Too often, organizations spend loads of time and money on tactics—whether it’s social media, a website redesign, or traditional advertising—when they haven’t taken the time to evaluate their entire marketing strategy and overall goals.
This frustrates me because at Right Source Marketing (full disclaimer), we frequently perform marketing audits focused on interactive marketing. These audits make a huge difference for our clients, saving them time, stress, and trouble. So when I hear people say things such as “We’ll think about looking at our strategy after our website redesign project is over,” it makes me want to pack up, quit this industry, and, inspired by Will Davis’ recent post, become a professional monkey on a unicycle.
A marketing audit actually provides the most value during the most turbulent times, when you feel as if you’re being punched in the mouth. The following are a few of those times:
1. During a change in leadership. New President or CEO? New CMO? No matter the exact change, when your organization’s leadership is changing, it’s a good time for a marketing audit. New leadership can come with new allocation of monetary and human resources, and new attitudes—a marketing audit will ensure that the company’s message remains loud and clear, or changes as needed.
2. Before a website redesign. If you don’t keep overall marketing strategy in mind during a website redesign, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. Sure, a designer might be able to make a website look pretty, and a developer will make it function, but a marketing strategy will make it generate leads and new business. (Will Davis’ recent post “Why Designers Need Smart Marketers to Build Websites” covers this.) Conducting a marketing audit focused on your company’s web presence will ensure your new website becomes an asset, not a headache.
3. When your business is stuck. You think you’re doing everything right, but the phone isn’t ringing, your inbox is actually empty, and your bank account’s even emptier. Rather than admitting defeat and curling up into the fetal position to await bankruptcy, bring in outside experts to see how a change in your marketing strategy could revitalize your entire business.
4. When your business is experiencing rapid growth. If your business is growing faster than your current marketing efforts can handle, that’s a great problem to have. But you won’t keep growing without the right marketing strategy. No matter how busy you are now, you’ll regret it later if you don’t take a step back to focus on marketing strategy. Major upside: a marketing audit should help you prioritize so you can get more sleep.
5. When you are behind your competitors. Shoot. All of your competitors use email marketing and have Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, but your website is more dated than MC Hammer’s pants. Yikes! A marketing audit provides the substance and strategy to prevent the chaos of disorganized change.
6. When you want to get ahead of your competitors. If you never want to be like the poor laggards in point 5, and you’re constantly striving to set the lead, a marketing audit will help you get there through researching what your competitors are already doing and identifying ways to one-up them.
7. When you think you know what you want, but don’t know how to get there. If you know what you’d like to do, and think you’ve got a solid strategic plan, but don’t have a clue what resources you’ll need to get there, a marketing audit can confirm or refine your plan, and recommend the right resource recruitment and allocation strategies. An audit can even estimate associated costs for outsourcing marketing or having it in-house.
I could go on and on about this—the instances above are just the beginning. Marketing evaluations can help improve, grow, and streamline your business.
Now, to turn the tables: has your company taken the time for a marketing audit? When did you do it? Was it the right time?