June 14, 2014 9:06 am
What is a marketing audit?
If you want your business to succeed and grow, you need to market your products and services effectively. At Ketchup, that’s what we do, we work with businesses to ensure that they are marketing their products and services in the right way.
We’ve got a lot of marketing super brains in our team, even if we do say so ourselves, so we’ve decided to put together a series of blog posts covering the A-Z of marketing and how you can and should be using it within your business. This week we’ll be focusing on your starting point – the marketing audit.
Before you start to focus on your marketing and where you want it to take you and your business, it’s wise to get a feeling for where you actually are now. A marketing audit will essentially show you more about the environment you are operating in, what are your competitors up to for example, plus what you are doing well, and what areas can be improved upon in your current marketing activity.
Why should you complete a marketing audit?
The results from completing a marketing audit will show you your starting point. This will then enable you to identify the objectives for your marketing, enabling you to plan how marketing activity will be used to support your business going forward.
How do I complete a marketing audit?
The marketing audit will involve you taking a look at your organisation from the inside out and the outside in. The following steps should be taken when conducting your marketing audit:
1. Look at your company
As your company stands currently, how well known are you, what are sales levels like, how aware of you and your brand are your target market? What is the perception of your company and its’ products and services among your buyers?
Answering these questions with honesty and as much accuracy as you can will provide some very powerful insights. Maybe you are doing better than you thought or maybe there are some gaps between how you want to be perceived and how you actually are perceived.
2. Identify your objectives
What are your key objectives when it comes to your marketing and building your company? Do you feel that you need more visibility, are you hidden behind your competitors, do you need to increase sales leads and your market share? By getting your key goals down on paper you can then start to add some focus to future marketing efforts.
Separate your objectives based on long term – say the next 2 – 3 years – and short term, objectives you want to achieve over the next 6 – 12 months. Make sure you are realistic about this based on your team and the resources available to you.
3. Who buys from you now
Carry out a quick review of your customers. Where they are based, what jobs they do, what their income levels are, the typical lifestyle choices they make, what kind of companies they work for, etc… Obviously the questions you ask and the profile you build will depend on whether you are dealing with businesses or individuals.
What you want here is an overview of your ‘average’ customer.
4. Who would you like to buy from you in the future
Now that you have your customer overview you can make some decisions regarding your ‘ideal customer’. If you are already selling to your ideal customer then that’s great. Sometimes though you might want to look at people with higher levels of disposable income, bigger budgets, those who are more likely to repeat purchase etc…
Based on the information you already have, take a good look and identify how you can grow your business through the expansion or change of your current target market.
5. More about your product and service
What do you offer your current customers? What are the main features and benefits of your current products and services? Why do people buy from you? What do you offer that your competitors don’t and what do your competitors do better than you?
In the wider environment are there any factors affecting the use or adoption of your products and services? For example, new legislation, currency strength, or economic changes.
Has there been and increase or decrease in awareness and sales levels over time and what are the likely causes? Answers to these questions are designed to help you look at what you are offering in an objective way with the view to identifying strengths you can maximise and weaknesses you can work on to improve.
6. Your competitors
Who are your main competitors? If possible choose 5 or 6 of your closest competitors and really delve into what they offer and what their objectives and goals are (many organisations list this kind of information on their website these days). Take a good look at their products and services, what do they offer, to who, at what price. How are their products and services better than yours, be honest here! How are your products and services better than theirs?
This knowledge will help you to see the bigger picture when it comes to who and what you are competing with on a daily basis.
7. What’s currently working
As a business it is probably fairly obvious to you what’s worked and what hasn’t in terms of marketing activity over the years. The one thing that many business owners fail to do however is to sit down and look at why certain activity has been more successful and the way that they can improve on things even further.
Identify your most successful sales and marketing activity over the past 12 – 18 months and the reasons why it worked.
8. What’s the plan
Now it’s time to take the information you have and put it together into an outline marketing plan for the next 6 – 12 months. Take a look at your budget and revisit the objectives you want to achieve. Analyse the resources and knowledge you have in house, is it time to bring in extra resources or outsource some of your work to an agency? The information you have gathered during the previous steps should have gone a long way towards getting you clear on what needs to be done to take your business to the next level.
If you are looking for support with your marketing audit, planning, and activity going forward it might be time to speak to the experts. Call Ketchup Marketing today on 0330 088 9277 or use our contact form here.