Accounting principles can be applied and your marketing audit can uncover weaknesses holding you back.
If you have not done a marketing audit in the last 6-months, you should do one now. The sheer pace of change in the digital marketing landscape requires you to have to stay on top of things, almost daily.
A simple change in Google’s algorithm can take your traffic down. What if you lost 50% of your web traffic? Would it have an impact?
What is a marketing audit?
The Marketing Audit refers to the comprehensive, systematic, analysis, evaluation, and the interpretation of the business marketing environment, both internal and external, its goals, objectives, strategies, principles to ascertain the areas of problem and opportunities.
Your marketing audit will show you if your marketing objectives are being met and how cost-effectiveness your marketing campaigns are.
Why is a marketing audit important?
he marketing audit is an essential part of the strategic evaluation.
Your strategic evaluation through a marketing audit is the most important part of your marketing plan.
How to conduct a marketing assessment.
What is a marketing audit process and how to conduct a marketing audit is as important as the results? For if the plan is not determined the results could be suspect.
We’ve added a great marketing audit template at the end to help you find your gaps. Here is a great digital marketing audit template PDF covering SEO.
Businesses large or small conduct monthly, quarterly, and yearly audits on financial statements. It’s considered common hygiene. Making sure your numbers are lining up correctly and accurately is just good business. It will help you plan, manage, and lead.
When a client comes to me and asked me if they should do a full-blown marketing audit. I simply asked them this. It all depends on where you want to go.
It’s a little like Alice in Wonderland and Cheshire the cat. If you have children, you must remember Alice in Wonderland.
It’s where Alice is walking down the trail and runs into Cheshire the cat at a fork in the road. She asked the cat, “Which way should I go?”
The cat responds, “it depends on where you want to go.” Alice answered back, “I’m not sure.” Well, the cat responded, “then it doesn’t matter which road you take it’s going to lead you somewhere.”
Do you know where you are going?
It’s what clients asked me almost daily. Some of them know where they want to go.
A marketing audit is to the marketing team what a financial audit is to the accounting department.
These examination methods cover several areas including:
- sales and marketing alignment
- skills process
- technical systems
- return on investment on your marketing programs
- they provide the opportunity to see what areas are working within the department as well as areas that need further review
Look at both your internal and external marketing environment. This could include a SWOT analysis and pay special attention to your competitor’s marketing communication when doing your analysis.
What is their voice, tone, style? What colors are they using and is the customer journey easy to make a purchase decision? Then dive into their keywords and backlinks.
To start an effective marketing strategy it’s critical for companies to achieve their maximum potential.
That being said, gauging effectiveness is often overlooked and unfortunately, it’s the groundwork of the cohesive marketing plan that companies follow and win.
The trends and methods of marketing are evolving and changing rapidly. By reassessing the method and areas for improvement, companies become refocused and realigned with the original goals they initially wanted to achieve.
Marketing and accounting audits share similar goals with one another. Marketing audits measure profit and loss just as an accounting audit does.
It would also measure return on investment (ROI) on a tactical level and campaigns as a whole. he benefits a company can derive from measuring the ROI of marketing are enormous, to say the least.
The goal is to quantify which activities are generating the most pipeline leads and then be able to prioritize them to hack new growth potential.
Business owners, executives, and marketing managers alike feel their marketing programs and strategy need improvement but do not know how to proceed to the next step.
Content Marketing Institute reported that only 30% of marketers felt their organizations were effectively generating leads. Although, effectiveness levels skyrocket when there are documentation and processes in place.
How do I Start a Marketing Audit?
A marketing strategy audit is a comprehensive, systematic, and objective examination of a company’s – or business unit’s – ROI programs, and those programs’ environment, objectives, strategies, lead nurturing workflows, and activities.
The assessment provides the knowledge to help management improve sales performance, build long-term relations with customers, and generate increased profitability.
Without sounding like your average sales guy, Matrix has offered a free marketing assessment for over a decade. We are in the business of helping other businesses exceed their growth goals, so it only makes sense for us to jump feet first into your data.
Based on the criteria you’ve already gathered from your marketing employees, customers, prospects, and sales personnel, a Matrix Marketing Audit generates a gap analysis showing strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities.
These skill sets are all graded across a comprehensive set of criteria and benchmarks to help your business improve its performance. Areas typically covered include:
The overarching concept of the Marketing Audit is to determine where and what marketing functions are excelling and where there are areas for opportunities for improvement.
