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How To Audit Your Marketing

This post provides an overview of the How To Audit Your Marketing series. Visit each of the five segment pages listed below for a deeper dive into analyzing the various aspects of your marketing plans and performance.

Marketing Audit - Main Article Feature Image

It can be hard to know how all of the different marketing initiatives, plans, and activities going on at your company are connected, and how they support your overall business goals. Individual projects are sometimes undertaken to meet specific goals, without consultation or integration with the broader team. Legacy projects, tactics, and commitments continue “because we’ve always done it that way.” Other activities occur because “that’s what we’re supposed to do,” even if you don’t really know why you're supposed to do it.

But, if you want to understand how your marketing is contributing to your overall business goals, make decisions about what marketing activities to pursue, and make plans for future marketing projects, you need to start with a comprehensive picture of your current marketing efforts.


Why conduct a marketing audit?

A marketing audit can help you understand:

  • What marketing components you already have in place and where you have gaps or disconnects
  • What marketing tactics you’re doing and how they’re performing
  • What you’re trying to achieve with your marketing at a business level
  • Who your target audience is and how your brand meets their needs
  • How your marketing operations integrate with your broader organization and if you have communication or process issues that need to be addressed
  • How your marketing is contributing to your profitability and financial goals

If you have questions about your current marketing tactics and strategies and want to understand what you're doing well, what might need improvement, and where you have gaps or disconnects between your various marketing projects and your business goals, a marketing audit can give you a clear picture of your current marketing situation and what to do next.

In this series, there are five different articles, each outlining how to audit one of five marketing areas: marketing tactics, marketing strategy, brand strategy, marketing processes, and marketing financials. It's recommended to conduct them in the order listed, since the results of the earlier audits, especially the marketing tactics audit, serve as inputs to the ones that come after.

Ready to get a better understanding of your marketing? Let's get started!


Get your materials together

In order to review your current marketing efforts, you’ll need whatever information you currently have about your marketing activities, strategies, processes, and performance.

Gather the following documents if you have them, or any other plans or reporting related to your marketing efforts.

  • Integrated marketing communications plan or individual plans for your various marketing tactics (paid media, social media, PR, website, content, email, etc.)
  • Marketing measurement plan and recent performance dashboards or reports
  • Business strategies and plans
  • Audience research, personas, journeys, or situation maps
  • Brand plans and guidelines for your company brand and any of your individually branded products or services
  • Key messaging frameworks or documents
  • Company policy and process documents
  • Marketing budget and actuals for your various marketing tactics and any financial reporting from your marketing team

You probably don't have all of these materials, and that's okay. You can still move forward with your marketing audit. Work with what you have, and make note of what information you’re missing or where you have gaps. This can help you identify areas you might need to work on.

Also, your marketing audit will gather a lot of information, so you’ll also want to think about how you’re going to document everything. A spreadsheet or note taking app can be helpful for keeping your notes organized. Use whatever works best for you to keep a lot of information together in one place.


Conduct your marketing audit

Once you have your documentation pulled together, there are five areas you’ll want to assess: marketing tactics, marketing strategy, brand strategy, marketing processes, and marketing financials. All of these components together will give you a clear picture of your current marketing efforts and performance.

It may take you some time to work through each, and you'll probably need to talk to various team members from your management, marketing, project management, sales, and finance teams. Each audit will help you do a deep dive into how your marketing activities and processes are working for your company, what's going well, and where you might want to improve.

The following articles outline how to audit your five marketing areas:

  1. The marketing tactics audit helps you understand what marketing activities you're currently doing and how they're performing to make informed decisions for future marketing initiatives. 

  2. The marketing strategy audit helps you understand what your marketing goals are and how they support your overall business, so you can design your marketing activities to get the results you want.

  3. The brand strategy audit helps you understand your target audience and how your company meets their needs to improve your marketing messaging and build stronger relationships with your customers. 

  4. The marketing process audit helps you ensure your teams are aligned around your marketing initiatives to maximize your ability to meet your goals.

  5. The marketing financials audit helps you understand how your marketing contributes to your organization’s profitability and financial goals.

Once you've worked through each of these audits with your teams, you'll want to review the results holistically to understand the current state of your marketing efforts - what's working well, what might need more attention, and where you might want to make changes.


How a fractional CMO can help

Not sure where to start with your marketing audit? A fractional chief marketing officer like me can help. 

With 20 years’ experience managing marketing projects big and small, across all aspects of marketing and communications, I can give you a clear understanding of your current marketing efforts and performance, so that you can make the best decisions to support your business.

If you need help figuring out your next steps once your audit is completed, I also offer marketing strategy, planning, and management services on a project or fractional basis. Get in touch if you’d like to learn more!


What to do next

The results of these five marketing audits will give you valuable insights into what marketing you're currently doing, how it's performing, and how that performance aligns to your overall business goals. You'll also understand how your brand meets the needs of your target audience, how your marketing initiatives are developed and implemented throughout your organization, and how your marketing supports your bottom line.

Armed with this information, you can feel confident making decisions about your marketing strategies, plans, and performance going forward. You'll know exactly what you and your team need to do to align your marketing to your business goals and maximize your marketing performance.


  How To Audit Your Marketing Tactics