Marketing is about more than just talking the talk — you need to show that your campaigns get results. The best way to measure this isn’t through a gut feeling, it’s through a marketing audit. But how do you conduct an audit on the right results, or know what to change when something isn’t stacking up? Let’s take a look at some of the basics of marketing audits and how to conduct them with best practices.
What Is a Marketing Audit?
A marketing audit is a full exploration and analysis of the entire marketing environment of an organization, assessing everything from strategies and targets to specific marketing activities. The goal of a marketing audit is to assess how effective your efforts are, identify anywhere your strategy may be lacking, and gain insights into improving your business’s return on investment.
A marketing audit’s depth can be based on relative priority. It can be as broad as covering an entire organization or as niche as a singular department or campaign. A well-conducted marketing audit will enable marketers to base their decisions on objective evidence rather than gut feeling or internal response.
The four characteristics of a successful marketing audit are the following:
- Audits are performed on a regular basis.
- The audit should apply to the entire company’s marketing activities.
- The audit examined the business’s strategies, goals, and internal marketing systems in a consistent step-by-step process.
- Audits should either be conducted by experts within the company or an independent consultant.
Marketing Audit vs Assessment vs Analysis
There are a lot of buzzwords that surround the marketing audit process, which can lead to some confusion as to what a marketing audit truly means. Marketing is too critical to your organization to misunderstand or potentially misinterpret this process and get it wrong. Let’s break down the differences between some of the buzzwords you may be hearing and take a look at what they really mean.
A marketing analysis breaks down each marketing component to better understand how they work together. There are typically two types of analysis: environment and gap. An environmental analysis breaks down the various factors that define the competitive environment of an industry. A gap analysis showcases where the whole may be falling short, breaking down the difference between where your company’s efforts are now vs where you want them to be. A gap analysis is often part of a much larger audit as it helps you evaluate and define recommended next strategic steps.
Audits, by nature of their purpose, have a hand in doing both. However, they don’t go deeper into a level of detail you may get from a gap or environmental analysis. For example, gaps and conformities may naturally be brought to light through an audit, but that doesn’t mean they’re fully analyzed or corrected as part of the audit. A healthy organization will use all three of these aspects to their full advantage to consistently check the pulse of the organization.
Benefits of Performing Regular Audits
There are several reasons to make marketing audits a regular part of your business’s best practice routine.
- Catch mistakes and errors early in the launch — When you release a new strategy, it’s vital to check for any errors or mistakes early. This can help you stay on track before you get too into the campaign and risk damage to your business’s brand. By monitoring your campaign efforts early, you can halt or change any moves that aren’t panning out. A little TLC at the beginning of a long campaign can protect your business’s bottom line and reputation in the long haul!
- Pinpoint tactics that aren’t working — We like to think every strategic marketing campaign is going to be a winner. And there’s nothing wrong with that optimism, but the reality is that where there are some home runs, there are bound to be some fouls. Using a marketing audit early in a campaign can pinpoint tactics that aren’t resonating. Paired with the step above, you can swiftly pivot and focus more on the strategy that is working for a stronger outcome.
- Gain insights for the future — By identifying what is working and what isn’t, you can quickly find your strengths and weaknesses within the market. This invaluable data can help you design a marketing approach that is effective and forward-looking for the future. You’ll not only design a marketing strategy that better services your audience, but one that speaks to your strengths as an organization as well.
How to Implement a Comprehensive Marketing Audit
Now that we know what an audit is and how it can benefit your organization, let’s spend some time fleshing out the key components of a successful marketing audit. These points should be top of mind when conducting your audit, and without these components, your audit may not be as strong as it should be.
Your audit must be comprehensive. Your audit should cover all areas of your marketing, not just the areas you already know you have problems with. Glossing over your entire environment to focus on one specific area leads to the potential of you missing out on uncovering new issues you wouldn’t have known before. A holistic approach to your audit can uncover opportunities and highlight areas of strength you may not have known were there before.
Your audit must be objective. If you go into an audit with some biases, you’re going to skew the results. Your audit should be totally unbiased and conducted with a predefined structure tailored to the scope of the audit. This can be either conducted in-house or through a third party for the best results.
Your audit must occur regularly and be recurring. A marketing audit shouldn’t be performed once you already know you have problems. Conducting regular audits enables your team to uncover hidden opportunities and strengths that you can use to your advantage.
7 Steps to Performing a Marketing Audit
Having better knowledge of what a marketing audit generally looks like can help you better understand its value. While the following steps are only a few basic components of the process, it’s important to remember that the specifics of conducting a marketing audit will vary depending on your industry.
1. Determine your scope. First and foremost, you need to determine what kind of audit you’ll be running. A comprehensive audit, or a systematic audit? Both will gain different results. Deciding what you need and what your marketing goals are will help determine what kind of audit you need.
2. Confirm goals and objectives. Confirm that all marketing objectives for this process are well documented in a standard, accessible location along with at least one goal objective. At a minimum, all goals should be defined for the short term (1-3 years), with additional attention to medium-term (3-7 years) and long-term (7-10+ years) goals if applicable. Define any key performance indicators (KPIs) that are linked to these goals. The metrics you gather within this audit will predict how likely you are to achieve these goals, and help you pivot if you need to reassess.
