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How To Audit Your Marketing Strategy

This post is the second of five segments in the How To Audit Your Marketing series. Visit the main post for an overview of why to conduct a marketing audit, things you'll want to consider, and what to do with the results of your marketing audit.


Marketing Audit - Marketing Strategy Feature Image


Your marketing strategy connects your marketing activities to your business objectives. It outlines what you want your marketing to accomplish and how, and helps you make decisions about what marketing tactics to pursue and which ones aren’t well suited to achieving your goals. 

When auditing your marketing strategy, you want to understand how your marketing tactics are supporting your overall business goals.


Gather your materials

For the marketing strategy audit, you'll need the following documents if you have them:

  • Results of your marketing tactics audit
  • Business strategies and plans
  • Integrated marketing communications plan or individual plans for your various marketing tactics (paid media, social media, PR, website, content, email, etc.)

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.

Once you have everything together, let's get started!


Conduct your marketing strategy audit

To audit your marketing strategy, write down:


1. What are your business goals?

Your business goals are high-level and impact your entire organization. These are usually set by senior management in long term increments, such as a one-year, two-year, or five-year strategic plan. 

Profitability is always a primary business goal, but you may have other goals like gaining market share against competitors, increasing customer satisfaction and repeat business, meeting stakeholder or regulatory requirements, or corporate social responsibility goals.

Your business goals set the guiding direction for your entire company and should be available in your business strategy or plan.

Marketing Audit Graphics - Marketing Strategy 1

2. What are your marketing goals?

Marketing goals are the measurable objectives of your marketing team that directly support your business goals. So, if your objective is to increase market share, your marketing team may be responsible for raising brand awareness, launching a new product, or increasing sales leads.

They should also be within the control of your marketing team to deliver. As in the previous example, if your sales team is ultimately responsible for closing sales, then sales volume wouldn’t be a marketing goal. A marketing goal would be increasing sales qualified leads to the sales team.

Marketing Audit Graphics - Marketing Strategy 2

3. How are your marketing goals measured?

In the same way you should have targets for your marketing tactics to understand how they’re performing, you should have targets for your marketing goals so that you know if your marketing strategy is successful or if you need to change course.

It’s generally recommended to craft your marketing goals as SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound), which can be measured both in terms of quantity and time - what do you want to achieve and by when? Continuing the example above, you may have set a goal for your marketing team to deliver 100 new qualified leads to your sales team by the end of the year.

Your marketing goals and targets might be outlined in your business plan, or they may be set at the marketing team level and found in your marketing communications plan.

Marketing Audit Graphics - Marketing Strategy 3

4. How do your marketing tactics support your marketing goals?

Knowing what overall goals your marketing is meant to achieve and what each of your marketing tactics is designed to deliver, you should be able to map out which marketing activities support which goals. Go through the list of marketing tactics from your marketing tactics audit and figure out how each one supports your overall marketing objectives.

A good way to do this is by listing each marketing tactic under the goal it supports, or by creating a flowchart that shows which tactic connects to each goal. It is possible for a single tactic, such as a website, to support multiple goals, in which case it’s a good idea to make note of which components of the tactic support each goal. For example, your website might include content designed to increase brand engagement, and also a sign-up form designed to capture leads.

If you find you have some marketing tactics that don’t ladder up to any of your marketing goals, this might be an indicator that the tactic isn’t well aligned to your marketing strategy, or that you need to make changes so that it better supports your objectives.

Marketing Audit Graphics - Marketing Strategy 4-1


5. How do your marketing tactics work together to meet your goals?

It’s unusual for a single tactic to deliver against a marketing goal all on its own. A common rule is to expect an average of 7 marketing touches to get a user to take an action, so your marketing plan likely consists of many tactics designed to move your customer down the funnel towards your desired goal.

If you have a marketing communications plan, it should outline both how your marketing tactics are designed to meet your marketing goals, and how your marketing elements are intended to work together to deliver against your KPIs. If not, you may need to spend some time mapping out your different marketing tactics to understand how they’re interconnected.

Marketing Audit Graphics - Tactical User Flow

As with tactics that don’t support your goals, if you find you have marketing tactics that aren’t tied into the rest of your marketing program, this might be a sign you should reassess those activities or figure out how to better connect them to the rest of your marketing efforts.


How a fractional CMO can help

Need some support with auditing your marketing strategy? A fractional chief marketing officer like me can help. 

With 20 years’ experience planning and executing marketing projects big and small, across all aspects of marketing and communications, I can help you understand how your current marketing aligns to your business goals.

If you need help with the other parts of your marketing audit or determining your next steps once your audit is completed, I 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

With a clear understanding of what your marketing goals are and how they support your overall business, you can make decisions about what marketing activities to pursue and how they should be designed to support your business objectives.

The information from this audit also serves as an important input into the fourth in this series, the marketing process audit.

If you found that you didn't have some of the information to complete your marketing strategy audit, talk to your senior management team and your marketing team. Your senior management team should be able to provide you with the business strategies and plans for the overall organization, while your marketing team should be able to provide you with your marketing communications plans.

If you don't have high-level business plans or integrated marketing communications plans, a marketing strategist (like me) can help you work with your senior management team and your marketing subject matter experts to develop them. Business plans should be developed on a long-term (annual or multi-annual) basis, while marketing plans should be developed at least annually for each marketing program.


How To Audit Your Marketing Tactics How To Audit Your Brand Strategy