If you looked up “Marketing Audit” in the dictionary, you may see a description like: “See ‘pulling your hair out.'”
It's true: Marketing audits do include a long-involved process that often unearths a lot of information about your business and requires modifications to your marketing strategy.
But we cannot overstate how important they are. Marketing audits are a necessity for successful businesses, and help align your company’s marketing activities with your business goals.
If you think you’re overdue for a marketing audit, the answer is: Of course you are! But just in case you’re not convinced, let us regale you with the best times to do one.
1. It’s That Time of Year!
Ok, so the headline here might be a little misleading.
Yes, as a rule of thumb, all businesses should perform a marketing audit at least once a year. But it’s much more complicated than that.
If you’re a small business that doesn’t produce much content and only has a small group of clientele, yeah, once-per-year marketing audits are just fine.
But if you’re a large or growing business that launches multiple products and services per year and has divisions in multiple sectors, you should probably consider moving to a quarterly marketing audit.
And that’s in addition to the other events that should trigger marketing audits listed below.
2. We Are (Almost) ‘Go for Launch’
Are you about to launch a new ad campaign? Are you about to introduce new content or services to your product lineup? What a splendidly hectic time to do a marketing audit!
Ok, we know what you’re thinking: “Are you insane?!? We’ve already got too much to do getting ready for launch! Now you think we should do a marketing audit?”
Yes. Yes we do. And here’s why.
The world of marketing changes faster than the gas prices over Labor Day weekend. The things you're doing now might have worked great a few months ago. But continuing to use these same strategies is probably just as effective as using a floppy disk with a Surface Pro Tablet.
In other words, it just doesn’t work.
If you’re launching a new product with an old strategy, you might as well take your marketing budget, set it on fire, and roast marshmallows over it.
Doing a marketing audit prior to launch (while extremely headache-inducing) is the best way to shore up weaknesses in your marketing strategy. For instance, you might have a great product with lots of features, but you discover you’re highlighting the wrong things. A quick marketing audit will help you adjust your message and improve your sales.
Otherwise, you might end up giving your product the Atari Landfill treatment.
3. Under New Management
There’s an old saying that after a while, owners start looking like their dogs. Well, businesses are the opposite. After a while, businesses tend to look like their owners.
Whether or not you want to admit it, it’s a fact that companies will begin taking on the drive and character of the person in charge.
This makes sense. A good business owner knows how to lead the charge in just the right way. Naturally, if one is following the leader, they will begin to act according to their wishes.
However, when a major change in leadership occurs, there’s often a period where the company’s personality quirks begin to change.
During this character re-alignment, the goals of the business are likely to shift, meaning your strategies need to as well. This is a great time to perform a marketing audit to determine what the new direction is and how to succeed following it.
Do this, and you’ll ensure that no matter which way your new leadership wants to go, your business will always be moving forward.
4. One-Upping the Competition
Marketing audits aren’t just a great way to stay on top of your strengths and weaknesses. They can be used to look at your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses too.
This is a perfect opportunity to target an area where your competition isn’t too hot, and dominate the sector in it.
This ensures you’re always on top when it comes to attracting customers to your business.
We can’t tell you how many times we’ve seen a formerly top-dog company fall by the wayside because they refused to re-focus their marketing while their competitors did.
Remember, the problem with being the king of the hill is that everyone wants to knock you off. Don’t give them the chance. Schedule an audit ASAP to get things back on track – or ensure they stay on the track!
5. Runner-Upping the Competition
Let’s look at the other side of the equation. Let’s say you’re struggling to keep up with other businesses in your industry. You’ve tried everything you can think of, but you’re still grasping at straws trying to woo customers away from 'the other guys.'
If you’re tired of always coming in second-best, marketing audits can help you. Remember how we said you can use audits to see what other companies are doing well.
If you’re a small business going up against the Nikes and Johnson & Johnsons of the world, it can truly seem like a David vs. Goliath situation. The secret to coming out on top isn’t beating the big guys across the board; it’s beating them where they struggle the most.
It doesn’t matter how big they are. They don’t do everything perfectly – no one does.
For example, if you’re a local boutique that prides itself in local, friendly support, make customer service the main reason to choose you. Let’s be honest, no one likes the carousel of apathetic “customer support” that permeates the modern call center at most big businesses.
By shaving off niche upon niche from the flagship industry leaders, you can build a decent-sized customer pool. And marketing audits are perfect for discovering where your business’ strengths coincide with your competition’s weaknesses. Then all you have to do is capitalize on that.
You don’t have to be No. 1 in everyone’s book. But if you’re one option people think of when they want great customer service or the most responsive IT provider – or whatever that defined niche you've created for yourself is – that’s a major victory.
Stealth loves a good underdog story. In fact, we have a knack for turning them into champions.
Our marketing audit services ensure your strategies are always laser-focused on your company’s goals (and your competitors’ too).
Feel like it’s time to reconsider your marketing strategy? Drop us a line, and we’ll take a look at it together.
As always, stay tuned for more tips and tricks from Stealth Creative next time we go Off the Radar.