7 Steps to Conducting a Marketing Audit
We typically associate the term “audit” with finance and taxes. Whether for taxes or marketing, the purpose of an audit is to uncover what you did and why, what’s working, and what should be changed.
A marketing audit should examine all of your work, your calendar, and the results to determine successful efforts, evaluate where you’re over- or under spending, check your ROI, and make some key decisions for moving forward. It’s best to audit your marketing processes and operations, data, content, and even your staff. Start small and be sure to set up metrics and benchmarks. The following seven steps will help you with the process:
Step 1: Select what you want to audit first.
For example: evaluate your marketing operations and creative workflow. Are you getting things out the door on time and on budget, or are there endless revisions and missed deadlines? Or look at your content – such as your email campaigns.
Step 2: Collect the facts.
Dig into your archives. When you’re auditing your content, for example, start by looking through your editorial calendar to see what was done this year. Set up a spreadsheet and add a line-item for each effort and the date it ran. Add another set of columns to track marketing metrics. To easily see patterns, try to limit your data by evaluating just a few key things. Go through all your campaigns and make notes.
Step 3: Gain insights.
What do you want to know about your operations, content, or ROI? Maybe you’d like to figure out your averages or track the highest- and lowest-performing efforts. You should also calculate the cost-to-effort ratios and compare successes from one year to the next. If you have KPIs established for your business, start there and create a chart to track the success of these indicators.
Step 4: Document your methodology.
As you’re tracking the facts, document your steps. Write down what data you used and how you calculated your numbers to easily recreate it in the future, if necessary.
Step 5: Create a report of the results.
Use high-level notes as well as granular examples that illustrate your points. To easily identify patterns, use visuals (e.g. graphs and infographics). This can be used as an executive-level summary and as a reference the next time you conduct an audit.
Step 6: Analyze your findings and make decisions.
Once you have all the facts, see what patterns emerge and then take action. What efforts performed well? Do you want to retry them or is it time to discard them? Review your organizational process and strategy. Determine bottlenecks, find where repeatable processes can streamline productivity and cut tasks that aren’t adding value.
Step 7: Repeat.
Schedule your audit(s) once a month, quarter, or year to re-evaluate how you’re doing. Like any metrics, it’s wise to capture data at the same time each cycle – for example, if you audit in July, audit next July – so you’re comparing apples to apples.
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