We should, of course. But to answer the real question…
There are typically three options for conducting your marketing audit:
- an internal team (of one or more),
- a marketing agency currently working for you,
- or a third-party agency.
Each option has its benefits.
An internal team has the easiest access to your information, both about marketing activities and how well your goals have been met. They know the business and the resources available, and will also be playing a large role in marketing planning. Working knowledge of the audit can make the planning phase easier.
The team might include members of the marketing and finance teams, so that you have people with knowledge of multiple metrics (sales numbers, social buzz, etc.).
Your internal team might not have the specific expertise to perform an audit. A full audit probably includes a large amount of data, requiring statistics and marketing knowledge to interpret, and many internal teams outsource parts of their marketing activities. Additionally, they may struggle to find the time to do a thorough marketing audit, especially with a smaller marketing team where members fill multiple roles.
Your agency (hopefully) already keeps files on all your marketing activities, and should have been measuring the success of each. They also have the knowledge and resources to interpret these results accurately. Attribution is rarely simple and can require detailed knowledge and specific analysis skills.
For both an internal team and an agency, an unbiased report might be difficult to create. When a team or firm feels responsible for the results (as they should), there may be an unintentional tendency to skew the interpretation to be more positive.
A third-party agency is where you turn for the most objective audit. A reliable third party should have no bias to skew the results to look better than they are.
A third-party firm looking to create more business for themselves, however, might have a tendency to make the results look worse than they really are in order to pitch their own services. Be careful to choose a trustworthy firm—either a firm you’re testing out to see if they might be good to work with in the future, or a firm that offers no-strings marketing audits. If anything looks strange, ask for an explanation—any firm you want to work with will answer fully and honestly.
D: All of the Above
A fourth option is a combination of an internal team, agency, and facilitator. This can be a single-day session with most of the information-gathering done in advance. Representatives from the internal marketing and finance teams, and any agencies meet with a facilitator for a workshop day of marketing auditing. This gives you the advantages of specialized knowledge, internal knowledge, and an outside perspective all at once.
Navigate the options with confidence
Navigating the crowded options can be nerve-wracking, but as long as you know what to expect and work with people you trust, you won’t go too far wrong.
To give you an idea of what an example marketing audit template might look like, we have supplied one of the templates we use. If the report you receive from your firm or team is missing any key sections, make sure you ask why.