Marketing Audit – Getting Started
Marketing audit’s should be an important part of every company’s annual review. It can be a great way to start a new role in marketing, and an important part of the process, when you make changes in your marketing approach. First, get an understanding of what has been done, what exists today, then you are set up for mapping the new direction. Take this opportunity to review the material, collateral, campaigns and approaches to taking an offer to market. Certainly a deep audit of all things ‘marketing related’ can be telling and directional. However, let’s face it, few of us have the time to do this. In that regard, a Marketing Audit Snapshot (MAS) that gets done is a vast improvement over a comprehensive one that is never started.s
Your quick audit does not have to be complex or extensive to be useful. A simple marketing audit that you complete quickly, identifying important gaps early, is more important than an extensive one that becomes a burden. As a Product Marketing Manager (PMM) or Marketing Manager (MM), make this part of your annual performance review, or the starting point for your next marketing initiative. It helps you quantify your efforts, and identifies future opportunities and directions.
Three Part Audit
There are three elements you will want to cover in your marketing audit. First, review your planning and strategies. These need to be concise, impactful, action driving plans with metrics. Second, take a look at the Top of the Funnel (TOFU) related activities and marketing collateral. Mapped to the buyers journey these generally relate to the Awareness and Consideration phase (ACPP model) or Awareness and Interest (AIDA model) generating phase. Third, review the Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU) elements. Again mapped to the buyers journey, these relate to the Preference and Purchase phase (ACPP model) or Decision and Acquisition phase (AIDA model) – of the buyers journey.
Included is a downloadable Excel template you can use to create and drive your own marketing audit. Use, delete or add to the list included in this template. Your own audit should fit your company, industry, sector and business. This marketing audit snapshot template will help you get started.
Buyers Journey Stage
As in the marketing audit snapshot, itemize a list mapping to the buyers journey. Identify the top 20-30 marketing related events, campaigns, ads, communications, or content delivered by your team. Categorize it into the steps along the buyer’s journey. This is a fast way to find gaps. It can also identify if you are too heavily focused on a particular steps, rightly or wrongly. For more depth and help on the ACPP / AIDA model refer to the following two posts:
- ACPP / AIDA Marketing Strategy Basics
- Digital Marketing: A Simple Plan in Action
- Smart Digital Marketing = Making Choices
- Digital Marketing Gaps – Gone in a Snap!
Now, you have an itemized list of marketing items with the corresponding ACPP or AIDA buyers journey phases. Score each item on a scale of one to ten. Yes, this is completely subjective. A simple score by you with some input from colleagues, a close customer, or the sales team, gives you credible insights to help you find areas that need improvement. If your gap analysis did not reveal major needs, then a simple quality score for each item will guide future efforts. For example, your ROI document might score 3 out of 10 based on customer comments. If this is an important piece to your sales cycle, then that should be a priority for improving your marketing.
Strategy, TOFU and BOFU
After downloading the Marketing Audit Snapshot template, you will see that it is organised in the three stages of Strategy, Top of the Funnel (TOFU) and Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU) marketing. Certainly, the sophisticated amongst us will argue this concept to be old school. Perhaps, but it serves an important categorization purpose. Funnels speak loud and clearly to the sales organization. Since marketing efforts should be supporting sales, mapping to the funnel – is a smart idea regardless of how old school it may seem amongst modern marketers. Make your marketing audit as sales friendly and understandable – as possible to give it impact.
Many of the events, ads, traditional and digital marketing efforts speak to the TOFU side of the sales funnel. Most product marketing content, collateral, promotions and initiatives are sales enablement focused – preference builders and purchase drivers. These are BOFU efforts (as shows to the right).
Add, subtract and re-categorize as you need it. Although the Marketing Audit Snapshot is organised for TOFU and BOFU, you could just as easily re-categorize focused on ACPP / AIDA. In either case, limit your first discussion and audit to your top marketing initiatives. After a first review of your initial audit your list will inevitably grow. Remember to keep it focused on the critical marketing elements – to keep it relevant.
How often to Audit
Earlier in the article I recommend using a marketing audit as a driver for your annual performance discussion, or when starting a major marketing initiative. Once per year is a reasonable cadence. Marketing is a very busy function. Simply put, you do not have time to do it more often. Part of this exercise also includes considering what is NOT critically important, and what could be dropped with the least impact. The exception to the once-a-year timing is if there is a major paradigm shift like an acquisition, merger, or directional turnaround. In special events like these, it may be a helpful tool to help quickly assess the situation, and start work on critical areas.
Advise on your success
As always, please share your thoughts. The marketing audit concept is a simple framework to goad us to review what works, what does NOT work, and what we are doing well. This is always challenging at the hectic pace of today’s business. However, taking the time for a marketing audit is critical to your organization’s success. Audit what worked and what did not. It might help remove some of the busy work – which is no longer impactful.
Reach out with your thoughts or comments or to discuss how to apply this at your firm.
Best of luck on your Marketing Audit!
About the Author:
Charles Dimov is Director of Strategy D, a Digital and Product Marketing consultancy (www.StrategyD.org). He has 20 years of experience in High Technology, with 15+ years in Product Marketing functions – having successfully introduced over 80+ new product to global markets. Charles has a MASc.(MBA), BASc.(Eng), and a BA.(Econ), and loves Photography, Marketing Strategy, and rolling up his sleeves to drive market success. He can be reached at Charles@DimovStrat.com