1. Determine What You’ll Be Auditing
Will you need a comprehensive audit or a systematic audit? Choosing the type of marketing audit will also determine what exactly you will be auditing.
Many companies that run internal marketing audits will seek out third-party assistance to perform a comprehensive marketing audit. These audits help businesses see and understand aspects of their marketing campaigns, such as ROI, lead generation effectiveness, or customer engagement rates, for example.
Fledgling companies or those who don't have the resources or defined marketing departments will often benefit from a systematic marketing audit. These audits typically go deeper than assessing the data from channels like email and organic marketing.
Systematic audits evaluate a company's marketing infrastructure, processes, and marketing plan. Deciding on what you need and what your marketing goals are will help determine the type of audit you need.
2. Identify Goals
You know what the goals for your marketing campaign are, and an audit is how you determine if they are being met. That also means that before you begin, it is also necessary to define the goals of the audit.
Do you find out how or where to improve the customer journey aspects of your marketing program? Do you want to see which of your social media campaigns are performing well, and those that are not? Do your customer personas need an update? A systematic marketing audit offers detailed information and answers to questions like these.
Comprehensive audits are most often used to get definitive and insightful data regarding the overall performance and environment of a marketing program. If you want to see how your customer acquisition campaign is doing or what your ROI for the year is, run a comprehensive marketing audit.
When setting your goals, they need to be well-defined. That means they should be clear and measurable. For example, is X marketing channel meeting the threshold of X leads in order for it to be a worthwhile investment?
3. Establish Customer Personas
Who are you marketing to? What does your audience like? What don't they like? Those are questions that lead back to understanding more about your audience, customers, and potential clients. It is also a great way to save time, energy, and resources from being spent on fruitless marketing campaigns that are being served to people who wouldn’t be interested in your offerings in the first place.
These are also the reasons why it is important to establish customer personas for your business and marketing plan. In fact, an effective audit needs well-developed customer personas. But what is a customer persona exactly?
A customer persona is a character created as a representation of a company's target audience. Generally speaking, there are several customer personas created to represent the various segments of the target audience. These personas can also be cited as primary, secondary, and so on.
Depending on your audience, customer personas commonly center around the following traits:
- Age range
- Income range
- Occupational status
These are only a few of the characteristics that can make up a customer persona. Once you have your customer personas set up, it is time to look at the competition.
4. Identify Your Competition
For an effective marketing audit, you need to know who you’re competing against. This can help you get a baseline for where you need to be, what channels you should be looking at, where your marketing efforts should be focused, and ways you can stand out.
Some questions that you may want to consider when completing a competitive analysis audit include:
- What is your competition doing that works?
- How are they positioning their offerings?
- What channels are they putting most marketing efforts into?
- Who are the new competitors to keep an eye out for?
While the marketing strategy audit is about you and how your business is doing, evaluating the competition is another source of data that can help you draw those conclusions.
5. Gather Data
The most important element in the marketing audit process is data. How and where you collect data will depend on your systems, marketing plan, and resources.
This data might look like the number of hits per ad, the percentage of customer engagement, or the number of organic leads from specific campaigns.
From the outside, these might simply appear as interesting facts or trends. For those who understand and who know how to use this data, though, this information tells an entire story. How are your customer conversation rates looking? Are you experiencing greater traffic and increased revenue from your latest marketing campaign?
Without information like this, it is difficult to determine the success of your marketing program. The data and information you collect from your marketing program will unveil key insights into the strengths and weaknesses of your current strategy.
6. Evaluate the Information Gathered
All of the data that’s gathered throughout the course of the audit should then be analyzed. A successful marketing audit should yield key takeaways. Auditors will consider each piece of data individually as well as how it all works together in terms of big-picture performance.
Generally speaking, the different components of your marketing efforts are all interrelated. This is another reason why working with an experienced third-party auditor is key; they understand those relationships and can make recommendations accordingly.
How the data is evaluated will be guided by the goals of your marketing efforts and your marketing audit. Once you begin to understand the data and what it is saying, it is time to take the actionable steps that make it count.
What to Do Once You Have Your Audit Results
Now that you have your audit results, you have access to insights into how your marketing efforts are performing and where improvements can be made. Your audit provides actionable insights, eliminating a lot of the guesswork about how to move forward to create a more effective marketing strategy.
For example, if campaigns on a specific channel aren’t bringing in leads, one of the takeaways may be to redirect that spend to a channel where you tend to see a lot of results. You may also find that there are missed opportunities that you’d then want to incorporate into your strategy going forward.
With your audit results, you’re empowered to make informed decisions about marketing.