Marketing audit is a periodic exercise used to track performance and detect shortcomings.

How an Effective Marketing Audit Can Save Your Business Time and Money

For small businesses, marketing budgets can take up a considerable chunk of the company’s overall expenses. As such, it is imperative to ensure that every dollar counts and is well spent toward enhancing the business’s bottom line.

This is where a marketing audit comes in. To ensure that a company’s marketing strategies align with its vision and set targets while staying competitive, marketing auditors conduct both internal and external analyses of factors affecting its marketing environment.

The main objective of a marketing audit is to streamline all strategies to reinforce the original intent and collect information to inform future endeavors.

What Is a Marketing Audit?

A marketing audit is systematically evaluating the marketing of a business. Audits are conducted periodically to enhance efforts and strategies and reveal any shortcomings or oversights.

A marketing audit enables businesses to answer several questions, such as:

  • How effective are our marketing efforts?
  • What are potential areas of improvement?
  • Are current marketing strategies aligned with best practices for maximum value?

Marketing audits can be internal or external. However, experts largely agree that an essential hallmark of a successful marketing audit is that it is conducted by an external team.

External auditors help remove the element of bias from marketing audit reports. These audits may be full or sectional, assessing areas such as content, process, or SEO.

Regardless of the extent of the marketing audit, regularly examining the health of your business’s marketing strategy is an important practice for businesses of all sizes.

6 Advantages of a Marketing Audit For Your Small Business

A marketing audit report can be conducted in many areas of your business, including process planning. Having a data-backed report on which to base significant decisions is a sound business practice.

A comprehensive market audit may sound daunting. However, your business most likely requires a marketing audit to gauge the strength of internal marketing processes, not only against competitors but also against set objectives.

A successful marketing audit provides your business some major advantages and enables you to engage in the following:

1. Measure the Success of Your Marketing Efforts

Marketing efforts take up a lot of time and resources, and it is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day running of these strategies.

Focusing on short-term marketing performance is essential. However, with an ever-changing competitive business environment, it is prudent to rethink your strategic advantage to refocus on the overall goal.

Marketing audits provide a chance to step back and get a broad scope of your marketing strategies. Auditing also enables your marketing team to measure the success of the current process against set objectives and marketing budgets.

2. Plan for Future Marketing Strategies

Marketing strategy audits provide a wealth of information on the strengths and weaknesses of current or past marketing efforts.

Marketing audits give your business a bird’s eye view of internal and external factors and how they affect your marketing productivity. The information collected is highly beneficial for planning future marketing efforts.

Periodic marketing audits can help your business identify opportunities for growth.
Periodic marketing audits can help your business identify opportunities for growth.

3. Identify Room for Change or Improvement

As with any business process, there is always room for improvement. Marketing audits identify essential factors such as neglected or underperforming marketing channels, unhelpful procedures, and unexplored opportunities.

Audits also allow marketing departments to refocus and align goals across all stakeholders to keep everyone on the same page, harmonizing marketing efforts and improving overall productivity.

4. Gain Insight on Your Competition

Comprehensive marketing audits encompass competitive analysis to gauge the strength of a company’s current marketing strategy.

Gaining insight into competitors, especially those scaling in areas where your team may be struggling, can offer the solutions your company desperately needs.

5. Save Time and Money on Marketing Resources

Without a periodic marketing audit, your marketing department could run a thousand miles an hour in the wrong direction. Assessing processes identifies shortcomings that may not be obvious and enables your team to avoid future problems.

Regularly inspecting resource management and team productivity can help you spot areas of potential waste and curb them early on.

6. Align Marketing Functions with Set Goals

Marketing audits help teams align efforts with targets and overall business objectives by reevaluating metrics used in measuring success.

The research process of a marketing audit also focuses on examining what success means to you as a business and ensuring that future endeavors align with this outlook.

Marketing audit reports are an excellent basis for future marketing plans.
Marketing audit reports are an excellent basis for future marketing plans.

5 Types of Marketing Audits

Just as marketing departments have many functions, there are also corresponding marketing audits. A successful audit encompasses all of these components. They include:

1. External Factors

Marketing is about connecting your brand with the outside world. To be successful in your marketing efforts, your company needs a good understanding of its external environment.

External factors in a marketing audit include variables outside the control of your business that affect your marketing strategy. An audit of external factors evaluates marketing efforts from the outside in, identifying new opportunities and potential threats.

Understanding how customers perceive your brand and how well your message resonates with the current marketing environment is vital. Consumers evolve, and keeping up with emerging changes in attitudes is crucial to stay relevant and to get your message across to the right audience.

External factors include MACRO environments and encompass:

  • Political
    These are changes in governing bodies, regulatory authorities, local laws, and trade unions, among others.
  • Economical
    Economic factors include variables outside the company’s control, such as interest rates, market positioning, and taxes levied on your goods and services.
  • Social and cultural
    Sociocultural aspects are critical when trying to break into a new market segment. Identifying cultures and attitudes associated with your niche can help your marketing team avoid tone-deaf tactics that are not uncommon in this sector.
  • Environmental
    Countries are increasingly experiencing the effects of global warming. As a result, environmental conservation has become a significant consideration for consumers.
    To stay socially responsible and preserve our planet, an environmental marketing audit can help your team develop eco-friendly marketing efforts that help align your goals with conservation efforts.

