Hearing the word “audit” gives some people shivers because of its connotation with taxes and the IRS. However, an audit can be a genuinely beneficial tool when used properly. In this case, we’re considering what an audit can do for your business’s marketing.
If you’ve never conducted a marketing audit before, you undoubtedly have a few questions like:
- Why should I do an audit?
- How often should I audit my marketing?
- Who should conduct the audit?
- What should be included in the audit?
Since GreenMellen regularly handles digital marketing audits for our clients, we thought we’d walk through some of the basics to help get you started. This is helpful whether you decide to handle the audit yourself or hire an agency like us for help.
Why should I do a marketing audit?
Marketers and business owners are often guilty of working in the business instead of on it. This means you’re overly focused on knocking out urgent marketing tasks, rather than taking time to reflect on the efficiency of your processes or measuring your success.
A marketing audit allows you to step back and examine how you’re doing.
These are a few benefits of examining your marketing efforts with an audit:
- Think strategically about your marketing as a whole.
- Remind yourself what you’re doing well so you can be encouraged.
- Uncover your weaknesses and where you need to improve (or hire help).
- Prioritize where you should focus your effort moving forward.
- Find out new opportunities you can pursue (as you have margin).
- Document all of this in one place to compare your progress over time.
How often should you conduct a marketing audit?
We nearly always recommend auditing your marketing annually—once per year. This gives you a broad enough scope of time to examine and enough time to practically conduct the audit (even with a small team).
Trying to pull off an audit every month is impractical. Quarterly might be feasible if your marketing team is larger and your efforts are complex. Every other year might be a cadence preferred by smaller companies, but might not be often enough to be effective.
Whatever time frame you decide, prioritize this by planning in advance. Schedule time on the calendar to make the audit happen. Dedicate an entire day (or several hours spread out) to compile and review the information as a team.
Who should conduct the audit?
Depending on your team, the audit should likely be compiled by your company’s marketing leader. They may or may not have marketing in their title, but it ultimately falls to the person who oversees the marketing efforts. This person has the best familiarity with your strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities.
Once the audit is complete, it should be shared with and reviewed by your whole team. This could be the marketing department or your leadership staff. Essentially, anyone who should have input into how the marketing strategy should be executed.
If you don’t have the internal resources to handle it, you can also consider passing this responsibility to an external marketing agency. The benefit of this option is an agency’s understanding of marketing best practices and their objectivity. However, it does take time to coordinate by sharing your internal marketing platforms and then digesting their report.
What should be included in the audit?
This is perhaps the broadest and most difficult to answer question—but it’s also the most important. Audits come in many forms and sizes, but you must find the right one to fit your business. These are just a few things to begin collecting during a marketing audit:
- A list of your current marketing platforms and campaigns
- Your digital marketing data and results
- An overview of your digital marketing tools and technologies
- People involved in your marketing (both internal and external)
- Examples of your physical or print marketing materials
- A SWOT analysis of these efforts
Once you’ve gathered this information, spend some focused time as a team to review everything. Ask some important questions:
- Which are our most or least successful marketing channels?
- Do we need to add more channels or stop using any?
- Is our messaging and branding consistent across all channels?
- What could we do to make these channels more effective?
- Are there resources or tools that could help our marketing?
GreenMellen’s Marketing Audit Template
To help with this overwhelming, but important process, GreenMellen developed a Digital Marketing Audit Template. There’s no right or wrong way to do an audit, but this is a starting place that includes our take on marketing best practices.
These are some of the platforms we can help you audit with this free marketing resource:
- Branding & messaging
- Website & blog
- Email marketing
- Specific social media channels
- Digital advertising
- Reputation management
This is a tool we use to audit the digital marketing for our marketing clients every year. If you’re curious to learn more about how GreenMellen can help with your marketing, reach out to us to start a conversation.