What is a marketing audit?
A marketing audit is a structured review of all marketing strategies, plans, activities, documentation and assets that a company has. It can include strategy documents as well as the finished work – and everything in between. It is a fundamental step in your marketing strategy. Additionally auditing the digital marketing efforts of between 4 and 8 of your competitors is also very important, and will provide you with even more information. We like to start new engagements with an audit for a few very important reasons.
Why are marketing audits important?
1. Ensures you are keeping current
Conducting an impartial review of your own marketing and your competitors is critical towards ensuring you are staying ahead of the competition and that you are keeping current with your customers, their expectations and how you market to them. It might also be time to revise your benchmarks. How is your alignment with Sales and the maintenance of your CRM or email list? Does your branding still reflect your company? Is your marketing team able to keep up with the tactics required of them? The honest assessment can reveal where you might need to add resources in the coming months.
2. Ensures you are hitting the baseline messaging your prospective clients expect to see
Do you understand your customer personas, how they make decisions and what is important to them? How do you come in to satisfy those needs? This should be reflected in all of your messaging from your website, to your sales collateral, pitch deck and all campaigns. And, if you understood that last year, do you know that you understand it this year? What are the themes that your prospective customers care about? Some common themes are around expertise and service. Anything else? How you do you quantify what you do when you talk about those themes? This is how they make their decision. And remember that they will do the majority of their research online before they would consider calling you so once you have your baseline messaging, make sure its consistent across all your marketing assets and communication channels.
3. Benchmarks against the competition
We are excited each time we start a competitive audit. This is simply mapping and noting which tactics competitors use and how well and how frequently they use them. You might gain exposure to new ideas, tactics or ways of thinking and learn how you might be falling behind or staying ahead of your competitors. In depth insight into your competition to learn their strengths and weaknesses also provides you with some direction on what you must do and what you need to do differently.
4. Identifies any gaps in your marketing
Now that you understand your own marketing and prospective customers and you’ve added additional insight from auditing the tactics of a handful of your competitors, you should have a laundry list of tactics and strategies. These are the must-have tactics and you might have already discovered some gaps. Is your current staff able to do that work or do you need to hire additional talent, whether permanent or temporary? Did you find new opportunities – perhaps even a new market? Now review for anything additional that you might have missed, particularly around traditional marketing which is more difficult to audit.
Now that your marketing is aligned, remember to conduct a thorough marketing audit every couple of years. This helps to keep your marketing strategy current. Remember that although a marketing audit takes times, it helps save time in the long run.