What is a marketing audit?
A marketing audit is an evaluation of the effectiveness and efficiency of a business’s current marketing strategy. It’s conducted in order to better understand marketing performance, identify opportunities for improvement and develop new strategies that will meet objectives and KPIs better.
When conducting a marketing audit, it’s important to consider both quantitative and qualitative data for a comprehensive overview of performance. This includes looking at results such as sales, customer feedback and marketing spend. From a qualitative perspective, it means evaluating elements such as the success of a brand’s messaging, marketing formats and the processes involved.
A marketing audit typically reviews the following marketing elements:
Channels of distribution
Product and service offerings
Marketing metrics (such as ROI)
What is the benefit of a marketing audit?
The goal of a marketing audit is to clearly identify areas for improvement within a marketing strategy. This way, businesses know which marketing tactics can be adjusted and what new elements can be implemented for optimization. A marketing audit also helps track marketing investments, ensuring a brand’s resources are being allocated in the most effective way possible.
Conducting such an audit is an essential part of making sure a brand's marketing efforts are aligned with organizational goals. It's generally recommended to perform marketing audits on an annual basis. This frequency helps businesses stay up-to-date on the latest marketing trends, technologies and strategies in order to ensure their endeavors remain relevant and effective.
The 5 main elements of a marketing audit
By conducting marketing audits, businesses will gain valuable insights into their performance and identify areas for improvement. It consists of five main elements: market segmentation, positioning, targeting strategy, branding and pricing strategy:
Market segmentation: This is the process of dividing a larger market into smaller groups that have similar characteristics and needs. Marketing segmentation helps tailor campaigns to these specific segments in order to better meet the audience’s needs and preferences.
Positioning: Brand positioning is the process of fostering a certain perception, image or identity of a brand in the minds of the target audience. This is achieved by ensuring its marketing campaigns highlight the brand’s unique features and benefits compared to their competitors.
Targeting: A targeting strategy involves selecting specific markets to engage with a brand’s marketing efforts. It includes developing marketing materials that are specifically catered to the needs of these markets.
Branding: The art of branding is essential for creating an emotional connection with customers in order to differentiate a business from competitors. It includes developing messaging, visual assets and materials that are unique and memorable.
Pricing strategy: This involves setting prices aimed at generating maximum profits while considering customer needs. Strategic pricing includes developing ways to show customers a brand’s value, and encourage them to purchase products or services.
Types of marketing audits
There are several types of marketing audits businesses can conduct, depending on specific needs:
External marketing audits: These involve evaluating marketing efforts from an outside perspective in order to gain insights into how they’re perceived by customers and stakeholders.
Internal marketing audits: These involve an internal review of a company's marketing strategies, objectives and tactics to evaluate their effectiveness. An internal marketing audit looks at all aspects of marketing—from strategic planning, product and customer analysis, to metrics like sales, revenue and performance. This might also include a budget analysis and an audit of marketing tools.
Competitive marketing audits: A competitive marketing audit is an analysis of a business's marketing strategies in relation to those of its competitors. This type of marketing audit, also known as a marketing environment analysis, evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of each competitor while taking into consideration internal and external influences in the market. From there, a business will identify areas where the business can gain a competitive advantage.
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What methods are used during a marketing audit?
The following methods are commonly used by businesses to audit the strength of their marketing efforts:
1. SWOT analysis is used to assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of a business or project according to a specific formula.
2. Competitor analysis is the process of evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of a company's competitors in order to gain a competitive edge. This can also help companies understand their competitive advantage, if any.
3. Customer surveys and feedback are used to gather information about customer satisfaction, preferences and opinions.
4. Market research will allow businesses to collect data in order to analyze a market and its target audience.
5. Key performance indicators (KPIs) are metrics used to measure the success of a marketing campaign or strategy.
6. Sales and revenue tracking entails monitoring the performance of a business by tracking sales and revenue over time.
7. Brand awareness and perception measure how well a brand is known and how it is perceived by its target audience.
8. Social media analytics are specific tools used to track and analyze social media activity, including engagement, reach and sentiment.
9 elements to include in your own marketing audit template
Is a marketing audit in your business’s future? We recommend creating a template that provides stakeholders with a complete arsenal of data for optimization. It should outline the reasons behind the marketing audit and the elements under review, including:
1. An Introduction: A brief overview describing the purpose of the marketing audit and the scope of analysis.
2. Background on the internal environment: An assessment of your business's internal resources, including its staff, budget, strategy and processes.
3. External environment: An evaluation of the external factors that affect your business, such as the market, competition and regulations. This could also include research and information on the industry’s economic climate and rising trends.
4. Customer analysis: An in-depth look at your target audience, including demographic information, purchasing habits and motivations. Depending on the context, this can either come from existing internal data or require external research.
5. Marketing mix: An examination of your business’s 4 Ps of marketing, including product, price, place and promotion.
6. SWOT analysis: A review of your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
7. Marketing performance: An analysis of your previous and current marketing results, including sales, market share, customer satisfaction and marketing ROI. This should be organized in a way that highlights how your marketing KPIs are being met.
8. Recommendations: Suggestions for improving your business’s marketing strategy and performance.
9. Conclusion: A summary of the key findings from your marketing audit and a detailed description of the next steps your business will take.