A Marketing Audit is the First Step to Your Marketing Strategy

Marketing audit

All of my new client relationships begin with a marketing audit. It’s not the sexiest package to sell or buy on the outset, but the insights and discoveries I uncover become the foundation for business growth for years to come.

This isn’t an exaggeration. When I first started my business, I conducted a small marketing audit for Bozeman Brewing. They were about to bring on a new team member, and they were unsure which tactics were working to bring in customers and which were not.

Where it all started

I recently caught up with Mark Bergstrom, Bozeman Brewing’s sales rep. I asked him for a review and wanted to know how they’re using the audit a few years later. This is what he said:

“We have definitely made improvements to our marketing program and are continuing to see improved results and it all started with an audit from Katie.” 

My marketing audits have become more sophisticated as I’ve dived deeper into the world of marketing strategy. And with that, the marketing audit acts to not only allow a company to take it’s bearings, but also as a strong foundation for the entire business.

What is a Marketing Audit?

BusinessJargons.com defines a marketing audit as:

… the comprehensive, systematic, analysis, evaluation and the interpretation of the business marketing environment, both internal and external, its goals, objectives, strategies, principles to ascertain the areas of problem and opportunities and to recommend a plan of action to enhance the firm’s marketing performance.

In simple terms a marketing audit is an objective and systematic evaluation of all your marketing efforts, the business’s position in the market, and how well your tactics support your overall goals and objectives.

Here’s what a marketing audit really does:

  • Brings marketing decision makers and organizers up to the 10,000 ft view. It shows you how your marketing efforts are currently supporting your organization’s goals, and where they are straying.
  • Discovers missed and future opportunities for growth and allows you to plan for them.
  • Takes the emotion and guesswork out of marketing. It provides an objective evaluation of your efforts so you can make fact-based decisions.
  • Offers opportunities to course correct and map out the future.
  • Shows where your business fits in the market so you can make strategic decisions to capitalize on that space or shift to fill a new one.

When Should You Conduct a Marketing Audit?

I’ve never heard of a business conducting too many marketing audits. More likely they aren’t done enough. There are events in a business’s life that warrant an audit more than others, so here is what you should consider:

  • Have you been in business for more than one year and haven’t had an audit?
  • Is your business about to enter a phase of heavy growth?
  • Is your business coming out of a phase of heavy growth?
  • Have you had a marketing audit in the past three years?
  • Have you begun working with a new strategist or agency?

A yes to any of these, and it’s time to consider a deep dive into your marketing strategy.

Who Should Conduct a Marketing Audit?

Most often, it’s more advantageous to hire an outside expert. You could accuse me of being biased and trying to sell you a service, and you wouldn’t be completely wrong.

But, you wouldn’t ask a family member (who isn’t an accountant) to audit your finances. If you want to make progress fast, hire an outside expert.

If you haven’t had someone outside your company take a look at your marketing and business goals, chances are your own blind spots and biases are going to miss something.

Yes, it can be uncomfortable to allow someone into your company to evaluate you and to share data and financials with. 

A real professional is not judging you personally. If they’re like me, they are more excited about the possibilities and the low hanging fruit they discover that can help you make gains quickly. I am also not shy about signing NDAs and never discuss the internal workings of my clients. 

When Can You Conduct an Audit Internally?

If you just want a basic idea of what’s going on or a way to take a peek into your business between big audits, an internal audit works well.

I have a quick and dirty marketing assessment you can download and use to check in each month or quarter (Yes, you’ll be added to my email list, but you can always unsubscribe and I don’t send many emails).

    If you find yourself spending more than an hour on this worksheet, it’s time for an outside audit.

    Marketing Audits Are Your Compass

    Think of the audit as your compass. The longer it’s been since you’ve taken stock of your marketing, the more likely it is you’re walking in circles. The audit allows you not only to get back on track, but to say no to the opportunities that will bring you back to the start and yes to the opportunities that will move you forward.

    As a marketing expert, I want to know a company inside and out. There have been many times that I’ve been a few months into a contract and discovered something I should have known at the start of our work together.

    My clients hire me because of my ability to see how all pieces of their business and marketing work together, but I can’t do my job effectively if I don’t know all the moving parts. 

    If this post has convinced you it’s time to take your marketing bearings, and you’re interested in a marketing audit, you can learn more on this page or schedule a discovery call here. Have questions or want to reach out? Send me an email.

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