These improvements may indicate areas in reducing the cost of a marketing activity or increasing effectiveness. Upon completion of the audit, you will gain a better understanding of the marketing of your company’s capabilities, contribution, and overall structure.
Companies that look to achieve higher performance levels, increase effectiveness, and improve their return on investment may need to pivot.
Pivot by re-adjust and reacquire new training programs and systems, re-define or reengineer process or change the talent mix.
As opportunities for improvement are being pulled and identified and action is decided, the resources that are needed to affect the improvement can be appropriately attributed.
Therefore, the annual budgeting and planning cycle offers an appropriate time to conduct a marketing audit. In addition, most small-businesses close their books on the calendar year. Any time of the year is great for an audit.
The Problem with Audits and Marketing Budgets
The Gartner 2017 – 2018 CMO Spend Survey reported, marketing budgets are continuing on a steady climb in 2018 to reach 12% of company revenue. The survey involved more than 300 marketing leaders across the US and UK.
It was designed to discover how much companies are spending on marketing and revealing budgets on marketing priorities to improve short-term performance and long-term customer experience.
Although overall spending on budgeting is on the rise, marketing budgets are continuing to be squeezed due to rising tech expenses.
This can be a challenge for businesses as some quarters involve marketing spending on a program or system that is a critical component of tight budgets in the present economy.
This evolution has been driven by several factors, a key one being a new perception of how important marketing is for growth.
When a company cuts marketing spending, it cuts the one function whose sole purpose is to increase sales. The average CFO views marketing teams through skeptic lenses.
Marketing leaders walk into boardrooms around the world with feel-good stories about branding and the new logo design but forget to create attribution models that quantify their lead generation efforts.
Finding the Solution with Marketing Assessment
Conducting audits in sales and marketing organizations whether it’s yearly or semi-annually. It helps alleviates marketing and business owners to ensure that they are doing the right things to help drive growth for their organizations.
Information that is revealed through these audits can align marketing programs and put in place a KPI based scorecard to keep them on track.
A marketing audit is a thorough examination and evaluation of marketing practices and results. It offers a baseline for performance measurements and a framework for effective business planning to maximize positive external perception and demand generation.
Many companies choose to measure the quality of marketing by the amount of generated leads as a means of determining marketing effectiveness.
This is a limited piece of information when conducting an audit. There must be additional data points based on overall marketing strategy and tactical programs based on factors such as quality of leads, sales cycle reduction, and lower cost per sale.
To all those business owners, executives and marketing managers who are deciding whether to conduct their next marketing audit.
Here are five reasons why an audit such as this one is important to the health of your organization.
- Realigning marketing activities with goals. The audit allows business owners and marketing managers to be reintroduced to the initial underlying goals of their marketing strategy. Going through the marketing plan, projects and budget documents will be a refresher for key team members to retain and relay information to the rest of the department and executives upon completion of the audit.
- See what isn’t working for your business. Just as it highlights the areas that are working well, the assessment also shows the pain points in areas that need improvement. Often these methods are outdated and not relevant to the overall goals, these areas can be removed completely to free up the budget.
- Gain exposure to new ideas and different strategies. It’s a team effort. Executives, operations, marketing, finance, everyone should participate in this activity. You never know where the next great idea will come from and everyone has a different view on what your organization is missing. Each department can brainstorm new ideas and strategies for areas that need improvement and new strategies for methods that have been taken out of the marketing plan.
- Insight to the competition. To conduct a successful audit, it requires an in-depth understanding of several factors involving: the market profile, target audience, and competitors in the industry. By analyzing these factors, you’ll gain a better understanding of competitors’ strengths and weaknesses which allows you to create a unique positioning.
- Saves time and money. By not conducting a yearly, semi-annually, or monthly check-in, companies could be losing money toward ineffective marketing activities. Getting into the habit of conducting audits regularly, maximizes a company’s marketing efforts substantially, working with methods that are the best fit and the most effective for the company. Here’s the million-dollar question, do you currently know which projects are driving the most revenue? Do you know which channels are driving the highest quality leads?
Marketing Audit Examples
After performing 5,452 marketing audits this year, 2019, we uncovered that 74.1% want to generate more leads. They just don’t have enough to sustain a steady pipeline without heavy direct sales and advertising.
After generating leads, lead conversion is a top priority going into 2020, with 86.6% of companies focusing on website conversion and overall lead conversion. Two primary issues are exposed here:
- Web traffic is not high quality
- On-page SEO must be reviewed for bounce rate
WHY A MARKETING STRATEGY AUDIT?
