One of the secrets of any digital marketing consultant’s success is how it is processed, developed, and presented to the market, plus its capacity to stand out and stay in the market. Despite having abundant resources, the best of staff and employees with the right skills and attitude, everything will be useless without an appropriate marketing strategy that will serve as the anchor of the business. However, any marketing strategy will be needing a mechanism to assess if every strategy can obtain the expected outcomes. This is where the marketing audit comes in.
The Dynamics of Marketing Audit
As defined by the Business Jargons, marketing audit is "comprehensive, systematic, analysis, evaluation and the interpretation of the business marketing environment, both internal and external, its goals, objectives, strategies, principles to ascertain the areas of problems and opportunities and to recommend a plan of action to enhance the firm's marketing performance". It helps a business to assess the resources and activities based on the marketing conditions and use the results analyzed to guide the business in the planning process. This shows that establishing marketing strategies is impossible to do without having a marketing review first. This can be made by the members of the company's organization, assisted by the people under the marketing team and external marketing auditors and consultants if needed. Moreover, despite that this is recommended to do before the planning process, it doesn't mean it has to be done during that time. Marketing audits must be done regularly, even during the planning part.
Why Marketing Audit is Essential in any Business
Besides being an important tool in achieving the company's success, here are some of the benefits an organization can have in doing a marketing assessment:
A marketing assessment helps a company see the deeper perspective of the business' marketing activities, particularly how it is planned, executed, and accomplished.
A marketing review helps to identify its strengths and weaknesses, along with the threats and opportunities.
Through the systematic and organized approaches an audit possesses, it helps to make marketing strategies easier to implement.
An audit helps the business to correct the errors, miscalculations, and other mistakes have done before worse damages occur.
The overall performance of the audit relies on the functions of the management, especially those that are in charge of the decision-making tasks in the marketing part. The decisions made in connection to the marketing activities will be based on the results of the marketing review.
Components of the Marketing Audit
There are seven types of marketing audits, divided into three main components, which are: external environment, internal environment, and the company's existing marketing strategies.
A. EXTERNAL ENVIRONMENT
1. Macro-environment audit- these refer to the external factors that can affect the company's performance on the marketing part. a. Demographic- the age, gender, employment status, among others, of the consumers in the market b. Economic- interest rates, inflation levels, and taxation policies c. Environmental- existing technologies and systems in the placed. Cultural- the lifestyle practices, beliefs, traditions, and customs of the consumers and its effect on the consumerism d. Political- leadership stability and the state of political affairs in the country can also affect the economy in the place and must be considered 2. Task environment audit- these pertain to matters outside of the organization but still can bring impact and effect on the marketing strategies and operations. a. The company's distinct features- the industry that it belongs, dissection type, the way it is targeted and positioned, and the adherence of the company are determined b. The consumers-their behaviors and what influences their decisions to buy and consume are recognized. Also, it assesses the company's ability to meet and satisfy the needs and wants of the consumers c. The company's competitors- their total account and their concentration, and the competitive landscape perspectives like their growth and profitability levels, strengths and weaknesses, and their marketing strategies d. Retailers and distributors- the company's relationship to the retailers, distributors, and other third parties and its impact on the marketing aspects of the company.
B. INTERNAL ENVIRONMENT
3. Marketing organization audit- Here, the company's labor force is evaluated based on their positions and functions, their place in the organizational structure, and their overall performance. 4. Marketing function audit- This reviews the company's integral competencies which include the products offered, pricing, channels of distribution, marketing communication, and the sales force. 5. Marketing systems audit- The marketing systems that are currently used by the company.
C. COMPANY'S EXISTING MARKETING STRATEGY
6. Marketing strategy audit- it will review the company's vision, mission, marketing objectives and goals, and the strategies that will help to improve its overall marketing status. 7. Marketing productivity audit- The auditors will evaluate the marketing activities that have been implemented and its effectiveness.
Characteristics of a Right Marketing Audit
Here are the things that a marketing reviews must possess for its better and more effective performance:
Comprehensiveness: it should identify the marketing issues the company has
Systematic: It should follow sequential steps in data collection and analysis based on the company's internal and external environment along with its current strategies in marketing
Independent: Its auditors possess an independent attitude wherein they can stand alone especially from the marketing department
Periodic: Marketing audit must be done regularly, and not just on the times that there are crisis or damages that the company encountered, wherein it will only be used to solve and troubleshoot the problems concerning that particular scenario
The Process of Marketing Assessment
Generally, there are no fixed guidelines in doing and implementing marketing reviews because it should rely on the structure of every company. However, the approaches that are done have almost the same concept. The following are the usual phases that comprise the marketing that is usually done and the steps constituting those phases.
1st PHASE: Pre-Audit
1. Determination of the persons that will perform the auditing It can be: - Self-audit or those that belong to the organization, or - Outside audit or getting the services of an outside auditor 2. Determination of the timeline when to perform the audit Plan for the timetable-when will it start and how often it should be done. It is important that it should be done regularly or periodically and not just at the onset of the marketing strategy preparation. 3. Identification of the scope and objectives. The scope and objectives serve as a guide for auditors on how they will perform the audit. Moreover, the objective will be the starting point, so it's important that it must be clear and concise. 4. Identification of the methodology to be used The process which includes the methods, tools, and techniques to be used especially in the data collection and analysis must also be known and clear to those that will perform the audit.
2nd PHASE: The Proper Audit
1. Gathering and collection of data It can be done through: - Research where sources will include data that are published and uniform marketing data sources - Checking of historical internal records like business documents and marketing records - Survey and questionnaire - Interview - Observation by going on-site Data that are collected will apply to the mentioned three main components of the marketing assessment. 2. Analysis of data Using the collected data, the auditors then will proceed to the analysis part which is the central part of the process. Some of the basic and simple tools that can be used in data analysis are: - SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis- The strengths and weaknesses came from the internal environment and the current marketing strategy, while the opportunities and threats must be from the external environment - Five Forces analysis- these are: industry's competition, new player's threats, the power of the customer, the power of the supplier, and auxiliary products' coercions - PEST (Political, Environmental, Socio-cultural and Technological) analysis- it focuses on the macro-environment factors 3. Recommendation preparation Basing on the results of information analysis, this is documented in the marketing review report. This must be presented in a prioritized list so that the management and stakeholders will be comprehended on the results easily. The recommendations will not either be ignored or accepted easily by the company. There will still be discussions for this until all the parties will come upon major decisions and they will all be satisfied before making marketing strategies.
3rd PHASE: Post-Audit
The marketing assessment report will be presented to the management and this will serve as the basis in deciding for the marketing strategies. There will be times that this report will also be presented to other departments of the company, especially to those that will be involved in the marketing activities. Any business or organization should have a tool that can guide not only the company but also the people behind it. A marketing assessment will not only act as a life saver during times of crisis but as a compass towards the success of the organization and its people. Before you start making any plan or marketing action for your business, marketing review should be the first in your to do list.
Final Thoughts About Marketing Audit and Shaping your Digital Marketing Strategy
Aside from following these important facts and steps in marketing audit, it is also important that you know your business, your clientele, and competitors by heart. A marketing audit can go wrong if the data collected from the beginning of the process is incorrect so knowing the heart of your business is really important. A gynaecologist cannot do a check-up the female reproductive system if she doesn’t know it’s anatomy. This is the same for every business owners. You cannot do an assessment of your own marketing plans if you don’t know the anatomy of your own business.
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