A marketing audit is a full exploration and analysis of the entire marketing environment of a business, assessing everything from strategies and targets to specific marketing activities.
This process is intended to provide a full overview of the tools and competencies at an organization’s disposal, to help identify areas of weakness and to put in place ways of improving outcomes in the future.
The basic steps of a marketing audit are as follows:
Identify your marketing channels/strategies/activities
Identify your goals and objectives
Make a comparison
Identify issues and gaps
Create an action plan
The four characteristics of a successful audit are:
1. They should be performed on a regular basis, rather than when a business finds itself in a marketing crisis. 2. The audit should apply to all of the company’s marketing activities; one which focuses on just a small number of activities is referred to as a ‘functional audit’, which can lead to oversights and, ultimately, fail to reach useful conclusions.
3. An effective marketing audit examines the business’s strategies, goals, internal marketing system(s), marketing activities, and marketing environment, in a consistent step-by-step process. 4. Audits should be performed by marketing experts from within the company, though they are considered more credible and honest if conducted by an independent consultant.
There are several reasons to make marketing audits a regular part of your business's routine. To make each strategic marketing audit a success, you should structure it in a way that focuses on the following benefits.
First, know that a strategic marketing audit is designed to help you catch mistakes and errors early. This is super important, as it can help you stay on track before you've gone too far off course, risking irrevocable damage to your business's branding.
By monitoring the performance of your campaigns and efforts early, you can quickly halt moves that aren't panning out. It's the best way to protect your reputation and your business's bottom line.
Not only can you use a strategic marketing audit to quickly catch mistakes and errors, but you can also use it to pinpoint marketing tactics that are working. This, coupled with the above use case, will help you maximize your marketing success.
Think of it like pruning a garden. When you find a tactic that's successful, you can gently encourage it and keep it moving forward. And when you find a tactic that is underperforming, you can choose to problem-solve or simply remove it from your overall strategy.
Lastly, you can use a strategic marketing audit to gain insights into your next marketing plan.
By identifying what's working, what isn't, what your goals are, and what your current strengths and weaknesses are, you can design a marketing approach that’s effective and forward-looking.
This means that you can not only improve your current marketing efforts but your upcoming ones as well. And each plan should in theory be better than the last thanks to all of the data that your marketing audits are providing you with.
To help give you a better idea of what a marketing audit should look like, we've collected some of the hallmarks of a best-in-class marketing audit example. Below are some of the key attributes to include in your marketing audit templates.
First, a strategic marketing audit should include your long and short goals. This includes goals for the next twelve months, the next three to five years, and your overarching goals for your business. This will serve as a goalpost for your audit.
Then, you should break down how your time is spent each week. This will help you ensure that your efforts and your goals align with one another. When you aren't actively making yourself aware of either, it's easy for them to fall out of alignment. So be sure that your strategic marketing audit includes a focus on each.
Our final tip for marketing audit example: your marketing audit should identify your strengths and your weaknesses. Again, this is useful for establishing a marketing approach that is effective and in line with your goals. You can push forward on your goals and efforts that you're best equipped to handle.