Marketing becomes more complex every day. As new technology and concepts surface, promoting brands, products, and services has become a complicated activity for small and large companies alike.
As marketers craft and implement their strategies, it can be difficult to understand what is working and what isn’t. Sure, you can monitor the results of a Facebook ad campaign. It’s fun to watch a subtle uptick in organic traffic due to a popular article on the company blog, too.
But how are these impacting your marketing KPIs (key performance indicators)? Are they really bringing you closer to your goals? Are they having an effect on your company’s bottom line?
If you’re wondering if your marketing is working, here is a rundown on how you can conduct a thorough marketing audit of your promotional initiatives — along with a few tips to clean things up, boost performance, and unlock the full potential of your marketing efforts.
How to Conduct a Marketing Audit
If you aren’t sure if your marketing is working, here is a step-by-step marketing audit process to give you a better idea of what is working …and what isn’t.
Start by Reviewing Your Objectives
You can’t gauge the effectiveness of an activity without setting up a benchmark by which to measure it. With that said, what are your marketing goals?
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer here. Marketing goals can vary depending on your current initiatives, stage of growth, and so on.
Specifics aside, every business has a marketing goal on some level. Make sure you have KPIs established and that you understand the goals and objectives that you’re aiming for as a company.
If your goals are vague or unclear, ask yourself a few questions to help you bring them into focus. For instance, what is your target audience? Has that changed recently? Has it grown? Considering your customer is a great way to better understand the specifics of what you’re trying to accomplish as a brand.
However you do it, make sure you have clear objectives in place — and that they’re fresh in your mind as you begin your marketing audit.
Bring Everything Into One Place
Next up, consider all of your various marketing activities. Chances are, you have a lot of data scattered across several different locations. It’s difficult to gauge how effective these are if they remain separated.
Take some time to assess your various marketing tools and their associated data. If possible, bring that information into a single location, too. That way, you can analyze it (see next step) with ease.
If you’re marketing savvy or your marketing activity is simple, you may only need to open up a spreadsheet and import data by hand. For most companies, though, it can be useful to find a quality tool that can bring together and organize information for the marketing audit.
Hawke Media’s Hawke AI tool is one option for this. The platform consolidates data into a single-view dashboard. This makes it easier to analyze everything from marketing spend to impressions, CTR (click-through rate), conversions, and more. Tools like this also streamline ongoing monitoring of your marketing (see the last step for more on that one).
Compare Data to Goals
Once you’ve assessed your goals and gathered your data, it’s time to do some analysis. Look for what is working and what isn’t. What is driving revenue? Generating leads? Creating organic traffic? Building brand awareness?
As you consider your current marketing performance, don’t just look for results. Compare cost to effect.
What is it costing you to create content, and how much organic traffic is that driving to your site? Is your digital PR creating a consistent frequency of third-party mentions on other sites? Does an acceptable number of leads convert once they reach your sales funnel?
It isn’t always easy to gauge the effectiveness of your marketing. However, you can get a solid idea of how things are going if you start with your KPIs as a benchmark. From there, look for high-performing activities as well as underperforming ones.
This will give you an idea of what is working and how well it’s working compared to your expectations. It will also show you the areas where your marketing is weakest and needs attention.
Create a Schedule for Future Marketing Audits
At this point, you’ve taken a close look at your marketing activities. You’ve audited each area and dug deep to uncover your weak spots. Now, it’s time to look to the future.
Use this post-audit point of marketing strength to turn marketing reviews into a recurring event. This should happen at least quarterly, if not more often. Talk to your team, consider how often you need to make tweaks, and then get something in your schedule.
The good news is that the more often you revisit your marketing, the less you’ll have to do. You won’t need to conduct a deep-dive audit on your marketing a month or two from now. Instead, you can run through the above steps as a general review. Look for any red flags, make notes for future reviews, and adjust if and where it’s needed.
How to Boost Your Marketing Performance
At this point, you’ve conducted a marketing audit on your activities and set the stage to continue doing so in the future. The last step is to consider how you can optimize your marketing moving forward now that you have a firm grasp of what is going on. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
- Update your objectives: Make sure your KPIs and marketing goals are up to date and make sense with your business growth and promotional objectives.
- Align current results with your objectives: As you update objectives, consider how aligned your marketing efforts are with reaching those goals. If and when you see that things are off, make adjustments.
- Ask the right questions: As you look for ways to make adjustments, ask the right questions. Are you being consistent across all platforms and messages? Is everything up to date? Does your marketing align with consumer expectations and pain points?
- Work with an outsourced CMO: When in doubt, consider working with a fractional CMO — a contracted executive that Marketing Brew points out is quickly catching on in the marketing world. This gives you marketing insights and support from executives whose services are affordable and experienced.
From clear objectives to third-party support, make sure you’re investing not just in understanding your marketing results — but in improving them over time, as well.
Getting the Most Out of Your Marketing Audit
The digital revolution has made marketing accessible. However, it has also made it increasingly complex.
Digital marketing is a splintered, data-heavy activity. It requires perpetual adaptation as you keep up with both the needs of your target audience and the cutting-edge tech tools that help you market your brand’s solutions to those needs.
As you invest the time, effort, and resources into marketing, make sure it isn’t in vain. It’s easy to let underperforming marketing activity slip by as you focus on keeping up with everything else.
Nevertheless, taking the time to review your marketing and boost performance confirms that each marketing initiative isn’t just bearing fruit. It ensures that it is optimized and has a fully positive effect on your company’s growth, revenue generation, and, ultimately, its bottom line.