Why the Festive Break is the Perfect Time for a Marketing Audit [Free Checklist!]

When was the last time you performed a marketing audit on your business?

Being a business owner is a busy affair. From answering emails, attending meetings, chasing invoices, to doing your actual work… you get to the end of the day feeling that you haven’t had time to come up for air!

For most of us, we are so busy running a business that we forget to dedicate the time to help that business to grow, thrive and stay competitive. Whilst the upcoming festive season is a great time for a well earned break, if you can dedicate a couple of hours to brainstorm and conduct a marketing audit plan, you can reap the rewards well into 2018!

The answers from a comprehensive marketing audit will provide you with invaluable insights into several crucial areas from the effectiveness of your marketing against your objectives, feedback about your website, comparative data about how your competitors are doing, right through to a full detailed list of actionable recommendations to improve your performance that you can begin executing immediately.

Below is a comprehensive Marketing Audit Checklist filled with questions that will get the cogs turning and get you thinking about your business shortfalls and areas in which you are performing well. Whilst not all the questions will apply to everyone, it will give you a great overall idea of what you should be thinking about.

So without further ado – sit down, grab and mince pie and a brew (or indeed a mulled wine if it’s been one of those days!) and get going!….

 

The Internal Marketing Environment

What resources do we have at hand? (i.e. The FIVE ‘M’s):

  • MEN (Labor/Labour).
  • MONEY (Finances).
  • MACHINERY (Equipment).
  • MINUTES (Time).
  • MATERIALS (Factors of Production).

 

Past Performance Indicators & Lessons Learned

  • Was a previous audit conducted, what were the conclusions and observations?
  • How successful were the implemented recommendations and suggestions from earlier audits?
  • How were those measured?
  • How often does your business conduct audits?

 

Sales and Knowledge of the Customer

  • Do you know what the customer knows, feels and believes about your business?
  • What surveys are used to determine what customers know about your products & services?
  • How often are these conducted?
  • Have you ever asked what they know, feel, believe about your competition?
  • Is it different from what you want customer’s to ‘feel’ about your business?
  • What do you want them to ‘believe’, ‘know’, about your business?
  • Is your plan market driven or engineering driven (build it and they will come)?
  • Do you know how your business develops new business opportunities?
  • Do you use any type of strategic account management practices? If so, what?
  • How would you define the business’s Unique Selling Point (USP)

 

Customer Relationship Management 

  • Do you know how satisfied your customers are with your products/services?
  • Do you use customer surveys or other forms of customer evaluations?
  • Do you consider CRM a sales, marketing or customer service responsibility?
  • Where does CRM reside within your business?
  • To what level is your business meeting or exceeding customer expectations?
  • Do you hold customer satisfaction reviews?
  • If you do, is there any internal resistance to customer satisfaction reviews?
  • Do you link any customer satisfaction feedback to your customer service planning, new product development, and/or marketing strategy development?
  • How do you detect problems customers may be experiencing with your business, brand or products?
  • Who do you involve in the process and remediation?

 

 Marketing Questions 

  • What are your current objectives for marketing?
  • What are your current marketing strategies?
  • How do you apply the marketing mix?
  • Is the marketing process being controlled effectively?
  • Are you achieving your marketing budget?
  • Are you realising your SMART objectives?
  • What is your market share? (total sales/trends/sales by product or customer or channel)
  • Are you achieving financial targets? (profit and margins/ liquidity and cash flow/ debt: equity ratio/ using financial ratio analysis)
  • How does your current marketing strategy align to business objectives and strategy?
  • Do you have the appropriate executive support and buy- in?
  • Are organisations properly budgeted to achieve their respective objectives?
  • Are business/organisational objectives clearly defined and articulated?
  • How is your marketing team organised?
  • How efficient is your marketing team?
  • How effective is your marketing team? Are your marketing team implementing the marketing plan effectively?
  • How does your marketing team interface with other organisations and internal functions?
  • What is the state of your marketing planning process?
  • Is your marketing planning information current and accurate?
  • Do you feel you are getting value for money from your marketing budgets?
  • Is your corporate or brand image consistent with your product or service, in the eyes of your customers?
  • How effective do you feel your external communications are? In what way?
  • How effective do you feel your internal communications are? In what way?
  • How profitable is your product portfolio? (Product)
  • Are you pricing in the right way? (Price)
  • How effective and efficient is distribution? (Place)
  • Are you getting your marketing communications right? (Promotion)
  • Do you have the right people facing your customers? (People)
  • How effective are your customer facing processes? (Process)
  • What is the state of your business’s physical evidence? (Physical Evidence)
  • What resources do you have for marketing & sales? – People and budgets
  • What promotional material do you use? How do you use it?  How often?
  • What is the state of your customer relationship database? How could it be used more?  How could it be improved?
  • What is our web site like? How is it performing?
  • What are our key messages?
  • Are the keywords working?
  • How effective do you feel your current marketing is?

