We’ve all heard the quote. We’ve all laughed at it, while still feeling the sting of truth. “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Although we can all agree that this quote, attributed to John Wanamaker, is dated, it still rings unpleasantly true for many CEOs and marketing managers.
One of the primary questions we hear from almost every client and potential client is this: How do I know if my marketing money is being used effectively?
The answer, like so many others, is “it depends.” It starts, however, with a marketing audit.
Many people use the term “marketing audit” differently, so I’ll start with what we at Uncork-it consider our marketing audit definition.
What is a marketing audit?
A marketing audit is an examination of some or all of your existing marketing activities and how well they are serving you. You can have a full marketing audit (tailored to the kind of business you have and the markets you serve), or a partial marketing audit (just a social media marketing audit, or just a website audit).
A full marketing audit lists ALL of your marketing activities, how much you’re spending, and what your return on investment is for each. This audit will show strengths and weaknesses, and inform your future direction.
A marketing audit is also called a marketing appraisal, marketing assessment, marketing evaluation, or marketing report card. These are typically all the same thing.
Ideally, a marketing audit will be tailored to an individual company, incorporating the marketing channels important for that company’s particular market and size. When performing a marketing audit, however, it is important to list the marketing activities that are important for that company, not just the ones the company is actively engaging in.
Some elements will be common to most firms, and some might only apply to a few. For example, a B2B firm selling electronics components may measure social media success by recruitment numbers while a B2C firm selling home safety devices might measure social media success in upgrades purchased.
What does a marketing audit look like?
As with most marketing elements, what a marketing audit looks like depends on the kind of audit and who is performing it. From a single piece of paper covered in handwritten notes to a bound booklet complete with images, there is no single marketing audit template that is best for everyone.
Although we can’t, due to confidentiality, show a “real” marketing audit example, we are providing a general marketing audit template to help give you an idea of the kinds of information a marketing audit might include.
How does a marketing audit work?
Again, “it depends.” It depends on who is doing the audit, and what the goal is. At its most intense, the marketing audit will be a collaboration between departments and at least one third-party agency. At its simplest, a marketing audit might be done internally by the head of marketing.
The marketing audit conductor will gather information about marketing activities and goals, then examine each one and how well it worked. If done well, patterns and opportunities will emerge and you will have the information you need to direct your marketing toward greater success!