A marketing audit is a thorough review of your marketing plan, objectives, strategies, and the current activities being executed in your small business. The goal is to see what's working and what isn't so you can identify areas for improvement. A successful marketing audit will help you pinpoint your marketing strengths and weaknesses, so you can make solid decisions about where to put your resources in the future.
If you don't conduct marketing audits on a regular basis, you could be throwing marketing dollars out the window. Here are five reasons a marketing audit is a good idea for every small business.
Realign Your Marketing Activities With Your Goals
Many entrepreneurs are so concerned with executing the day-to-day responsibilities of running a small business that they lose sight of the big picture and the business’ long-term goals. When this happens, it can be difficult to recall why a specific marketing strategy was implemented or determine if the business is executing it successfully. A marketing audit is a way to take a step back, return to your business plan and your marketing plan, and ensure that the daily activities you are executing support your business goals.
See What Isn’t Working
A marketing audit helps business owners explore all of the marketing activities currently being implemented while evaluating if those activities are successful. This is a time to look at your business with an objective eye, armed with facts and data gathered from your research. It's an opportunity to make judgment calls on marketing areas where your business is underperforming. Then you can make informed decisions about how to improve activities or employ new tactics to achieve greater success in your marketing efforts.
Gain Exposure to New Ideas and Different Strategies
A marketing audit requires a significant amount of research into your business as well as external factors. Although it may not be a primary reason for conducting an audit, the research process can be an excellent way to discover new ideas to try in your business. For example, during your research, you may discover that your competition is doing something you never thought of doing. With a few modifications to make the strategy your own, you can develop new marketing activities that have tremendous potential.
Get In-Depth Insight Into Your Competition
Successful marketing requires an in-depth understanding of several factors, including the market, your target audience, and your competition. A marketing audit is a great way to dig into who your competition is. By exploring the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, you can improve the way you approach your audience. Knowing what they're doing well will help you plan how to do it better, so your business will rise to the top.
Save Time and Money in the Long Run
Without this kind of regular check-in, you may be unconsciously wasting time and money on marketing activities that are producing few results. Conducting a marketing audit regularly helps you maximize your marketing investment by helping you focus on the activities that work best for your business.
Plan Your Marketing Audit
A marketing audit generally involves reviewing all existing business documents for clarity on goals and plans, compiling a list of strategies currently being executed, gathering input from key personnel in the business, and conducting research into external factors (competition, market, economy, industry, etc.). It often begins with a SWOT analysis of your business, which will help you clearly identify your opportunities for improvement. Without a regular audit, you may never know what your marketing dollars are capable of.