What are Marketing Audits and Why Do You Need One?
A new year is upon us and that means it’s time for a fresh marketing plan. The best place to start is with looking at what worked in 2020, and what didn’t. There’s one surefire way to get the data you need to make better decisions — marketing audits.
According to HubSpot’s 2020 Not Another State of Marketing Report, 64% said they increased their marketing budget in 2020. But with these increased budgets comes the question:
Where’s the best area for a company to invest their marketing dollars?
Marketing is evolving quickly, so what worked a few years ago, isn’t working now, especially as so many in-person events are on hold indefinitely. New platforms are available, older platforms are missing key functionality and the marketing tactics businesses are using are shifting — and that’s exactly why you need to complete marketing audits on a regular basis.
Not sure what exactly marketing audits entail?
Let’s take a look at what marketing audits are, and why your business needs one.
What’s a Marketing Audit?
Marketing audits are the comprehensive and systematic analysis and interpretation of marketing activities and all related data. Similar to a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threat) analysis, marketing audits can be micro focused (internal factors) or macro focused (external factors).
Marketing audits can be completed on all or specific aspects of a company’s marketing.
These audits should be completed on a regular, recurring basis. At a minimum they should be done on a yearly basis so there’s an ongoing evaluation of marketing programs.
Why You Need a Marketing Audit
Marketing audits are designed to make sure your marketing activities are in line with business objectives, and they can help you understand what is and isn’t working with your current strategy.
As your marketing needs to continually evolve, marketing audits help your business find new ways to improve your marketing ideas. The more data you have, the greater insight you can gain.
When looking at your marketing efforts, it’s also important to have a good understanding of your customers and your competitors. When conducting macro-level marketing audits, you can gather data that provides valuable insights on the things outside your organization, and then use that information to create a strategy that takes into account these external factors.
Building a marketing strategy to meet company KPIs is an essential piece of your success, but how do you know where to prioritize your marketing efforts? Marketing audits show you, in black and white, where you should be focusing both time and money to help you meet those broader organizational goals.
Types of Marketing Audits
There are many different types of marketing audits. Let’s look at some of the most common ones.
Inbound Marketing Audit
An inbound marketing audit looks at all aspects of your internal marketing. From how much website traffic you have to how many opens your emails get, the information gathered from this type of marketing audit enables you to get a comprehensive picture of what activities are taking place, how effective they are, and how each piece complements the other.
While an inbound marketing audit can be customized to look at specific areas of your marketing, most of the time it’s recommended that it include:
- Your website
- Your social media
- Email marketing
- Content marketing
- Overall marketing strategy
Demand Generation Marketing Audit
Demand generation — not be confused with lead generation — is focused on creating demand for your products or services. It’s essentially what happens before your lead generation starts, and it requires time to nurture prospects.
When it comes to marketing audits, this one in particular can have a pretty big impact on your bottom line for the long term. Strong demand generation requires an ongoing partnership between your marketing team and your sales team, and as with any other audit you won’t know what is or isn’t working without doing a deep dive and looking at the data.
Demand generation marketing audits are focused on multiple aspects of the marketing activities including:
- Email marketing and funnels
- Paid traffic
- Lead scoring and qualification systems
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Audit
Search engine optimization isn’t just about people being able to find your business online — it’s also about being found first (or at least near the top of the list).
Your goal is to have search engines recognize your company as an ideal choice to recommend based on specific keywords and phrases. From the headlines you put on your website to the blog posts you write, a strong SEO strategy should cascade across all of your marketing efforts.
There are many, many moving pieces that have to be examined as part of an SEO audit, but some of the things you can expect these marketing audits to look for and identify include:
- User experience issues
- Technical SEO issues
- Content gaps and opportunities
- Competitive insights
- Structural issues with your website
- SEO issues on-page
- Offsite SEO problems
Get Insights from Impartial, Independent Marketing Audits
Marketing audits are all about finding out what you’re missing. If marketing audits aren’t your area of expertise, you won’t necessarily know what’s lacking or how to fix it.
When considering whether to attempt marketing audits internally or outsource, consider this — hiring a professional gives you a fresh perspective and an objective third party viewpoint. Sometimes it’s hard to see what’s right in front of us when looking at our own company or business function, so an outside perspective can be helpful.
By choosing to hire a professional, you also have the opportunity to find new strategies. A marketing audit can help you figure out what’s working and what’s not based on data, not internal politics or bias. Then, they can provide you with accompanying strategies to address your specific needs.
Also, marketing audits assist in helping a company set more realistic goals, like increasing qualified leads or conversions. If you know where the gaps are, it’s much easier to address them in a way that is actually attainable, versus setting a goal without a plan to reach it.
Finally, marketing audits are highly beneficial to help you put together the missing pieces of the puzzle.
Using Marketing Audits to Enable Better Decision Making
While there are many reasons to consider doing a marketing audit, the bottom line is that without the appropriate data, it’s a huge challenge to measure how effective your strategy is. To ensure you build the best marketing strategy possible, consider having a marketing audit completed prior to mapping out your marketing plan for the entire year.
Looking to get started with marketing audits and need some help?
Accelaris can help you improve results with marketing audits designed to help your company thrive in a digital world.
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With over 20 years of experience, Michelle Evans knows marketing. In 2012, after a successful 16-year career in global marketing strategy at Microsoft, she launched her consultancy, which eventually evolved into Accelaris.
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