Did you know up to 60% of global marketing spend is being wasted? All that time, money and effort from you and your team should show for something. A well thought out marketing strategy should deliver the results you need to protect and grow your company’s revenue and market share.
But how do you know if your approach is right? How do you know if the results you’re getting are optimum? Even a positive outcome could be less than what’s achievable or less than what your competitors are achieving. Or perhaps the campaign you ran a year ago is finally losing its sheen. What lessons can you learn that will deliver good results for your next campaign?
In competitive markets, marketing can transform an organisation’s fortunes, catapulting it ahead of the competition and drawing customers away from established brands. It can give existing customers a reason to stay loyal. All of this puts pressure on marketing teams to produce strategies and campaigns that deliver results and increasingly demonstrate a direct correlation with sales.
Introspection is important for any business and reviewing performance is commonplace in most, if not all, marketing departments. But is that enough and does that go far enough to surface insights that matter – that can be used to make big improvements? In this article, we take a closer look at marketing audits and the role marketing intelligence can play in making them work for your organisation.
What is a marketing audit?
A marketing audit is an in depth review of an organisation’s marketing activities and performance with the aim of producing insights that can be used to optimise strategies and campaigns. It covers the entire breadth of your marketing activity. Every promotional touch point you have with a customer or potential customer.
It also identifies where your budgets are being used effectively and where it’s being wasted. Furthermore, it helps businesses focus on what their strengths and weaknesses are, where you’re at in terms of risk, and what are the opportunities that are actually available. The end result from a marketing audit is a report that can be used to inform and validate all of your future marketing decisions.
What are the components of a successful marketing audit?
Now we’ve defined what a marketing audit is, it’s time to look at the process and what it involves. Broadly speaking, there are 2 categories of marketing audits:
Internal marketing audit
These are the factors that you have direct control over, including your goals, tactics, channels, messaging, positioning, people, processes, policies and more.
External marketing audit
These are factors that influence the performance of your marketing activity. This can include the economic conditions, demographics, market trends, competitors, regulatory changes and more. An external audit gives you the context in which your marketing strategies operate.
Key components of a successful internal marketing audit
Goals & objectives
What do you want to achieve and why? What difference will achieving those metrics make to your organisation? What’s at stake if you don’t achieve them? Will it impact stability, job security or growth?
Are you targeting the right consumers? Do you understand them and their needs well enough? What are the trends that point to the behaviours you can expect?
Are you promoting the right products and services? Are you communicating their unique value in a compelling way? Are those products and services positioned to attract the right audience?
Channels & tactics
Are you reaching enough of your target audience? Are you reaching them at the right times of day? Are you seeing the engagement levels you need?
People & processes
How well are your team performing individually? Are they working well as a unit? Are you getting the support and information you need from others in the organisation? What are the barriers to progress?
Tools & systems
Do you and your team have the tools and systems to achieve what you need? Could more be achieved with different or additional tools? Are there better workarounds to make more of the resources you have?
Who’s leading the market and why? What are they doing well from a marketing perspective? How does their approach and results compare with yours? How are they positioned and what messages do they use?
What are the political, environmental, social, technological, legal and economic (PESTLE) factors that you’re operating in? What impact is that having on your campaigns and results? What do you need to do to adapt?
As long a list as that is, it may not cover every facet of your marketing activity and environment, so it’s important to make your marketing audit as tailored to your organisation and industry as possible.
Incorporating marketing intelligence into your marketing audit
How marketing intelligence works
Marketing intelligence refers to insights gathered about your industry and competitive landscape that you can use to inform your marketing decision-making and strategies. In most cases, this involves using a marketing intelligence software tool that automatically tracks what’s happening in real-time based on metrics and criteria set by your team, often with the support of a market analyst.
The data is captured and presented in the tool’s online dashboard, where it can be analysed, reviewed and shared. Some marketing intelligence tools allow you to receive and distribute alerts via your existing communication channels, such as email, Slack and Microsoft Teams.
Data can be organised in different ways depending on your needs. You may want to compare competitor battle cards – a Top Trumps-style breakdown of rival businesses based on selected metrics. Or have data presented in charts and graphs that can be exported into presentations and reports.
The benefits of using marketing intelligence for your marketing audit
Here are some of the main benefits of using a marketing intelligence tool to support your audit:
Speed – Given the breadth and depth of information you need to source as part of your marketing audit, technological assistance is a must. An intelligence tool allows you to streamline the process of information gathering. It can track any number of sources from across the web, making light work of the auditing task.
Control – Most marketing intelligence platforms allow you to set the criteria and metrics you want to track. You can decide what you need the tool to find and how you want it presented. You can delve deeper into specific parts of your marketing performance and that of your competitors.
Relevance – A marketing audit can take time. So any information gathered at the start of the process has the potential to be outdated by the time you come to publish your findings. A marketing intelligence tool gathers data in real-time meaning your audit is up-to-date and its findings remain relevant.
Integration – Depending how you intend to present your audit findings, you may need to import data in a format that fits. Many marketing intelligence tools integrate seamlessly with other major software tools, including Slack, Teams, MS Office, Power BI and more. It means you can export the intelligence and use it the way that works for your team and organisation.
Support – As mentioned above, a small number of marketing intelligence software tools provide market analysts or experts to help you get the most from the system. This can be a big help during the set-up of your dashboard as they’ll work with you to understand the brief and set the parameters of your tracking. They will also provide ongoing support to prioritise, analyse and surface the most relevant intelligence for your audit.
Concluding thoughts on marketing audits
Overall the case can be made that marketing intelligence and marketing audits go hand-in-hand. Whereas your audit represents a deep dive into your marketing activity and performance in the context of the market and economic climate, marketing intelligence instead focuses on continuous tracking of data to highlight strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Both provide considerable value to marketing departments seeking to improve and optimise their approach. When combined, they make audits easier to undertake and the findings more relevant and usable.