Responding to today’s challenging sales environment, many vendors have developed sales tools to demonstrate the value or return-on-investment (ROI) of their solutions.
But sales tools alone usually fail to deliver the hoped-for results. They represent a static, tactical approach to a problem that is, by its nature, dynamic and strategic.
Why is marketing audit important?
Responding to today’s challenging sales environment, many vendors have developed sales tools to demonstrate the value or return-on-investment (ROI) of their solutions. But sales tools alone usually fail to deliver the hoped-for results. They represent a static, tactical approach to a problem that is, by its nature, dynamic, and strategic.
As a result, many business owners, executives, and marketing managers feel that their marketing programs need improvement. Yet, most do not know how to proceed.
A Marketing Strategy Audit is a comprehensive, systematic, and objective examination of a company’s – or business unit’s – ROI programs, and those programs’ environment, objectives, strategies, and activities. It provides the knowledge to help management improve sales performance, build long-term relations with customers, and generate increased profitability.
Based on interviews with your customers, prospects, and sales personnel, a Matrix Marketing Audit generates gap analysis (see figure below) showing strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities across a comprehensive set of criteria and benchmarks to help you and your company improve your performance. Areas typically covered include:
• Data quality and credibility
• ROI sales tool design
• Business and marketing strategy integration
• Sales organization alignment
For more information on Matrix Marketing Group’s Marketing Audit program or any of our Services, call us at (303) 351-1645.
A Marketing Audit Report should include the following:
- Contents 2
- Glossary 4
- Executive Summary 5
3.1. Key Findings 5
3.2. Key Recommendations 5
3.3. Summary 5
- Marketing Audit 6
4.1. Introduction 6
4.2. Assumptions 6
4.3. Internal Environmental Analysis 6
4.4. External Environmental Analysis 7
4.4.1. Markets Defined 7
4.4.2. Industry Analysis- Adapted from Porters 5 forces 7
4.4.3. Main Competitor Profile 8
4.5. Customer Analysis- The DMU 8
4.5.1. Potential Market Size 8
4.5.2. Market Trends 8
4.5.3. Marketing Mix 9
4.5.4. Summary and Rationale 10
- Marketing Plan 11
5.1. Situation 11
5.1.1. SWOT Analysis 11
5.1.2. Company 11
5.1.3. Competitors 11
5.1.4. Environment 11
5.1.5. Assumptions 11
5.2. Objectives 12
5.3. Strategy 13
5.3.1. Segmentation 13
5.3.2. Targeting 15
5.3.3. Positioning 15
5.4. Tactics 16
5.4.1. Communication Tools To Be Used 16
5.4.2. Details of Contact Strategy 16
5.4.3. Resource Requirments & Budget 16
5.4.4. Proposed Pricing Model 17
5.5. Actions 18
5.5.1. Responsibilities 18
5.5.2. Activity Schedule 19
5.6. Control 21
5.6.1. Forecast Model 21
5.6.2. Tracking and Evaluation 21
- Appendix 22
- Bibliography 22
Wrap up on Marketing Audits
To learn more about the benefits, we are always offering a free marketing audit to help organizations like yours prepare for success now and in the coming years. Call us at 303-351-1645 for more information.
Grab this great digital marketing audit checklist PDF.
Why is a marketing audit important?
The marketing audit is an essential part of the strategic evaluation.
Your strategic evaluation through a marketing audit is the most important part of your marketing plan. Marketing strategy must be responsive to changing conditions. After implementing, evaluation and control are essential to keep the marketing strategy on target.
How to conduct a marketing audit?
How you conduct a marketing audit applies to the full, systematic, analysis, evaluation and the analysis of the company marketing environment, both internal and external, its goals, objectives, strategies, principles to ascertain the areas of problem and opportunities and to recommend a plan of corrective action if required.
What is the marketing audit process?
An ongoing strategy evaluation program is essential to keep marketing performance on track with corrective actions. This activity consumes a high portion of marketing executives’ time and energy.
How do I plan for the marketing audit?
Deciding on the size and scope of the company, proper attention should be given to planning the areas to be audited. Defining the scope of the audit operations, scheduling activities, coordination of participation, and the desired results also need to be defined.
How do I use the marketing audit’s findings and recommendations?
The results of the strategic marketing audit should improve strategic performance. Opportunities and problems that are identified should be incorporated into the strategic marketing plan.