What’s a Marketing Audit & Why You Need One

marketing audit

Let’s just get this out of the way; do you need a marketing audit? Yes. But before you let out that big sigh of exasperation, there’s good news. The complicated, boring paperwork you associate with most audits isn’t the case here. In fact, they can be fairly simple, and pretty fun (depending on what you’re into). 

Either way, they’re crucial to your strategy. Because even if things are going pretty well — you’re getting new leads and making money — an audit can lead you to opportunities to grow and improve that you never even considered. 

We’re here to help by breaking down the components of a marketing audit and provide a couple of convincing reasons why you definitely need one.

So What is a Marketing Audit? 

A marketing audit is a full exploration and analysis of your brand’s entire marketing environment — internally and externally. It assesses everything from strategies and activities to audiences and platforms. 

Keep in mind: It has to be honest. It is not opinion-based. It shouldn’t hurt feelings. The things you choose to analyze must be unbiased — not based on what someone thinks is important or wants to work. And if the resulting data isn’t reported in full transparency, you might as well not even do one.   

It also has to be actionable. Everything you find should be followed up with a question. Does something need to be done about this? If so, what? So here’s what it looks like…

Marketing Audit Basics:

  1. Identify your marketing activities.
    Create a list of every single thing you’re doing that you put in the category of marketing. Blogs, social media, email marketing, influencer marketing, networking, ads, etc.
  2. Identify your goals and objectives.
    You probably have certain goals for each marketing activity (at least you should). For example: are you posting on social just for the sake of posting? Or do you have an objective for each post? Figure out the why for every activity. Pro Tip: Don’t fall into the vanity metric trap. Facebook follows, post likes, email opens — they can be incredibly valuable in the context of other data, but shouldn’t be your sole measure of success.
  3. Gather data.
    Google Analytics, Hubspot, Heap Analytics, etc. — if you don’t have one of these platforms set up, you’ll have to do that before Step 4. If you do, this is where you take the objectives from Step 2 and start writing down the numbers.
  4. Compare.
    Now, you take your goals and your actual results and put them side by side. Are they better or worse than you expected?
  5. Identify issues and gaps.
    This is where the real work begins. Start with the worst-performing metrics. Separate these out, and think about why they aren’t working. Do the same for your best-performing metrics.  Notice any trends?
  6. Create an action plan.
    Most of these problem areas may require a deeper dive to really discover what the issue may be — like at what point in your videos or articles do people drop off, what pages on your site have the highest bounce rates, on what visuals or CTAs do people click most, etc. This information will help you prioritize what to focus on or change next month/quarter. Determine what that change will look like.
  7. Repeat.
    See ya in 6 months. 

How Often Do I Need One?

Regularly — we recommend twice a year. An audit is a great way to boost your marketing efforts, but eventually, you’ll have to refuel. That’s because the world of marketing is ever-changing with new technology and opportunity, and your business probably won’t be the same in 6 months either. Don’t get stuck constantly playing catch up. 

Some Reasons Why You Need a Marketing Audit

  • To Discover New Opportunities

It’s easy to get stuck in a comfort zone, especially if something is working just fine. But becoming complacent is a good way to become stagnant. An audit will help you find new ways to grow and evolve. And if you’re not doing so hot, an audit will help point you to the specific strategies that aren’t working, why they’re not working, and whether they’re worth the investment moving forward. 

  • To Reevaluate Your Marketing Goals
    There’s nothing more frustrating than not knowing why you aren’t hitting your marketing goals. Well, that’s exactly what an audit helps you figure out. It may even mean adjusting your goals to be a little more realistic, or if you are hitting them consistently, can you set them even higher? 
  • To Be More Cost-Effective
    With a regular check-in, you can prevent wasteful spending on activities that aren’t producing results. Because if they’re not helping you, they’re just hurting your ROI. An audit will tell you if it’s time to take a different direction or ditch the strategy completely. If you don’t like wasting money as much as the next person, do an audit.  
  • To Get Dirt on the Competition

We’ve already explained in wonderful detail why getting to know your competitors is so important and how to use it to stand out — and an audit is just another opportunity to take advantage of this. If you find areas that you’re not so strong in, but a competitor is, take note of what they’re doing differently. Or maybe an area where you’re really killing it is the best place to invest more and widen the gap even further. This will really come in handy for Step 6. 

You don’t have to make this a self-audit either. shyft can help (we’ve done a ton of these). Contact us to discuss your marketing strategy and how we can help you hit your goals.


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