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How To Audit Your Marketing Tactics

This post is the first 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.

How To Audit Your Marketing How To Audit Your Marketing Strategy


Marketing Audit - Marketing Tactics Feature Image


Your marketing tactics are the various marketing and communications elements that your company has out in the marketplace, such as paid media, a website, email marketing, social media, etc. When looking at your marketing tactics, the goal is to understand what activities you’re doing and how each of them is performing.


Gather your materials

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

  • 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

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 tactics audit

To audit your marketing activities, record the following for each:


1. What is the marketing tactic?

Marketing tactics can include things like paid advertising; websites or apps; content like a blog, podcast, or video series; activations like trade shows and events; social media; partnerships or sponsorships; public relations activities; email marketing campaigns; or any other marketing and communications tools you have out in the marketplace for your customers and other audiences to interact with. 

This doesn’t include sales or customer service activities, although those should integrate closely with your marketing efforts, which we’ll look at in your marketing process audit.

If you have a marketing communications plan, all your tactics should be included within it. If not, you might have separate plans for each.

Marketing Audit - Marketing Tactics 1

2. How is the tactic being measured?

For each tactic, document what key performance indicators (KPIs) you’re tracking to measure its performance. These will vary based on the tactic and what it's supposed to achieve, but may include measures like reach or impressions, visits or views, attendance, engagements, clicks, signups, downloads, contacts, or leads.

You should have only a few key metrics for each tactic that you’re focused on to understand its success. Other metrics can be valuable for optimizing your performance over time, but you should be clear on what you’re asking each activity to deliver.

Marketing Audit - Marketing Tactics 2

3. What are the benchmarks or targets for your KPIs?

Once you know what you’re measuring for each marketing tactic, you also want to understand what level of performance you’re trying to achieve, so you know if the tactic is doing well or if it needs to be improved. As examples, this could be a specific number of signups for an event or a specific engagement rate for a webpage.

Targets should be based on previous performance of your marketing activities and any goals you have for improvement. If a tactic is new to your organization, you can start with targets recommended by your supplier or use industry benchmarks until you have a clearer picture of what performance looks like for your organization.

Your marketing measurement plan should outline all of your marketing KPIs and the targets for each, along with where the various measurement data will come from. If you don’t have a marketing measurement plan, this information might be included in your marketing communications plan or in your individual tactical plans.

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4. How is the marketing tactic performing against its targets?

Now that you know what you want your marketing tactics to achieve, look at their actual performance to understand how each is doing. Record its current performance and compare that against your targets.

In the case of our example below, our programmatic ads and email marketing are exceeding their targets, but our form submits on our website are underperforming. This is an indicator we should look at our form and make adjustments to improve performance. Maybe it's not well placed on the page, or maybe the headline or button copy needs to be adjusted.

Marketing Audit - Marketing Tactics 4

Most digital marketing platforms, for things like paid ads, social media, websites and apps, email, and public relations will have analytics built in so that you can track how your marketing tactics are performing. 

For non-digital tactics like events, trade shows, sponsorships, or out-of-home advertising, you may have to rely on your supplier to provide this information to you. 

If you work with a marketing agency or marketing team, they should be able to provide you with this information in the form of a marketing dashboard or performance reports.


How a fractional CMO can help

Need some support with auditing your marketing tactics? 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 help you understand what your current marketing is doing and how it's performing for you.

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

Once you have an understanding of what marketing tactics you’re doing, how you’re measuring them, and how they’re performing, you can use this information to make decisions about your marketing activities going forward. It might be that certain tactics don’t make sense for your company, that others require some tweaking to help them do their best, or others should be invested in further.

The information from this audit also serves as an important input into the next marketing audits in this series. You'll need your marketing tactics information to complete your marketing strategy audit, your marketing process audit, and your marketing financials audit.

If you found that you didn't have some of the information to complete your marketing tactics audit, talk to your marketing team or your marketing service providers. They should be able to provide you with details on all the marketing tactics you're doing.

It's important to note that some marketing measurements can't be pulled retroactively, so if your team wasn't looking at them before you may only be able to get performance data going forward.

If you don't have KPIs or targets set for your marketing tactics, a marketing strategist (like me) can help you develop a marketing measurement plan to understand what you want your marketing tactics to deliver and how you'll measure success. 


How To Audit Your Marketing How To Audit Your Marketing Strategy