7 signs your company needs to conduct a Marketing Audit
A marketing audit is a thorough analysis of ‘where you are now’. It’s a hugely important exercise usually carried out at the start of the marketing planning stage. Afterall, knowing where you want to be in 12 months is great – but you’re unlikely to get there if you don’t understand where you are now.
There will be times when you need to conduct a marketing audit outside of the planning cycle. If you recognise any of the seven signs below, then you need to run a marketing audit:
- My marketing results have taken a nosedive.
This is not an uncommon one. There are so many marketing tactics available and plenty of variables surrounding each, that you really need to be reviewing your marketing regularly. If you rely heavily on web traffic, it could be that Google has changed their algorithm and you’ve dropped down the search rankings. Or worse, you’ve had a Google penalty. It could be that a supplier is not delivering as they should be. You could be trying to do too much and need to refocus on doing a few things really well, rather than trying to do everything with limited budget and time.
- Help, I’m losing clients Many people think marketing is all about acquisition of new customers, but it also plays a crucial role in retention of existing clients. If your customers are voting with their feet, you have a real problem. It could be that there’s a gap between customer expectations and experience. You need to identify and close the gap as quickly as you can. There might be a new entrant in the market who is stealing some of your market share, again, you need to understand the issue and adjust your own strategy.
- I can’t see a clear return on marketing investment.
This comes down to understanding what your offering is, how to reach your customers and how you are going to measure and quantify a return on investment. If you can’t see a return, it might be that you haven’t got the right tools in place to measure your marketing performance. Or it could be that you need to reassess the marketing tactics you’ve chosen. It could also be a strategic issue in that you need to re-evaluate your offering as you’ve taken your eye off the ball and have fallen behind the market.
- My competitors seem to be growing more rapidly than me.
Whether you’re running a business or a marketing department, you are probably spinning many plates! It’s hard to keep up with what your competitors are doing. If you start to see a competitor in your space overtaking you, it’s important to investigate this. It could be they’ve had an injection of capital and are investing heavily in marketing for growth. It could be that they’ve identified a need that’s not being met in your market. You’ll need to research this and put in place a plan to protect yourself from losing your market position.
- I’m struggling to retain and recruit staff.
You might think this is more of an HR issue, but it’s also about your brand. People chose to work for you, there was a reason they selected you over other employers. You need to know what that was and what’s changed. Have your values changed, do staff buy-in to the values, do they understand them? What’s changed and where are staff going when they leave you? Again, has a competitor proved more appealing and why?
- I’m planning a new strategic initiative.
If you’re entering a new market, or launching a new product or service, you have to conduct a detailed marketing audit. You need to understand the dynamics of your market, who your customers are and how you are going to reach them. You need to know who your competitors are and what the drivers are in your chosen market. You are going to be investing in your launch so get the groundwork done properly and you will succeed. Fail to arm yourself with this knowledge and you will fail.
- It’s been more than 2 years since the last marketing audit. The simple answer to this is that markets change so quickly that if you don’t run a marketing audit regularly, you run the risk of being left behind. I’m not a big one for inspirational quotes, but there is a lot of truth in the quote ‘If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got’, Although in the case of marketing, you are more likely to get less than you got before as that’s the nature of the beast!
A word of warning though, if any of the points above are relevant to you, then act quickly. A marketing audit can be a big piece of work and it takes time. You don’t want to keep ploughing marketing budget into areas that aren’t doing anything for you. A marketing audit will save you budget in the long run as well as giving you a clear strategic view of how you will get to where you need to be.
If you need any help with it please do drop me a line, I’d be happy to talk you through it.
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