 

Marketing Operations

  • Do you know the capabilities and limitations of your marketers? If so, how?
  • Do you understand your market dynamics?
  • Do you have any proof of the market evolution?
  • What are the differences between your products/services and branding and those of your competitors?
  • Do you have a clear set of business objectives and shorter term goals?
  • If yes, do your marketing objectives support this?
  • How is customer feedback incorporated into your marketing plans, service improvements and marketing communications activities?
  • Have you clearly defined the markets you want to develop or serve?
  • How systematically do you approach the market entry/support strategies?
  • Do you measure the return on investment provided by your marketing activities? If not, how do you know if it’s working?

 

Brand

  • How would you define the business brand? Is it actively managed? How?
  • How long has the brand/product been around?
  • What does the brand mean in the eyes of your customers?
  • Would your customers miss it if it did not exist?
  • Have you extended the brand or product line? If not, could you do it?
  • Are there any high‐risk areas you should avoid?
  • Do your brand/product promotions reinforce the core values?
  • Do you actively manage your corporate, brand or product identity? How do you do this?
  • Are your marketing and corporate communications materials consistent with this identity, and immediately recognizable as belonging to your business?
  • Do you feel that the identity works?
  • Does your identity portray the correct image?

 

Business Development

  • Are you developing new business from existing customers? Are you developing new business from new customers?
  • Are you developing new business from new products?
  • Do you know what your customer retention rates are?
  • Do you have a definition for a ‘good’ sale or customer?
  • Do you set revenue targets?
  • Do you set profit targets?
  • How do you manage key accounts?
  • How do you target new, potential key accounts?
  • Do your customers know all the brands/products you offer?
  • How much do you invest in business development activities?
  • What is the success rate of your business development efforts?

 

Planning

  • How does your business approach the planning cycle?
  • Is marketing planning included in this process?
  • If yes, is the marketing planning process seen as a positive management tool?
  • Has the business set definitions and procedures for the business and marketing planning processes?
  • Are the budgeting, business and customer service planning processes part of, or linked to the marketing planning procedure?
  • How do you determine the marketing budget? Does this procedure work well?
  • Do your marketing plans get monitored and evaluated?
  • How successful has the marketing planning process been?
  • Do you feel that appropriate internal and external information is available during the planning and evaluation processes?

 

Positioning

  • Do you know where your brand/products are positioned?
  • Do you have a clearly developed marketing positioning strategy?
  • Do your customers clearly understand what your business stands for?
  • Does your business, brand or product make a real difference in the marketplace?
  • Do you feel that you have identified all the aspects of competitive advantage your brand or product offers?
  • Do you think you exploit this competitive advantage correctly?
  • Do you communicate these advantages actively, consistently and effectively?
  • Do you think the competitive advantages you communicate can motivate your customers to choose your product/brand over the competition?

 

New Product Development

  • When did you last launch a new product? Was it successful? Why/How?
  • What is the current state of New Product Development?
  • How do you develop new products or services?
  • How long does development normally take?
  • How many successful new products/services did you introduce in the last year?
  • Are feasibility and investment criteria set for new product assessment?
  • Do you employ and evaluate launch plans for new products/services?
  • Is your product portfolio managed centrally or locally?
  • Do you link new product development to your business and marketing strategies?
  • How do you do this?
  • How are new product/service ideas encouraged and captured?

 

Change Management

  • If your business ceased to exist, would the world lose out?
  • What is the businesses purpose?
  • What is important when adding value to the community/market?
  • What is your corporate focus and do you have any community goals?
  • What sort of organization is it, and is it good at what it does?
  • What skills set the business apart?
  • Do you think the business could become supremely good at one thing?
  • Do you achieve your goals through cooperation or collaboration?
  • Do you have a change management policy?
  • If so, do you feel that it is a long term policy?

 

General

  • Are you confident about the future of your business, brand or products?
  • Are you happy working in the business, and with your co‐workers?

 


 

The External Marketing Environment

The PESTEL model is very useful for identifying the economic factors that will effect the decisions of your company.

  • Political factors
  • Economic factors
  • Social factors
  • Technological factors
  • Environmental factors
  • Legal factors

 

As a market orientated organisation, we must start by asking – What is the nature of our ‘customer?’ Such as:

The PESTEL model is very useful for identifying the economic factors that will effect the decisions of your company.

  • Political factors
  • Economic factors
  • Social factors
  • Technological factors
  • Environmental factors
  • Legal factors

 

What is the nature of competition in our target markets?

  • Our competitors’ level of profitability.
  • Their number/concentration.
  • The relative strengths and weaknesses of competition.
  • The marketing plans and strategies of our competition.

 

What is the cultural nature of the environment(s)?

  • Beliefs and religions.
  • The standards and average levels of education.
  • The evolving lifestyles of our target consumers.
  • The nature of consumerism in our target markets.

 

What is the demography of our consumers? Such as average age, levels of population, gender make up, and so on. How does technology play a part?

  • The level of adoption of mobile and Internet technologies.
  • The way in which goods are manufactured.
  • Information systems.
  • Marketing communications uses of technology and media.

 

What is the economic condition of our markets?

  • Levels of average disposable income.
  • Taxation policy in the target market.
  • Economic indicators such as inflation levels, interest rates, exchange rates and unemployment.

 

Is the political and legal landscape changing in any way?

  • Laws, for example, copyright and patents.
  • Levels of regulation such as quotas or tariffs.
  • Labour/labor laws such as minimum wage legislation.

 


 

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