Your business is having a good year. The sales team is meeting their targets. Your boss is smiling. Your marketing must be working, right?
Maybe yes, but maybe no. Even if sales are up, critical marketing issues could be limiting your success – or threatening your future.
A marketing audit can help you find out. Here’s why auditing your marketing – when times are bad or good – can be so important to a smart marketing strategy.
What is a Marketing Audit?
A marketing audit is an objective evaluation of your entire approach to marketing – your branding, messaging, channels, campaigns, tactics, offers, sales tools, creative approaches, resources, and results.
Taking a close look at the effectiveness of every marketing dollar you spend helps you pinpoint what’s working and what isn’t, so you can improve your strategy going forward.
From my experience conducting marketing audits, there are two times when audits make sense. The first is when you’re facing a marketing or sales challenge. You know something’s broken but you don’t know what – or how best to fix it.
The other time to do an audit is when your marketing is relatively successful. You’re looking for ways to do things better, explore new ideas, and find opportunities to improve your results.
7 Reasons to Audit Your Marketing Strategy
A marketing audit offers you powerful advantages, especially if you’re in a competitive, fast-changing marketplace and you’re under pressure to generate a high return on your marketing investment.
Here are seven strategic reasons to assess your approach to marketing:
- Marketing is expensive. From internal staff resources to ad agencies, production, and media, the costs of marketing can be substantial. Even if you’re using relatively low-cost channels like social media, you’re still devoting time to developing and implementing a social media plan. An audit can help you figure out how to invest limited marketing resources more efficiently.
- Marketing is always evolving. Channels, tactics, technology: Marketing is in a constant state of evolution. It’s easy to get left behind if you don’t keep up. Dust off your marketing plan from just three years ago and you may be surprised at what’s not included – like marketing automation, native advertising, and virtual reality. Should your business be pursuing these approaches? An audit can help you find out.
- Competitors are always adjusting. Look around your marketplace and you’ll see companies merging, rebranding, expanding, and creating new products and services. Doing business differently usually means doing marketing differently, too. You may need to rethink your marketing plan to remain a market leader.
- Yesterday’s tactics don’t fit today’s channels. It’s a mobile world and every marketing message you develop has to work flawlessly on mobile devices. This means your designers should be thinking about digital formats more than traditional print, even if you’re using both.
- Your goals may be different. The marketing goals you were focused on a few years ago are probably not the same goals you have today, especially if your company’s executive leadership has changed. Your marketing program may need to be adjusted for today’s priorities and management expectations.
- Your website is out of date. Unless you created a new website in the past two years, your site is probably falling short of delivering what today’s visitors expect. It’s more than making your site mobile-responsive. The rapid evolution of the web is constantly transforming the user experience.
- Your team will benefit. A marketing audit can energize your team. It’s creatively liberating to find new solutions to long-standing marketing issues, say goodbye to approaches that have run their course, and embrace something completely new.
Ready to Audit Your Marketing? Here’s How to Start
Can you audit your marketing on your own? Certainly. You will need to be fully objective and able to afford the time to step away from your daily marketing management responsibilities. My guide on how to audit your marketing strategy outlines the process and is a good place to start.
Another option is working with an independent marketing consultant who has extensive experience helping marketers assess, create, and implement strategic marketing plans. Getting external guidance may enable you to conduct an audit faster, more thoroughly, and more objectively.
Either way, a marketing audit can be a smart strategic move when you’re ready to take your business to the next level of success.