What is a Marketing Audit?
The marketing audit is basically a structured analysis and review of your current marketing activities carried out through an examination of your marketing strategies, tactics and objectives. The audit is also undertaken to highlight problem areas and identify opportunities with a view to recommending a plan of action to improve the overall marketing performance for your company.
When to use Marketing Audits?
The Audit consists of two key areas; the external audit and the internal audit and should normally be undertaken, at the very least, on an annual basis as part of your overall business planning and objectives. The marketing audit also proves to be an extremely useful tool when contemplating market entry as it allows your management team to assess the attractiveness of the market in which it seeks to enter.
The external audit takes into consideration the overall MACRO environment such as political, economic, social/cultural, technological, environmental and legal factors that may or may not affect your business activities. It also encompasses your competitive environment known as the MESO environment, i.e. what and who are you competing against and how could this threaten your current market share and position.
By considering a variety of factors such as; substitutes that could replace your product or service, changes in consumer lifestyles and values; market size, growth and profits; major market segments, their expected growth rates and which segments provide you with the greatest opportunity to meet your objectives, the external audit and analysis allows you to:
• Identify future events
• Identify threats and opportunities
• Identify strategic uncertainties in the market
• Identify any drifting or deviations from your original ‘plan’, that may occur
Internal Marketing Audit
This is your opportunity to put your own business under the microscope – do you know as much about your own situation as you should? This internal audit takes a close examination of your current business situation, how profitable is your company and how this may affect your marketing effectiveness and marketing mix. Also, what are your marketing objectives? Are these clearly identified and stated and if so, are they consistent with your overall company objectives and appropriate for the company’s competitive position, resources, and opportunities?
The internal marketing audit therefore focuses on the following areas:
• Strategy – is it realistic?
• Organisational structure – how does it operate and does it work?
• Systems – focus on the efficiency of the planning system
• Productivity – are the products profitable and is the organisation operationally efficient?
• Functions – examines the details of the marketing tools
So what does a Marketing Audit and analysis achieve?
The thorough audit and analysis of your marketing activities gives you the opportunity to objectively review what you’re currently doing and are you doing it right? Based on this review you can then identify the next steps forward in implementing and maintaining a solid marketing strategy.