I don’t know about you but the word “audit” usually leaves me feeling anxious, probably because it is most often associated with taxes and finances (not my favorite topics). A marketing audit should be the exact opposite. The results should provide you with new opportunities that will help improve your business.
What is a marketing audit?
It is exactly what it sounds like: reviewing and analyzing the efforts made to bring in new business to determine their effectiveness and return on investment.
Additionally, a marketing audit is a way to stay in touch with and be aware of what your audience – prospects, customers, clients, influencers – need and want from you.
Why audit marketing activities?
You spend a great deal of time, resources, and energy trying to promote your business and build brand awareness, probably more than you realize. It’s just not smart business to do so without understanding what works and what doesn’t.
A marketing audit can uncover:
- Exactly what your audience is responding to and what they are not
- How your marketing efforts are impacting your overall goals
- Ways to optimize and improve certain marketing tactics
- Return on investment
- New areas of opportunity
What activities should you audit?
What you audit should be determined by what activities you are employing to promote your business. A marketing audit should begin with your marketing plan, and include all the tactics used both online and offline.
Furthermore you should include your buyers and competition.
- Website: traffic, page/content interest, form fills
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): domain authority, keyword rankings, conversions
- Content strategy: blogs, assets, calls-to-action
- Email marketing: opens, click-throughs
- Paid advertising: impressions, clicks, cost-per-click
- Social media: followers, mentions, engagements, influence
In most cases, digital marketing tactics are interconnected, all contributing to an overarching goal such as website inquiries. Analyzing how each piece contributes to that end goal is very important.
For example, one well-optimized blog post may be attracting a great deal of interest/traffic yet readers are not going any further. This may be due to the fact that there is either no (or not compelling enough) call-to-action in that post. Following the trail and analyzing each step appropriately can provide the insights you need to test and improve upon your plan.
- Referral sources
- Networking events
- Trade shows
- Paid advertising
Offline efforts can be a little trickier to audit but just as important. Many of us spend a good deal of time networking; however, few really set goals, review, and analyze these situations. Trade shows are another offline activity that often costs a great deal of time and money yet rarely are tracked and measured for their usefulness.
A marketing plan should always be designed around your customers needs. If you follow our blog, you will consistently hear us talk about the importance of persona research and how critical it is to build a strategy that actually works. Checking in with customers and buyers periodically can uncover new ways to attract, engage and delight them, thereby opening up new opportunities that will make a positive impact on your business.
Buyer persona research should be part of your marketing audit, since the results can help you evaluate and improve everything else you do.
Sometimes we get so busy with our own day to day tasks that we forget to check out what the competition is doing. Knowledge is power and if you are aware of what your biggest competitors are doing (from both a marketing and product/service perspective), you can be prepared to overcome those challenges in sales conversations.
When to audit?
Performing a marketing audit should not be a painful task. It should also not be a one and done exercise. A good marketing plan is built and delivered in a way that it can be consistently measured and analyzed, so you’re always looking for ways to improve and optimize. If you are reviewing marketing reports monthly, you should have a very good idea of the impact and results from your efforts. Layering on the buyer and competition audits a few times a year will help you set goals and shift strategies as needed.
Would you like to talk more about auditing your marketing efforts? Happy to offer a free 20-minute consultation, call me at 973.214.5942 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.