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I don’t know about you, but for me, December is always the time of the year when I set some time aside for evaluating the past 12 months. I check what I’ve managed to complete and I analyze where I could have done better.
You could use a similar approach to your marketing strategy. The end of the year is the perfect moment to review your efforts and see what could be optimized in 2019.
So, sit back and check whether you can apply some of my tips to your projects. In today’s post, you’ll learn how to properly organize your annual (or first, if you’ve never done one) marketing audit.
Let’s start with the very basics.
What is a marketing audit
A marketing audit is an action of checking how are all of your marketing efforts performing against your overall goals. It may time-consuming at first, but after you’ve developed and tweaked your audit template, you'll find it easy to use it for catching any flaws in your strategy or marketing execution.
What's important, you shouldn't treated a marketing audit as a crisis management method. The marketing checkups should be conducted regularly even if things are going according to plan.
The elements of a marketing audit
Now, you may be wondering which things to check and monitor. Before you’ll dive in, take a look at this list of all the things that you should assess.
You can divide it into 3 segments. Making an inventory of all of these will help you update and improve your overall marketing strategy.
Internal marketing environment
- Marketing organization audit
- Marketing function audit
- Marketing channels audit
Marketing organization audit is where you check the structure of your marketing team and how different responsibilities are spread across it. You may also check the structure against the your current business model and plan changes based on that.
Marketing function audit focuses on reviewing the core capabilities of your business. Here’s where you’ll need to take a look at your product, its brand voice, and your pricing policy. This is also when you assess your product’s USP (Unique Selling Proposition) by looking at how it differentiates from your competitors’ tools.
Marketing channels audit is all about checking the impact of your marketing channels. Analyze where are you communicating with your current and potential users. Review how effective the channels are when compared with your goals and KPIs. Some of the channels you may want to look at include: your landing page, social media, newsletters, and blog.
External marketing environment
Once you have your internal assets and factors covered and reviewed, it’s time to take a look at the external components that are shaping your product and marketing strategy. Here’s how you should approach it:
- Task environment audit
- Macro-environment audit
Task environment audit includes a few different elements as well. You’ll need to review the current state of the market and industry you’re in. Take into account their specific components such as the audience segmentation, targeting, and behavior, and see how your company fits into this larger picture.
Macro-environment audit requires you to look at a number of factors outside of your company and the general industry. These are demographic, cultural, economic, and political aspects of the market you’re operating within.
For both of these audits, you can also use methods such as SWOT analysis or PEST (I’ve written about these in more details in my post about partner marketing outreach).
Current marketing strategy audit
Finally, there’s also the third pillar of your marketing audit: your current strategy and productivity. How well are your campaigns performing? Which tactics work best for your business? Here’s where you’ll find answers to these questions:
- Marketing strategy audit
- Marketing productivity audit
Marketing strategy audit is when you look at your business from a macro perspective. Here you’ll have to evaluate your mission and marketing objectives. You may also want to check your KPIs - how do they currently compared with what you’ve planned for?
Marketing productivity audit is all about reviewing the effectiveness of each of your campaigns and channels. How are they influencing the user conversion rate? You may need to look at your short- and long-term activation funnels.
4 steps to a powerful marketing audit
Now we’ve got the theory out of the way, let’s go back to the practical aspect of your 2018’s marketing audit. Where do you start, and what steps should you take to complete the analysis and reassess your overall strategy? Here’s how you do it.
Step #1: Set your goals
Start by setting your objectives and deciding why you’re making the audit, and what type of knowledge you want to get from it. Also, plan your next steps before you’ll dive in. You should know how you will act on it even before you’ll start looking at any of your marketing assets. It all may sound counterintuitive at first but it's important to dive into reviewing with the right mindset and set objectives beforehand.
If you’re working with a larger team of marketers, discuss it with each member who will be responsible for every element of the audit, presenting it to the rest of the company, and executing next steps.
Step #2: Collect the data
Once the objectives, next steps, and responsibilities are set, it's time to collect your data and assess if you can see any recurring patterns.
Depending on your current tool setup, you could use solutions such as Google Analytics, Mixpanel, or Amplitude to review the current state of your marketing communications. If you want to dig even deeper, you may as well send a brand equity survey to your customers. This way, you will be able to review how your business is perceived, and how it affects your marketing processes.
Step #3: Review your results
Now, it’s time to analyze your data and plan your next steps in more details. Which of your marketing activities should you ax? Which ones have the highest conversion ratio? When planning these changes, make sure that you’ve looked into both qualitative (from user surveys and interviews) and quantitative data (from Google Analytics and the likes).
If you’re setting your KPIs for the first time, you may follow a good practice of looking at industry benchmarks. When analyzing these, don’t forget that the surveyed companies may have unequal advantages, or be influenced by other nontrackable factors you might not be aware of.
Step #4: Decide on the next steps
Phew, you've almost completed your marketing audit! You may feel tempted to skip the last step, but I encourage you not to. Reviewing your data and making a list of next steps will not only give you something to work towards in 2019 but also can help you tweak your overall marketing strategy. Even if you are not surprised by the results of your audit, I’m more than sure that it will be an excellent learning experience and will support you throughout the year in optimizing the small things you never had to chance to take a closer look at.
Over to you
As I’ve mentioned before, evaluating what you’ve been able to achieve in 2018 and what’s ahead of you and your time in 2019 is a perfect way to spend the next few weeks.
How do you approach marketing audits, and what tweaks are you planning to make to your marketing strategy?
I’m looking forward to discussing these topics in the comments below!