Get on Target With a Marketing Audit

Posted on by Chief Marketer Staff

Accountability is not, and should not be, unique to marketing. It exists in all professions. Physicians are accountable for their diagnoses, assistants are accountable for the messages they route, professional head coaches are expected to field winning teams and marketers are held accountable for the strategies they propose and the tactics they choose to use to implement them.

A good first step in keeping up with what’s expected of professional marketer’s and aligning sales and marketing goals with the company’s vision is the implementation of a marketing audit.

A correctly executed marketing audit allows you to discover problems and needed changes that exist in the marketing plan and ask questions about what your goals are the first place. Because marketing audits are vital to increasing ROI and maximizing revenue, they should be a mandatory follow up to any marketing plan development. Here are five important reasons why a marketing audit should be part of your strategy:

1. Marketing audits offer a fresh perspective of your product or service.
There’s nothing more embarrassing than a customer calling up your call center and, in not so many words, telling you that you don’t know your product. Believe it or not, it does happen. Account executives, product marketers, internal team members and even CMO’s have fallen victim to the “just get through today” mentality and have forgotten what matters most: the product and how it meets the needs of the target audience. When beginning a marketing audit, you go through your marketing plan, project plans, and budget documents to get a better understanding of why it is you chose “option B” instead of “option A.”

2. Marketing audits help refocus your efforts on campaign goals and allow you to change course if needed.
I recall when I was young, my aunt asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I told her an astronaut. Looking back, it was definitely an attainable goal, but somewhere along the line things changed and I no longer wanted to venture down that path. The same is true in marketing: campaign goals can, and most likely will, change along the way. By looking back at your planning and goal-development process you will get reacquainted with the original reason you got the project funding in the first place and as things change so can your direction.

3. Marketing audits allow you to market smarter.
It’s easy to realize that the best way to survive a crash is to avoid it altogether. Marketing audits give you an opportunity to take a look at what you’ve done, how you’ve done it, and any positive (or negative) results that may have come of it. Assessing the path you’ve chosen to follow with your marketing budget will enable you to sense if the direction is still on course and if not, steer clear of the proverbial crash by taking a alternate route.

4. Marketing audits help make your campaigns more efficient.
You know that sinking feeling you get in your stomach when you pull into your local gas station, fill up your car or truck, and drive a couple blocks down the road to find the next station offering gas 13 cents cheaper? That happens a lot in marketing—you think you’ve gone down the right path only to find that if you’d chosen that “option A” you would have saved your organization $250,000 per quarter in ad spending. The results you gather when looking at your current marketing strategy allow you to see where your dollars are going and search for ways you can make that dollar go even further. Who knows what you’ll find?

5. Marketing audits recharge your campaign and spark life into new, updated strategy and direction.
Whether you’re unveiling a spiffy new website, sending out a new creative to the masses, or trying your hand with a new media publisher, launch dates get the adrenaline pumping and instill a sense of focus like none other. After looking at an old, aging campaign and identifying weaknesses, you can propose new ways to achieve the old goals you’ve been seeking all along. Modifying an old campaign shows the same promise of success that a new one brings so it will reignite the fire and take your product or service to a new level.

Grant A. Johnson (grant.johnson@johnsondirect.com) is the founder and creative director of Brookfield, WI-based Johnson Direct LLC.

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