Last week, we celebrated the start of Do-It-Yourself Marketing Month with 15 must-read articles. In my next two posts, I’m going to write about marketing audits, what you stand to benefit from doing one, and some of the most important tools you’ll use when you undertake your own marketing audit.
What is a Marketing Audit?
A marketing audit is a review of your marketing objectives, strategies and activities in order to identify areas for improvement. A successful marketing audit will help you pinpoint your marketing strengths and weaknesses so you can make good decisions about where to put your marketing resources in the future. Without this kind of check-in, you may be wasting time and money on marketing activities that are producing few results without even being conscious of it.
A marketing audit considers both internal and external influences. The economy, competition and your target audience are examples of external influences. Internal influences include your own individual situation, your business framework, your level of success and your current marketing activities.
Using a marketing audit as you implement your marketing campaign provides an effective way to measure your progress and stay aligned with your objectives. Marketing audits are most effective when you conduct them on a regular basis. In fact, with every marketing plan you launch, a marketing audit should be a repeated element – represented in the beginning, middle and end.
The Benefits of a Marketing Audit
A marketing audit, even one carried out by you, can provide a number of benefits. Among the benefits are:
- An in-depth look at your current marketing state
- A roadmap outlining how to get to accomplish your long-term goals
- A list of problem areas and drawbacks in your current activities
- An overview of marketing activities that may help you generate more interest in your services
A consistent and systematic marketing audit will also answer a number of questions, including:
- What are your marketing goals?
- Are those goals realistic with the resources you have available?
- Do your marketing activities support your goals?
- Do you have a clear idea of your short-term and long-term marketing needs?
- What are some of the biggest reasons your marketing activities are not having the desired impact?
- What has changed in the market since your last audit?
- What has changed in your business? Your clients’ businesses?
- How will those changes impact your marketing goals and planning?
- Who is currently among your biggest competitors?
- How is your competition marketing to the audience?
In large corporations, an unbiased third-party typically conducts marketing audits, sometimes after the company has begun to lose ground in their market. In these situations, the company may have a consultant review the status of the company’s marketing processes and then makes recommendations for improvement.
But don’t think marketing audits are only for the big boys. If you are a one-person shop without the resources (or desire) to undertake a comprehensive marketing audit, you can still benefit from the process. My next post reviews of some of the tools typically used with marketing audits.
Image credit: djshaw