Review and Appraise Existing Marketing Activities

The purpose of a marketing audit is to review and appraise existing marketing activities and to look at the way the marketing is planned and managed, giving the opportunity for a systematic examination of each element of the organisations current marketing activity and achievements, and to objectively evaluate the effectiveness of the organisations investment in marketing. The marketing audit assists in the evaluation of the whole marketing activity, and provides the tools to assess past and present performance to provide a basis for evaluating possible future courses of action.
You are able to discover the strengths and weaknesses in relation to opportunities and threats you face as an organisation and to identify the marketplace the organisation operates in and provide a snap shot of the current situation. It helps to determine how cost effectively each element of the marketing activity is helping the organisation meet its overall goals and pinpoint more effective uses for the marketing resources. Most audits review core elements of an organisations marketing strategy including its branding; messaging; marketing channels; marketing campaigns and sales tools.
There are various types of audits in which include a SWOT analysis, PEST, competitor analysis, internal audit, external audit, and Porters five forces analysis that are included with the marketing audit. An organisation needs to conduct a full marketing audit at the start of any marketing planning process, and also conduct brief audits or update the current audit at regular intervals whilst carrying out marketing activities. The beginning of a new year or budget period is a good time to conduct a marketing audit. There are key people within the organisation that will need to be involved in compiling the marketing audit.

The main people needed are the marketing, senior management, communications and accounting departments; however, if possible, the brand management, sales, product management and development, and public relations people will be of use. Characteristics of a marketing audit: A marketing audit needs to be comprehensive (covers all marketing issues); strategic (will include a strategy for steps); systematic (orderly sequence of steps); rigorous; unbiased; periodic (should be carried out periodically) and independent (conducted by an outside or independent party).
It should ssess the organisation on the ability to analyse the environment; develop effective marketing strategies and execute the marketing tactics and strategies. It should be methodical, unbiased and include set steps to follow. The marketing audit examines the marketing environment; marketing strategy; the structure of the marketing division; marketing systems; marketing productivity and marketing functions. There are 6 components that need to be included: marketing environment audit; marketing strategy audit; marketing organisation audit; marketing systems audit; marketing productivity audit and marketing function audit.
The brief overview of the process to complete a marketing audit is as follows: * Prepare a proposal * Complete an external audit * Complete an internal audit * Draw conclusions * Prepare report The proposal report should cover the main research project, what the research objectives are, how you plan to research the market, when you plan to research (including timelines) and a budget. This is pitched at senior management and department representatives. The external environment is broken into 2 sections: the macro environment and the micro environment.
The macro environment includes political; economic; social; technological; and the competitive environment. The micro environment is the marketplace; competitors; distributers; dealers; suppliers and facilitators. The internal audit consists of strategy, organisation, systems, productivity and functions. The final stage is the report where conclusions are drawn and recommendations made with a prioritised action plan. The marketing audit will help ensure the organisation is well positioned in the marketplace – whether the right market is being targeted, and the products and services are competitive and effective.
It will assist in assessing whether the organisation has the required capabilities, structure and resources to pursue market opportunities and improve the market position. Some of the benefits of an audit are to provide an in-depth picture of what you are doing; to spread awareness throughout the business; build internal relationships; improve marketing efficiency and effectiveness; and provide insight into the improvement of marketing planning. The audit will enable enior management to discover the organisations strengths and weaknesses in relation to the opportunities and threats faced in the marketplace, and assist in identifying more effective uses of marketing resources. Practical examples of how a marketing audit can assist an organisation: AstraZeneca –internally they had only 35% recall of messages, so they couldn’t expect any more than 35% customer recall. This was a problem that was identified through a marketing audit that obviously needed fixing.
Hiscox – the audit highlighted a gap in knowledge in some aspects of the digital space and also reviewed the reporting process of results and analytics. This led them to change the reporting process, which in turn led to them making their digital marketing campaign more measurable. Hiscox were then able to attribute sales to specific activities, which meant they were able to create future campaigns that would be more successful.
The auditors support following the audit ‘resulted in an increase in click-through rates…as well as a positive, attributable increase in sales’. http://www. b2bmarketing. net/knowledgebank/return-on-marketing-investment/case-studies/case-study-hiscoxs-360-digital-marketing-a ‘In another example, an audit found that 24 per cent of all printed messages were not targeted to any of the high priority stakeholder groups identified by management, and only 1 per cent were specifically directed to the target audience rated most important by management. ’

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