You’re interested in performing a marketing audit, but you’re wondering what it includes. We’re here to help! In this blog post we’re going to cover all the components of a marketing audit and then dive deep into each element to discuss why it’s essential to look at these parts of your brand with a critical eye.
Why do a Marketing Audit?
First, we want to address why you should do a marketing audit in the first place. Performing a marketing audit can help you do many great things for your business, including:
- Align brand perception with brand reality.
- Identify what types of marketing your brand is doing well and what needs work.
- Take stock of assets (e.g assets the brand owns, such as an email list or a social media channel).
- Kickstart the creation of a marketing strategy.
- Help position your brand for marketing success.
- Uncover new marketing opportunities that you’re not taking advantage of.
- Get a sense of how healthy your brand is.
- Allow you to say goodbye to shame and hello to marketing progress!
Are you convinced yet that a marketing audit, while time-consuming, is worth every second? Great! Let’s dive right into it.
Components of a Marketing Audit
A marketing audit has four basic sections:
- Digital branding & marketing
- Advertising & outreach
- Customer service
Each section helps us look closely at a portion of your businesses marketing efforts and see where opportunities lie to strengthen your marketing strategy and where you can pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
Section #1: Digital Branding and Marketing
Digital Branding and Marketing is comprised of five major buckets:
- Brand logo, colors, & fonts
- Photography and videos
- Social Media
- Email Marketing
Brand Logo, Colors, and Fonts
Your brand logo, colors and fonts are what make up your “brand identity,” which is one of the six elements of a brand. These should all convey the essence of your brand. Essence can be defined as “the intrinsic nature or indispensable quality of something, especially something abstract, that determines its character” according to Lexico.com. It’s the little aspects of your business that help customers pick you out in the crowd, and those aspects should shine through in these design elements of your brand.
Why is this so important? Because your logo, colors, and fonts:
- Make the first impression
- Are a lasting symbol of your brand
- Lay the foundation for how people perceive your business (!!)
- Are the most recognizable piece of your business…they are on your business cards, website, brochures…everything!
We encourage you to gather a group and address the question, “what feelings do these elements give off?” Do they evoke a traditional feel? Modern? Quirky? Serious? Gather everyone’s opinions: employees—down to the newest person–, customers, non-customers, friends, family. Ask them to be truthful, and you may find that your choice of logo, colors, and fonts are right on the money or that they’re telling a different story than you want your brand to tell.
Photography and Videos
Photos and videos sell your business before customers even walk through the door. Read that again. Maybe a third time for good measure? Photos and videos set expectations that you want to make sure are accurate and good!
Think about when you’re choosing a new restaurant, booking a hotel room, or buying new furniture online. Do you ever not look at photos? Most of our clients answer no here. Low-quality images may set an expectation of low-quality service or might all together turn potential customers away. Professional product and service imagery are necessary to portray the experience a customer will have with your business.
Have you ever visited a poorly designed website and immediately returned to Google (or Bing or Yahoo!) to click on the next search result? We have a feeling everyone has done it at least once. A website with a bad user experience is like pulling on a sweater in the store that looks beautiful but is so itchy you never want to look at it again. We cannot stress enough how much a good website can do for your business, but don’t take our word for it! According to SWEOR.com:
- 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience.
- 61% of users are unlikely to return to a site on mobile if they had trouble accessing it. 40% visit a competitor’s site instead.
- 75% of consumers admit to making judgments on a company’s credibility based on the company’s website design.
Is your jaw on the floor? Ours is! We recommend taking a good look at your website, ideally with a graphic designer or web designer consultant, to see if your website is holding your business back from growth.
Are you friends with your old high school and college friends on social media? Are you friends with them so you can keep up with what’s happening with them in their lives? The answer is likely yes. Customers follow you on social media for the same reason. What you post on your business’s social pages can shape a voice for your brand that feels familiar to customers. If you’re not posting consistently or strategically to social, you may not be leveraging the power it can have for your brand. Take a step back and craft a social media strategy if you do not already have one to guide your efforts on social away from blindly posting and into a world of strategy to help drive business.
It’s well known that it’s easier to sell to existing customers than to new customers. Often, a business’s email list is full of past happy customers who are willing to buy again. Are you leveraging that well enough or at all? For small businesses especially, email marketing is one of the best marketing tools, but we often find that email lists are going unused or underused. It’s a valuable asset that can help you tell your business’ story and stay top of mind. Look into how often you’re sending blasts out to your lists and what the results are from those blasts. Are you sending engaging content? Are you being strategic? Have you segmented your list so that you’re sending relevant content? Not all your customers are alike–segmenting allows you to speak to a specific type of customer. Just like with social media, take a step back and make a plan.
Section #2: Advertising and Outreach
This section comprises of:
- Public Relations
- Press releases
- Influencer campaigns
When you think about the big picture of a business, it all comes down to money in and money out. The money going out is meant to be driving profits for the business. On a smaller scale, this is the same idea for any and all types of marketing, but especially for paid placements. Take stock of where you’re advertising and who those publications reach. Is that the right audience for your business? Consider where you’re spending your dollars because $50 in the right place will go much further than $500 in the wrong place.
PR helps businesses build credibility and visibility in the press and community. It comes in a few different forms; press releases, partnerships, sponsorships, and influencer campaigns. As we suggested you do with advertising, take stock of what you’re doing to get your business’s name out into the world. Are you sending out quarterly press releases? Are you doing sponsorships or partnerships? If no, consider how you could work these into your marketing plan. Continued exposure to customers can help boost trust and turn into profits.
Section #3: Customer Service
Customer service includes looking at:
- Your staff
- Customer experience
- Internal processes and paperwork
Training, attitude, appearance, it all matters! Your staff is representing your brand. Are they doing a good job? Is your training prepping them to do a good job? Look at your onboarding program for new staff, at ongoing training, at staff meeting agendas. Is your onboarding program for new hires as good as your customer experience? What can you do to better support your staff?
Customer service extends outside the doors of your establishment and can play out in reviews. Look to see if you’re managing your reviews on platforms like Yelp, Google My Business, TripAdvisor, etc. If you are, are your responses putting the customer first like you’d do in person for both positive and negative reviews? Evaluate how you’re handling reviews and if it matches your expectations for customer service that your brand is known for.
Need help managing reviews? Check out our blog posts:
- How to Manage Online Reviews
- Responding to Positive Reviews: How to Engage with Happy Customers
- How to Respond to Bad Reviews Gracefully
Every business wants their customers to walk away with a smile on their face, but it’s sometimes hard to get a read on what your customers’ experience is actually like. Dive deep into your reviews and conduct a survey with customers. What are the positive and negative things that continue to come up? Write them down and evaluate how to capitalize on what your customers value and minimize the things they don’t.
Internal Processes & Paperwork
Once a year we recommend reviewing your internal processes and paperwork. This could be your employee onboarding manual, workflow charts, staff review sheets. What can be changed to streamline a process or be more clear for internal communication? What needs to be updated based on new policies?
Section #4: Collateral
Collateral includes your:
- Etc. anything piece of media that is used to promotes sales of your business.
Layout all your collateral out on a table and look at it collectively. Do they tell one collective story? Have a collective design? Use the same colors and fonts that you identified earlier? If the answer is yes–awesome job!! If the answer is no, consider working with a professional designer to get them all on the same page. All of your marketing materials, print and digital, should look and feel alike so they can tell a cohesive story.
And that’s it! Not too overwhelming, huh? Ha! We know it’s a lot. Take it one step at a time; not everything has to be done overnight. An audit is all about finding ways to strengthen your brand, which will always be an ongoing process as long as your doors are open.