A marketing audit is a comprehensive, systematic analysis of the business marketing environment of an organization, both internal and external. It covers the organization's goals, objectives, strategies, and principles in order to identify any problems or areas of opportunity and recommend a course of action that best suits the needs of the business.
You may be asking yourself why a marketing audit is even necessary in the first place. A marketing audit is an incredibly useful tool that marketers can use in order to fully understand the current marketing ecosystem at their disposal, formulate a distinct marketing strategy, and solve any underlying issues that may be revealed through the audit process.
A marketing audit provides management with an in-depth look at the marking operations of the business, which enables them to evaluate the performance, budget, and resources available to the department as a whole. A well-conducted marketing audit will highlight any areas that are performing well, as well as those that are not up to par. Ultimately, a marketing audit enables decision makers within an organization to make major decisions based on facts, analysis, and data that will support the overarching goals of the business.
Who Is Responsible for Conducting a Marketing Audit?
Typically, it's best for a marketing audit to be conducted by a third party that is not a member of the organization. This eliminates any inherent biases and often results in the most constructive analysis of the organization. Regardless of who actually conducts the audit, however, a few things should be top of mind.
Components of a Successful Marketing Audit
- The audit needs to be comprehensive. An audit should cover all areas of marketing, not just areas where a problem is already perceived or areas that the team knows they excel in. A holistic audit is the best way to uncover opportunities and can highlight previously unknown areas of strength.
- The audit needs to be systematic. Order and efficiency are key elements of a successful marketing audit. To ensure that your audit doesn't have any gaps, you need to account for each and every environment, principle, strategy, and operation in your organization.
- The audit needs to be regular and recurring. Some companies only conduct an audit when things are going horribly wrong, but as we all know, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Conducting periodic marketing audits enables your team to discover problems early and solve them.
How to Conduct a Marketing Audit
Step 1: Describe All Marketing Goals and Objectives
Your marketing goals should be comprehensive and well thought out. Marketing goals should be SMART and align with overarching business objectives.
Some examples of key marketing objectives include:
- Increasing company visibility
- Increasing audience size
- Differentiating from competition
- Increasing or maintaining market share
- Generating qualified sales leads
- Increasing usage among existing customers
Be sure to create both long-term and short-term goals. Long-term goals should be able to be accomplished within the next two years and be listed in the order of their priority. Short-term goals should be anything that can be accomplished within the next 12 months, ordered by priority, and keeping in mind available company resources such as time, budget, and personnel.
Step 2: Create Your Customer Personas
If you haven't created detailed buyer personas for your ideal buyer, take this opportunity to do so.
Your ideal buyer persona should include things like:
- Job titles or functions
- Geographic location
- Company size
- Other demographic, ethnic, or behavioral descriptions
Step 3: Identify the Competition
Name the top 3–5 competitors in your industry. Note their business information, such as the company name, website, and headquarters location. Make a comprehensive list of all their products and services, and note each that overlaps with your own products and services.
Step 4: Describe Your Products and Services
Be sure to include all features, benefits, pricing, sizing, and distribution methods for each product and service that you offer. Analyze how each of your products or services compares to your top competitor(s). Detail the various strengths and weaknesses, as well as any historical data you may have regarding your market share, customer perception, and overall performance of each item as it compares to the competition.
Step 5: Map Out Your Inventory
Create a detailed document that contains all of your current marketing assets. Compile and catalog all of your brand materials and marketing collateral. Start with a site map of your website and a spreadsheet that contains pertinent information about each item. Some things to include are:
- Name of the asset
- Category or topic
- Target buyer persona
- Broken links
- 404 errors
- Duplicate content
- Traffic by channel
- Click-through rate
- Page views
- Shares by network
- Content length
- Content type
- Organic position by keyword
- Page speed
- Bounce rate
Step 6: Analyze Data and Draw Conclusions
Once you've assembled and documented all of your data, you should have a pretty clear picture of your company's standing. Identify areas of strength and weakness as you analyze each section of your marketing audit. Keep detailed notes about anything you see that you'd like to improve upon or keep doing well.
Step 7: Make a Plan and Put It into Action
After analyzing the results of your marketing audit, you can make more informed decisions about how to move forward. Your action plan should start by solving any issues that were identified during the audit:
- Address all site penalties, such as broken links, or 404 errors.
- Resolve any analytics-tracking issues.
- Identify gaps in existing content.
Next, address any areas that could be quick wins for the marketing team:
- Identify any opportunities that are easily within grasp, such as organic search terms or relevant backlinks.
- Optimize pages and metadata that already have high conversion rates.
Protect your brand by doing the following:
- Optimize and refresh any and all social media channels.
- Reclaim any brand mentions by requesting backlinks.
- Respond to reviews on Yelp, Google My Business, and any other online directories relevant to your industry.
Plan for the future:
- Update your brand guidelines, messaging, and voice.
- Identify opportunities for CRO and UX to increase your metrics.
- Research any upcoming networking, publication, and industry-specific opportunities.
With a detailed marketing audit under your belt, you'll be ready to give out strategic marching orders that align with your marketing goals and business needs.