Marketing Audit FAQ
What’s a marketing audit?
It’s a thorough review of your business and its marketing capabilities. Think of it as a Marketing MOT – it finds out how ready your business is to start its marketing journey!
What does a marketing audit cover?
The SharpEdge Marketing audit is a comprehensive 70-point audit plan, split into twelve areas (or mini-audits), which include:
- The Marketing and Business Culture audit
- Strategic Marketing audit
- Marketing Planning and Budgeting audit
- Marketing Department/Function audit
- Marketing Mix audit
- Branding audit
- Marketing Communications audit
- Customer Service audit
- Customer audit
- Competitor audit
- STEEPLE (marketing environment) audit
- Industry analysis
Plus it includes a SWOT analysis, and specific recommendations.
Why should I have a marketing audit?
Plenty of reasons!
- It’s an important first stage in the planning process. It provides important information that makes planning more effective. Better planning makes for better marketing communications – which make for better results.
- It gives a fresh perspective on the business. The audit asks questions that can help directors and managers think about the business in a different way. Just going through the process of an audit can be revealing, and a benefit in itself. It gives you an objective view on the business and its marketing which can otherwise be difficult to achieve.
- It checks there are mechanisms in place to make sure your marketing communications make a difference – such as measuring results and reporting feedback.
- It finds out what could get in the way of making marketing work – such as blind spots, or unhelpful processes and practices. Doing an audit first gives your marketing communications the best chance of succeeding.
What happens during a marketing audit?
- An auditor checks for information in three ways – what people tell them, what they see recorded, and what they observe happening. So it’s a process of interviewing, looking at records and documents, watching behaviour and listening to conversations.
- The audit is for your benefit, so it’s important to let the auditor in to the business and trust them. Be honest; don’t try to paint a rosy picture; don’t try to cover things up. No-one is trying to catch you out.
- Marketing auditing has to happen at every level of the business – so it will involve spending time with people at every level of the business and in every department. It’s important to allow people time to spend with the auditor (or for the auditor to shadow them while at work) – and encourage them to contribute honestly to the process. The auditor will prepare a schedule to make sure they spend time with everyone they need to.
- The audit will include contacting a few customers to get their views on your business. This is a very important part of the audit, as it brings another dimension to the audit results – the reality of what your customers think! Please ensure customer details are available. Customers will be chosen at random; you can tell them they’ll be contacted if you wish, but please encourage them to answer honestly (not to give you good marks!).
How long does it take – and how much does it cost?
The honest answer is, it depends on the business, the agreed requirements of the audit, and what’s discovered during the audit. Costs are dependent on the time taken, and our standard day rate applies. A smaller business won’t take as long to audit as a larger one – so we’ll give our best estimate up-front when we know more about what’s involved.
I’m a small business – do I really need a marketing audit?
A full marketing audit is useful for medium-sized and larger businesses – but smaller businesses can also benefit. That’s because a marketing audit gives a structured approach to reviewing your marketing. We may find a few things are “not applicable”, and that’s fine. We’re happy to tailor the audit to your business. Also, going through the process might give you some new ideas of things you could do in the future.