3. Determine your current performance data. Determine current performance and performance gaps during the audit. How performance is tracked and accessed should be easily understood by those performing the audit and referenceable to key decision makers. This data can be compared to monthly, quarterly, and yearly data to see how you stack up.
4. Ensure marketing processes and procedures are documented. Auditing a marketing procedure does little to help us unless we know the steps of what’s being conducted. If we have a poor understanding of how and why we’re making the decisions we are, it makes it difficult to explain the results. Without this information, it can be impossible to identify errors and make valuable changes.
The documentation doesn’t need to be exhaustive, because that would take up precious time. However, it should be enough for those responsible for executing or overseeing the audit to understand the process of how things work. If there’s any debate on the process during the audit, it’s a potential red flag that your procedures aren’t being upheld.
5. Identify audience personas. Who is it you’re marketing to? What does your audience like? What don’t they like? It’s important to know all of these questions to better understand your audience, customers, and potential clients. Knowing this information will also prevent you from spending money on campaigns, and marketing to people who don’t want your services or product anyway. Ideal personas should include:
- Job title or function
- Geographic location
- Company size
- Motivations, objections, and aspirations
- Behaviors such as buying habits and what media channels they frequent
These are only a few of the characteristics that can make up a customer persona. Once you have your customer personas completed, you can better understand how to proposition yourself in the marketplace.
6. Verify budgets and resources. The number one killer of a marketing campaign is being under budget. Having a dedicated budget to your plan helps you account for your organization’s broader budget and how marketing fits into the ecosystem. You should be willing to invest in getting customers to pay attention to your brand.
7. Evaluate your findings. Once you’ve gathered all the following information, you should have a pretty clear picture of your company’s standing. Be sure to report on areas where you’re excelling, and where you’re falling short. After reviewing the data you’ve gathered, you can make better-informed decisions about where your company can focus its efforts.
Once you complete your marketing audit, you have the actionable insights to eliminate the guesswork of how to move forward with where to take your brand next.
Quick Tips for Your Audit
Now that we know what a marketing audit is and the basics it’s made of, let’s take a look at some quick-hit best practices that will help you make the most out of your audit experience.
- Highlight marketing techniques and strategies that work effectively.
- Suggest solutions that include both short-term and long-term goals.
- Don’t just gather data and stop there. Define specific actions and steps to solve problems identified to meet those marketing objectives.
- Document everything that comes out of the audit to have for future reference.
By following these best practices, you will set your company up for success whenever you conduct an audit. Say goodbye to any confusion and hello to conversions!
Supercharge Your Marketing Audit with CRM Insights
HubSpot CRM plays a crucial role in conducting successful marketing audits. The platform provides a comprehensive view of a business’s marketing performance, enabling marketers to assess the effectiveness of their marketing efforts, identify any gaps or areas for improvement, and gain insights into how to improve their return on investment. HubSpot CRM's reporting and analytics features allow for easy monitoring of campaigns, identifying what is working and what isn't, and quickly finding strengths and weaknesses within the market.
How to Set Up HubSpot CRM for Your First Audit
To take full advantage of HubSpot's powerful marketing automation capabilities, it's important to ensure that your marketing efforts are properly integrated with the HubSpot CRM. One of the key elements of successful integration is ensuring that your website is properly set up with the necessary tracking and analytics tools.
First, you'll want to make sure that your website is set up with the HubSpot tracking code. This code enables HubSpot to track website visitors and capture important data about their behavior, such as which pages they visit and how long they spend on your site. It also allows you to track the performance of your website and marketing campaigns using HubSpot's analytics tools.
You'll want to make sure that you have set up conversion tracking on your website. Conversion tracking allows you to track specific actions that visitors take on your site, such as filling out a form or making a purchase. This data is essential for measuring the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and optimizing your website to improve conversion rates.
Another important aspect of integration is ensuring that your marketing automation workflows are properly set up and connected to your website. This includes creating lead capture forms, setting up email campaigns, and automating follow-up tasks such as lead scoring and lead nurturing.
Finally, it's important to regularly monitor and analyze your marketing data to identify areas for improvement and optimize your marketing efforts. HubSpot provides a wealth of analytics tools to help you do this, including detailed reports on website traffic, conversion rates, and campaign performance.
By properly integrating your website and marketing efforts with HubSpot CRM and leveraging its powerful automation capabilities, you can streamline your marketing processes, increase efficiency, and ultimately drive revenue for your business.
Make the Most of Your Efforts
Performing a marketing audit is an essential step in evaluating the effectiveness of your marketing strategies and ensuring that they align with your business goals. By conducting a thorough audit, you can identify gaps in your marketing efforts, optimize your resources, and improve your ROI.
As digital marketers, setting and measuring goals for your department can be a daunting task. But with the right tools, it can be a breeze. That's why we've created a powerful Marketing Goals Calculator Template.
With this template, you'll be able to work backward from your revenue target and determine exactly how many contacts you need at each stage of your funnel to hit your goals. No more guessing or finger-crossing - this calculator will give you the confidence you need to hit your targets.
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