Improving Your Marketing Strategy with a Marketing Audit
JUNE 15, 2012:
Brian Bierbaum, Vice President of Strategy and Growth
Marketing Strategy Results
Have you ever worked for an organization that spent loads of time and money on tactics without evaluating the entire marketing strategy and overall goals? I’m guessing most of you are shaking your head up and down. We have all been in situations where time and/or budget get in the way of doing it right.
Sadly, pressures and budget constraints from the c-suite often make it easy to skip consistent strategic planning. Yet, those pressures and budget constraints are often the same reasons we should be considering more strategy in the first place! A well-conducted marketing audit uncovers opportunities for incremental revenue and/or cost savings through a more efficient marketing approach and often ends up saving time by not implementing the wrong tactics for the wrong audience.
So when should you conduct a marketing audit?
When you least expect it … when you are at your wits' end … when it seems like the last thing you have time for. A marketing audit actually provides the most value during the most disruptive times; when you feel like your head can’t be spinning anymore, it’s time to consider one.
1. During leadership change. When new leadership teams are in place, it is a GREAT time to conduct a marketing audit. It shows you and your team are open to change and that you’ll be prepared for new budget allocations and business philosophies to come. More important, you will be better positioned to ensure that the company’s message remains loud and clear, and changes happen in the right areas.
2. When your business is stagnant. You think you’re doing everything right, but the results and feedback from leadership feel otherwise. Rather than going into panic mode, may I suggest you bring in outside experts to see how a change in your marketing strategy could revitalize your results and transform your organization.
3. When your business is experiencing rapid growth. If your business is growing faster than your current marketing efforts can handle, consider yourself one of the lucky ones. Keep in mind that growth at that level does not maintain that pace without the right marketing strategy to back it. No matter how swamped your team is, you’ll regret it later if you don’t come up for air to focus on strategy.
4. When you are being ‘out-marketed’ by your competitors or you are ‘out-marketing’ them. It may be time to size up your marketing in comparison to competitors. Chances are that you (or your competition) are missing out on opportunities to reach target audiences … or you are over-utilizing a channel (maybe both!). A marketing audit provides the substance to prevent you from spending your time and budget in unnecessary areas (so you can spend more where it counts!).
5. Before a website redesign. I am a digital guy. Nothing is more frustrating than starting a website strategy session to find out that the organization’s entire marketing plan is upside down. If you don’t keep overall marketing strategy in mind during a website redesign, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. A designer can make a website look good, and a developer will make it do cool things, but a marketing strategy will make your website generate leads and real business growth.
6. When you think you know what you want, but don’t know how to get there. Have a clear vision of where your organization needs to be, yet don’t have a solid strategic plan to get there? A marketing audit can confirm or refine your vision and recommend the right resources and budget allocation strategies.
I hope this post has helped you to really think about times when an in-depth analysis might be the right way to take one step back and two steps forward.