An external audit is crucial because it informs the marketing process by eliminating factors out of the company’s control. An external environment audit also assists a business in identifying potential threats, opportunities, or future changes that may affect marketing efforts.

2. Internal Environment Marketing Audit

An internal marketing audit pertains to the business and examines factors that affect your marketing strategies.

The benefit of enlisting the help of an independent marketing auditor is that they have no bias toward your business. Their unbiased approach is invaluable when auditing internal processes, teams, strategies, and budgets to ensure realistic expectations and identify overlooked areas.

Internal environments include aspects such as marketing productivity and systems. By examining how the internal business environment affects marketing efforts, marketing audit reports can help the company strategize, improve, and incorporate better techniques to achieve its goals and objectives.

Keep your businesses ahead by re-evaluating your strengths and weaknesses for better performance.
Keep your businesses ahead by re-evaluating your strengths and weaknesses for better performance.

3. Competitor Audit

Conducting a competitor audit is a useful way to understand your rivals’ strategies, industry influence, and any channels or tactics they employ that your marketing department may be overlooking.

A marketing audit is incomplete without an in-depth understanding of your competitors’ advantages and how to gain a competitive advantage over them. A competitor audit includes evaluating competitors’ traditional and digital marketing channels and their marketing processes, functions, and systems.

A competitor audit can provide insights into new strategies or improvements your brand can implement to stay ahead.

4. Marketing Function Audit

A marketing function audit examines the core systems of the company’s marketing department. These include fundamentals such as product and pricing and how they compare to those of the competition.

A function audit process takes an in-depth look at the relationship between marketing distribution and the sales force to improve processes and enhance productivity.

5. Digital Marketing Audit

A digital marketing audit utilizes metrics from online channels to conduct a comprehensive analysis. The audited channels can include email marketing, SEO, and social media.

A digital marketing audit usually includes a content marketing audit, which identifies gaps in content marketing by analyzing a company’s blogs and landing pages. It can also identify well-performing channels, competitors’ strengths that could be incorporated into future marketing strategies, and unprofitable marketing mediums.

Successful marketing audits are periodic, comprehensive, independent, and systematic.
Successful marketing audits are periodic, comprehensive, independent, and systematic.

Components of a Successful Marketing Strategy Audit

Marketing audits call for understanding your marketing sectors and the external environment affecting your business. There are many ways to conduct a marketing audit. One of these is a SWOT analysis, which is a comprehensive look into the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats your business faces.

Another tool used in marketing audits is the PESTELE checklist, which analyzes your company’s external environment using comprehensive data.

Regardless of the type of audit conducted, it should be comprehensive, systematic, periodic, and independent to be successful.

1. Comprehensive Marketing Audit

For a marketing audit to be successful, it needs to be comprehensive. A marketing audit must cover all aspects of the department and utilize the data collected during research conducted before and during the operation.

A comprehensive approach combs the entire marketing department indiscriminately, regardless of its past or present performance. Even subsections that appear effective or exceed expectations require an in-depth inspection.

This is especially crucial when certain areas seem to perform better than others. Replicating the success of these sections is a win-win for the business so that it can correct any potential shortcomings.

Additionally, external and internal factors affecting the marketing team’s performance are examined equally, regardless of unsubstantiated hunches. In the end, the company can confidently make future decisions based on the hard facts and verified data uncovered in the audit.

2. Systematic

Marketing audits are a systematic process in that they include all the subsections of the marketing department, including external and internal factors that affect its functions.

This process involves changing aspects that can spiral into a tangled mess of information. To stay on track, a systematic approach with checklists is crucial. Begin with definitive guidelines and clear objectives to refer back to throughout the process.

3. Periodic

Most organizations mistakenly conduct marketing audits only when there are visible issues, such as losses or poor performance. However, the best way to deal with a problem is to stop it from happening.

Carrying out regular audits is advised to gauge the performance of ongoing projects, identify potential red flags, or hone in on opportunities to improve.

At a minimum, marketing audits should be conducted yearly. However, markets change fast, especially digital ones. Therefore, it is advisable to reevaluate the standing of your organization’s market share at least every quarter, especially against competitors.

4. Independent

It is tough to avoid being biased when conducting a marketing audit of your company or department. A self-audit may not be a good idea because being too involved may make the team blind to specific issues simply because they are too used to them or can explain them away.

On the other hand, an independent audit is focused on deliverables without bias. Therefore, an outside team or audit agency is best positioned to examine your marketing efforts without any pre-existing misconceptions or favoritism.

Contracting an independent audit team helps your organization trust the audit report and embark on implementing changes with an open mind.

Choosing an external audit team eliminates the element of bias.
Choosing an external audit team eliminates the element of bias.

Maximize the Returns on Your Marketing Efforts With Sigmategy’s Marketing Audit Services

A marketing audit is an intense process that demands time, knowledge, and effort. For a successful marketing audit, companies often hire independent teams to approach the exercise with zero bias.

At Sigmategy, we have the know-how, the hands-on experience, and a comprehensive service catalog to meet all your marketing audit needs.

Reach out to our team today to stay in control of the health of your marketing department and the soundness of your marketing functions with our professional marketing audit services.

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