Auditing marketing communications is a necessary evil. We all know it needs to be done, but it feels like such a herculean task that a lot of people put it off or don’t do a thorough job. Our Marketing Communications Audit Workbook has everything you need to perform a detailed audit and makes it easy to think critically about the value of your marketing efforts.
So, when do you need to audit MarCom? It’s not something that’s set in stone, but many companies do it annually as part of their budget planning process. Oftentimes, a new manager will want to conduct an audit when they join a marketing team. Other times, a new direction or company goal may spawn a MarCom audit. Whatever the reason–it’s essential to do it right.
There are lots of moving parts when you are managing a brand, and the relationship between them is where a MarCom audit can help. These relationships may look different for a small brand than they do for a large brand, but the main points remain the same.
Our Marketing Communications Audit Workbook is organized into four parts:
- Your Team
- Your Brand
- Your Budget
- Your Tools
This article includes a high-level review of each section so you can get a good idea of what it covers.
This workbook section is all about your team–including your company, mission statement, the goals of your department in context with corporate goals, the structure of your company, and how your team handles marketing projects including management of outside vendors.
This section also goes over the responsibilities of each team member. This ensures that the duties of each person in your department are clearly defined. In order for your team’s workflow to be efficient, the approval process needs to be laid out in plain English, so people know where they fit in. This practice mitigates the possibility of unfinished/incorrect projects getting bought and paid for.
How to handle assets is an issue we see a lot. Asset handling ensures that images (which have value to your company and the final product) are organized appropriately. Relying on one person’s memory of where files are can be a hindrance to the design process if that person leaves your company or if their position changes. A clear structure and procedure should be agreed upon and should, most importantly, be used by everyone that comes in contact with assets on your team. Photoshoot management should also be something with a clear organizational structure. Who orders props? Who manages the shooting schedule? What is the budget?
Making sure your team is organized and functioning at their highest capacity is crucial to the MarCom audit process. After all, without your team, you wouldn’t be able to do anything at all!
This section goes over your brand positioning, your ideal brand personas and serves as a reference point for all future marketing projects. It functions as a “gut check” to make sure your brand is being represented truthfully in all campaigns. It includes SWOT Assessments (Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) which are crucial for building a clear picture of your brand and its current state of affairs. Define all channel partners and how the buyer journey might differ from the customer journey.
The last part of the Brand section is all about brand personas. Creating personas based on your customers is a fundamental aspect of your brand’s communication style. Our most effective projects are the result of very focused targeting. Crafting content and execution plans aimed at a very specific type of buyer are much more effective when you know your audience. The Customer Journey should inform content all along the process. There shouldn’t be just one point of contact. It’s important to be aware of the needs of your ideal customer at each stage so you can appeal to them.
It’s important to get the full picture of your YEARLY marketing budget, in order to parcel it out over a year’s worth of projects. You don’t want to run out of money in the third quarter and miss out on selling opportunities as a result. Getting a good understanding of your team’s spending patterns on a quarterly or yearly basis can also be helpful for streamlining processes (like photoshoots), which can free up funds for other marketing projects. Does your department have any discretionary funds? What are they used for? How does your department handle a budget surplus? These are all critical questions to answer. No one wants to be in a situation where they are unsure if they have enough money to finish a project that’s already been started.
The customer journey is also something you need to think about in the context of your budget. Each stage needs to have budgetary amounts clearly designated for each stage. Spending a lot on the attract phase, but not seeing sales numbers bump up? Maybe you should focus more on the evangelize stage. Putting your budget in context with the customer journey will help focus your objectives while maintaining your bottom line. This section also has an area where you can note the amount of money your team spends with vendors. This helps to make sure you are only spending money on vendors that are worth the expense.
The ‘Tools’ section goes over all the tools your team uses to communicate with. A single example of every type of communication is useful for a review of all platforms. This section should go over all of your marketing pieces at a high level, including the audience, objectives, and all associated costs.
Simplifying the MarCom Audit Process
Having a clear grasp of your company’s marketing communication helps to create consistent messaging, identify strengths and weaknesses, and recognize duplication of effort, in addition to streamlining costs and improving internal communication. Performing a marketing communications audit shouldn’t feel like a massive undertaking every time. By organizing this workbook around a structure, while still allowing for flexibility, we hope that the audit process goes a little more smoothly for you and your team. Still need some advice? We’d love to chat.