Now is a good time to audit and assess your marketing strategy and activity, ready to make improvements for 2015.

 A good marketing audit looks deeply into your business and into your market and gives you all the information you need to create a solid, long-term strategy. Done regularly (annually is good enough for most businesses), marketing audits also help you re-evaluate whether the marketing you are doing is working.
So now we know why you should do it, how do you actually do an audit? Here is a quick guide to marketing audits in three easy steps:

1. Examine your business

Take an objective look at your business, as if you were looking at it from an outsider’s perspective.
  • What are you currently doing in terms of marketing?
  • How much have you spent on them?
  • What results have you seen from your marketing activities?
  • What is working?
  • What isn’t working?
  • What marketing resources do you have at your disposal (budget, people, materials, equipment etc.)?
  • What is in your current product range and what is in development or soon to be launched?
  • How profitable are each of your products and services?
  • How healthy is your supply chain? Have there been any quality or delivery issues that need addressing?
  • How have your costs changed recently (or since your last audit)?

2. Look outside of your business

Look at your market and your place in it.
  • What are the current trends in your market?
  • Look at the political, economic, social and technological aspects to the market and see where things have changed and might change in the future (for more info on the PEST model click here)?
  • What are your competitors doing?
  • What are the opportunities and threats in your market and where do your business’s strengths and weaknesses lie in response to these pressures?

This analysis is often called a SWOT analysis.

3. Next: act on this information
Now that you’ve collected up all this useful information, you need to use it in your planning.
  • Decide where you want to get to (based on your business objectives) and create marketing objectives to get you there.
  • Use the findings from your SWOT to prioritise opportunities and justify your plan.
  • Make sure you have contingencies in place for the identified threats that may impact on your business.
  • Based on the resources you’ve got at your disposal, your current product or services portfolio and the marketing you’ve already done, what do you need to do now to meet your objectives?
  • Where are the gaps in your marketing and how can you fill them to reach your goals?
A marketing audit should help clarify your thinking about which marketing activities are valuable, which need improving and which you should get rid of. It will help you lay strong plans which will allow your business to move forwards. We offer objective Marketing Reviews which result in prioritised action plans for you to start improving your marketing straight away. Find out more here.
By Rosalind Conkie, a Marketing and PR Consultant at KMS Marketing.

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