It’s that time of year where you reflect back on the past 12 months, and think about what enhancements you can make next year. Since you’re in reflection mode anyway, it’s a good time for an audit....Don’t be scared! It’s time for a marketing audit.
A marketing audit is an integral part of your marketing planning process. It happens throughout the process at a series of points during the implementation of the plan. Audits include the evaluation your current marketing approach, actions, goals and campaign results.
Marketing audits are a 360 degree view of your company’s marketing & communication efforts so you can have a deeper understanding of where your business is now. The purpose of a marketing audit is not to criticize particular activities or staff member, but rather to identify whether the message and strategy could be more effective.
I don’t recommend starting any new marketing campaign without doing some sort of audit to gauge what’s resonated and where you need to go next. Otherwise, you run the risk that your marketing plan will not use the allocated budget wisely.
Why It Matters:
During a marketing audit you’ll take a long, hard look and review things like: customer experiences and your target audience, your competitors, and your current place in the market. At the end of the audit, you’ll be better informed about the success and (what I like to call) areas of improvement aka ‘failures’) of previous marketing activities, which is invaluable in developing a successful marketing strategy to exceed business goals in the future.
A good marketing audit doesn’t just look at facts and figures, but also looks at your business strengths and weaknesses from a customer’s point of view. An impartial market research exercise will help you gain clarity of what your customers really think.
The key is to understand where your strengths align with what customers find most important so you can tweak your message to speak more clearly to prospects who need the same thing. By involving your customers through surveys, interviews, and even focus groups you can learn why they buy from your organization, and perhaps why people don’t.
Even more important from a customer experience perspective is the weaknesses your audit reveals. The performance of your marketing will affect customer relationships and market opportunities. So having clear direction and openings for action will help you to improve your experience and make your customers even happier!
It is really useful to know what customers like and do not like about your brand so you can help develop and improve your products, services and messaging further.
Steps for a DIY Marketing Audit:
Consistency is key! Have you ever heard of a cool product, but when you went to look up the company things didn’t look quite right. Their website looks out-of-date or doesn’t load properly, the phone number you called doesn’t work, or the email you sent never got a reply? It’s confusing and makes a prospect think you’re not reputable. Not a good place to start especially when you’re trying to earn someone’s business!
So what’s a company to do? Here are a few pieces of an audit you can do on your own:
Check contact information! Are you using active email addresses, phone numbers (unless you have unique phone numbers for tracking current ads), and is your business address correct?
Have you done a rebrand? If so, make sure old pages are removed and that your new logos and imagery are what is shown.
Look at your fonts. Are you using consistent fonts for the business? Double check! This includes your company email signatures. You’d be amazed how many times I see the fonts and even colors are completely different from members on your staff. Here’s another tip: make sure the fonts are easy to read and that they show on various browsers and on mobile.
Ask people about your brand taglines. This will also get you in the habit of promoting your business! The goal here is to make sure people understand clearly what you do. The feedback you get can help hone your message & create an easy to digest elevator pitch for your company.
Check your website and sign up for your own email list! When you look at them, do they look how you want? Is everything readable? For your emails are they going into your inbox or spam?
How Often Should You Do a Marketing Audit?
Because of the constantly changing environment, you’ll probably do small marketing audits frequently throughout the year. But I recommend you devote time & resources to perform a complete audit every year.
When was the last time you did an audit of your marketing? Well, it’s time! Charisma Communications can provide a fresh pair of eyes and an outsider's view into your previous marketing activities and assess your performance against your competitors. We can also help take steps to be cohesive with your marketing materials and enhance your marketing strategy.
If you are interested in Charisma Communications conducting a marketing audit or finding out how a marketing audit can give you competitive advantage, please contact us today!