What is it? The marketing audit uncovers the key drivers in your market and is a fundamental part of the business planning process. It should be conducted not only at the beginning of the process, but also at a series of points during the implementation of the plan. The marketing audit considers both internal and external influences on business planning, as well as a review of the plan itself.
What if we don’t do it? Although marketing audits should be carried out on a regular basis, many organisations do not bother until things start to go wrong. Most typically, this would manifest itself by declining sales, loss of market share, under-utilized capacity, de-motivated staff, reduced margins, etc. Faced with these problems, the temptation is to fire-fight and fall into the trap of crisis management. In many cases this is characterised by the rapid launching and de-listing of products, price-cutting, and attempts at drastic cost-reduction. While this sort of response will have an immediate and apparent pay-off, it is unlikely that this will solve the underlying problems.
What do we gain? The audit is designed to avoid the need for crisis management both by identifying and defining these fundamental problems before they affect the organisation. In this way, carrying out a regular and thorough marketing audit in a structured manner will go a long way towards giving the organisation knowledge of their business, trends in the market, and where value is added by competitors as a basis for setting objectives and strategies. It becomes more important in a recession.
How do we do it? There are a number of tools and audits that can be used, for example SWOT analysis for the internal environment, as well as the external environment. Other examples include PEST / PESTLE and the Five Forces Analyses, which focus solely on the external environment. We have our own strategy development tool – the TOWS Matrix® that simplifies the planning process.
In many ways the marketing audit clarifies opportunities and threats, and allows the business manager to make alterations to the plan if necessary.
So, get on with it yourself or, if it is not a core skill, use DAW to help facilitate the process for you:
a food processing company used us to help identify the market for 'tallow'.
we do audits almost every month for different law firms and kick-start the process in a few hours!
Job Evaluation Schemes - we audited 'best practice' for a public sector organisation.
A Pharma company wanted to explore the market for devices used in hospital pharmacies before deciding to enter the fray.
Veterinary Education - we explore the impact of e-learning on the market.