Find your marketing plan’s blind spots and improve your marketing investment with marketing audits
Improve your marketing investment with marketing audits. A marketing audit for small business is essential since it typically has some data to review.
When was the last time you did a marketing audit? Kind of like going to the doctor, right? You never think you have a problem until it all blows up.
Marketing assessment is particularly useful to establish a strategic marketing plan for companies that lack a formal marketing planning or evaluation process.†
Since the audit compares results with expectations, it is necessary to do some groundwork before proceeding with metrics and a tracking program. The starting point is the marketing audit below.
The audit is a complete review of the marketing strategy and tactical plans.† The assessment can be used to initiate a formal marketing planning process and program, and then can be repeated on a periodic basis.† Most marketing audits can be performed annually or may extend out for three- to five-year periods.
We will not explain a detailed guide in this document, although a guide is a comprehensive process that can be expanded and adapted to meet the needs of a particular company.
For example, if direct channels of distribution are not used, a section of the audit guide will require adjustment.
Likewise, if the distribution channel is indirect, then this section should be expanded to include other aspects of the channel strategy.
The items included in the audit correspond to the strategic marketing plan because the main purpose of the audit is to assess the effectiveness of strategic marketing operations in your specific business.
Beyond deciding what should be audited, there are some additional aspects of conducting the audit that management must take into consideration.
The marketing assessment should provide the following:
- An objective assessment of current marketing and sales activities for customer development and relationship management.
- A report summarizing the strengths and weaknesses of the data and systems required to support customer management and communications.
- Identification of near-term and long-term sales opportunities based on a review of available prospect and customer information.
- Identification of key initiatives to improve marketing and sales performance, increase customer retention and maximize revenue.
- A report for senior management that provides findings and recommendations, as well as an action plan to implement the recommendations.
A†marketing audit provides an objective marketing assessment of your company’s operations and marketing organization’s design.† Think of it as your annual physical and use the findings to identify where change is needed to impact revenue, improve sales productivity and increase customer retention.
Marketing audit procedure
A marketing audit starts with a meeting between the organization’s management and the marketing auditor(s) to work out an agreement on the objectives, coverage, depth, data sources, report format, and the time period for the audit.
Designate who is to be interviewed, the questions to be asked, and the time and place of contact is carefully prepared so that auditing time and costs are kept to a minimum. The rule is not to rely solely on the organization’s managers for the data and opinions.
Customers, channel members, and other outside groups must be interviewed. Many companies do not really know how their customers and channels view them, nor do they fully understand customer needs.
How to conduct a marketing audit
Some use company personnel and others recommend outside resources (e.g., consultants). A combination approach gains the advantages of both company and external experience, capabilities, and perspectives.
It is important to have objectivity and professional experience in selecting an individual or team to plan and conduct the audit.
Planning the marketing audit
Depending on the size and scope of the organization, proper attention should be given to planning the areas to be audited, including defining the scope of audit operations, scheduling activities, coordination of participation, and desired results. Auditing costs and expected benefits should be estimated, and priorities established regarding various aspects of the audit program.
Using the findings from marketing assessment
The results of the marketing audit should help improve the organization’s marketing performance. Opportunities and problems that are identified should be incorporated into its strategic marketing plan.
When the data gathering part is completed, the auditor presents the main findings and recommendations. A valuable aspect of the marketing audit is the process that the managers go through to understand, discuss, and develop new concepts of needed marketing action.
Conclusion about marketing assessments
The marketing audit examines six major components of the organization’s marketing situation including marketing environment, organization, strategy, systems, productivity, and functions.
You can see how you are doing with your marketing investment with marketing assessment.
Have something to say about your thoughts on how to improve marketing and marketing audits?†
The marketing audit is useful for a strategic evaluation program. It is established for a business in which there has been no previous formal strategic marketing planning and evaluation program.
What is a strategy marking audit?
A marketing strategy audit is a comprehensive, systematic, and objective examination of a companyís Ė or business unitís Ė ROI programs, and those programsí environment, objectives, strategies, lead nurturing workflows, and activities.††
How do I start a marketing assessment?
Without sounding like your average sales guy,†Matrix has offered a free marketing audit for over a decade. We are in the business of helping other companies exceed their growth goals, so it only makes sense for us to jump feet first into your data.
What will I learn from a marketing assessment?
The strategic marketing assessment and evaluation compares results with expectations. It is necessary to lay some groundwork before setting up a tracking program. The starting point is the strategic marketing audit.