During tax season many business owners focus on the auditing of their books and are on bended knees praying for a green light from their auditing team, but an area that is often overlooked is their marketing audit.
Similar to a traditional audit, your marketing audit is intended to be a comprehensive review of your marketing strategy, implementation, current programs and existing results. While many companies tend to settle for a set it and go plan, this often leads to unaligned goals and haphazard results at the end of the fiscal year.
For example, a sales review is held in some companies monthly and in others quarterly for a review on how sales goals are aligning and course correction plans are doled out as needed.
When marketing audits are conducted on a regular basis, this makes for a stronger company strategy and provides a better opportunity for yearly priorities to be met.
Here are a few suggestions on how to begin with an annual marketing audit and how to gain stronger more impactful results.
- Conduct a high-level review
Begin by conducting a high-level review of your existing programs and look at what’s working and what’s not working. But the important principle to employ here is called “Prioritize and Execute, which is a navy seal technique popularized by the New York times bestselling book “Extreme Ownership”. The highlight of this principle is that while you may uncover multiple items that appear to need immediate help, prioritize the #1 item and work to fix and execute that item first. What you’ll find is rather than spreading resources thin and uprooting your entire marketing plan, you can execute on the top priority and bring that one item into alignment and move on to the other items that may need tweaking.
- Research and analyze
An important factor to now identify is whether the market has shifted, does the consumer have more alternatives or is your product falling short of what the consumer needs. If any of these questions start bearing fruit and you find yourself inundated with data. Here is where you need to take a step back and truly sift through the data to uncover what it’s telling you.
While this may seem like a daunting task, an experienced marketing strategist, can help make sense of this plethora of information and can be there to help provide advice and encourage a trajectory that makes sense. One of many strategies that are employed during this step is growth hacking, which uses a process of rapid experimentation to elicit better results.
Check out this video that explains this technique a little clearer:
An important distinction that must be made is while this example references a startup, this technique can used for business of all shapes and sizes.
3. Where to look and what matters
For many organizations out there, business models will vary widely and who your customers are can be as different as apples and tomatoes, but the advice that remains the same is to conduct a full check from top to bottom. While some marketing audits only focus on outbound programs, it is also wise to review performance of your website, landing pages, outbound/inbound messaging, customer interface points, marketing and sales collateral pieces and existing advertising and marketing programs.
Every touchpoint your company has with the customer matters and in order to determine if there is a leak somewhere in your existing program a full checkup is always recommended.
4.The Audit is complete now what
After the audit is done, the best thing to do is to go back to step 1 and Prioritize and execute. Too often we see where clients receive their marketing audit data and fail to act, only to have sup-par results delivered at the end of the fiscal year. Being successful in today’s economy requires the ability to prioritize, pivot and act. Don’t let this financial year, close out with another unrealized set of financial goals and a lackluster marketing plan.
About the Author : Fabian is a brand strategist with over 20 years of marketing and creative experience working with companies in a variety of industries such as liquor, retail, food, government and finance. His strategy involves learning your business from the inside out and providing a bespoke plan to achieve your designated objectives.