Marketing your business is fraught with challenges, but let’s say you get past the hiring, budgeting, goal setting, and strategic planning to a point where you have launched your marketing plan.
A few weeks go by as you eagerly assess what is working… a month or two pass and occasionally you check on a few dashboards between meetings. Then it’s been a year or so, maybe more since you’ve taken a good hard look at your marketing efforts.
By this time, staffing may have changed, passwords were lost and most importantly, even your business environment has shifted. God only knows how many auto-payments have processed and what agreements have lapsed.
That fancy marketing Learjet you built years ago has by now circled the globe several times on autopilot!
Audit. What an Ugly Word?
Audits have a negative connotation, often for good reason. But not all of them are bad. This kind can be downright invigorating!
There are bound to be some skeletons hiding in the closet, but a thorough marketing review is likely just the kick in the pants your business needs to get to the next level.
A marketing “audit”, (let’s just call it a review) is a thorough inspection of your marketing plan, goals, strategies, budgets, and activities being executed on behalf of your business.
It’s simple – the goal is to see what’s working and what isn’t so you can make changes.
Today’s marketing environment is such that these changes can often be made quickly and with impressive results.
If it has been a while since you have assessed your marketing plan, it’s likely that you are losing out on leads, sales, new customers, etc. and in the process throwing a lot of hard-earned dollars out the window.
Here are a few thoughts on how to get started:
Licensed to Fly
So many managers and business owners are too consumed with the day-to-day to find time for assessments. It’s like that well-meaning company retreat or weekly production meeting.
They’re often cannibalized by the sales call that can’t wait, the crisis du jour, or more likely the extended block of time required to fully complete such an undertaking. Let’s cut to the chase, it’s far better to hire this type of project out to the professionals.
Not only will this ensure that the task is completed, but it needs to be done by those with some separation from the passion of running the business (you are still passionate about your business, right?). Additionally, a well-executed review of your marketing expenses will most certainly pay for itself.
Whether your jet needs a solid tune-up or an engine rebuild, go out and find someone to fly it!
Now, Where Did We Put That Business Plan?
You did write a business plan, right? Ok, maybe not an “official” one. But you do have a marketing plan, right? Don’t feel bad. Lots of entrepreneurs lose sight of these important planning tools. It’s never too late to make one, and there is help out there to make it happen.
Most importantly, you can’t lose sight of the big picture and the business’s long-term goals. Without them, it can be difficult to recall why a specific marketing strategy was implemented or determine if it is being executed successfully.
A marketing review is a way to assess and take a step back, put some best practices into play, and ensure that the daily activities you are executing support your business goals.
We’ve Been Paying Who, How Much? And For How Long?!
A marketing review helps owners explore all of the current marketing activities while evaluating if those activities are successful, or even still valid.
This is a time to turn an objective eye, armed with independently collected facts and data, to where your marketing practices are underperforming.
Then you can make informed decisions, revise old strategies, improve activities, or employ new tactics (or people) to achieve greater success in your marketing efforts. It’s probably not all bad though, you are sure to find some pleasant surprises too.
Time For a Tune-Up
A marketing audit can be time-consuming, and quite daunting. But it can be done seamlessly within your daily business activities so long as you have the right partner to help.
In addition to shoring up your marketing arm, it will certainly give you peace of mind and assurance that your dollars are being spent wisely.
A review of existing business practices and strategies, gathering input from key personnel in the business, and conducting research into external partners will shed light on areas that may be outside your purview.
With a regular audit, you will finally know what your marketing dollars are capable of.