust, enterprise-level solution, while the latter is a free, personalisable tool. If you're considering which tool to use, there are several reasons why you should consider using both. They offer complimentary strengths in different areas.
7 – Execute the Plan – How Will You Get It Done?
Marketing is all about execution. It would be best if you executed your marketing strategy effectively for it to work. Marketing audits help identify weak spots and give you a good starting point for improving your marketing.
You should always conduct a marketing audit after researching and understanding your company. It's like a mini-research project.
If you're ready to execute your marketing strategy, you need to know which of these three phases you're in and how to move from one phase to the next.
Most marketers follow a predictable path of market research, creative execution, and post-launch optimisation. However, it's essential to recognise the limits of each of these phases.
Market research can help define your ideal customer persona and provide valuable insights about your product or service. Still, it shouldn't dictate what you should or shouldn't do with your marketing strategy.
Marketing isn't an end in itself. Marketing is a tool to accomplish something else. For example, you can have the best marketing strategy on the planet, but if your audience doesn't care about the subject matter of your blog post, then nothing you say or do will change that. And the worst kind of marketing is marketing that doesn't have a clear message or a clear call to action.
8 – Measure Progress – Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
An audit aims to determine whether or not something is working in the marketplace. To achieve a successful audit, the marketer must first determine what success looks like.
There is no set definition of success, but a good rule of thumb is measurable goals for your efforts. Next, the marketer must decide on how they will measure success. Finally, the marketer must determine if the method of measuring success will be accurate and efficient.
We're talking about the data-driven business here. So far, we've focused mainly on how you can use the data you collect to improve the bottom line. But the bottom line isn't the only metric that matters.
By monitoring the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, you can also measure your success and predict future outcomes.
There are three primary goals of a marketing audit:
- To define the marketing mix.
- To evaluate whether you have the right people, products, and resources to reach your marketing goals.
- And to evaluate your marketing budget allocation to ensure you're getting the best return on your investment.
A good audit is always a good idea. However, if you will perform a complete audit, it is vital that you approach your analysis in a structured manner.
It should include the following elements:
- An assessment of all of the potential channels through which you can reach your target audience.
- A review of your current customer and prospect lists.
- A review of the most recent customer relationship management (CRM) data you collect.
After completing your initial audit, you can use the information gathered to determine which channels have the most significant potential to drive your organisation's greatest return on investment.
If you aren't sure where to start, here are some questions to ask for building an effective marketing audit for your business:
1. What are the core activities that drive your success?
2. What has been the value of each activity that drives your success?
3. What was the ROI of each activity that drives your success?
4. What costs are associated with each activity that drives your success?
5. Is there room to improve or improve your ROI?
6. Is there room to improve or improve your cost-effectiveness?
7. Do you need to invest more money or resources?
8. Do you need to cut back or reduce some activities?
9. Does your current activity level provide you with the required value to meet your customers' needs?
10. Are your efforts driving the proper outcomes?
11. Are your efforts leading to more revenue?
12. Are you missing an opportunity?
13. Is there something that you could do better to increase the success of your business?
14. Is there something that you should do differently?
15. Is there something that you can stop doing because it is not meeting your customers' expectations?
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