I know most of us are struggling through the post-carnival detox syndrome now. Wallets dried up, bloodstream that has more alcohol than blood, and an expanding waistline begging us to stop.
Yet I’ve mustered enough energy to write this quick article on Sunday morning. I thought I should pre-empt the New Year resolution questions about how to perform a marketing audit with on a bootstrap budget.
So please continue reading because believe or not it’s actually possible. For the small business owners out there, a marketing audit is a quick health check for your marketing performance thus far.
You should be able to look back at this past year, and pinpoint what worked well and what failed miserably. You will need to ask yourself and your team some uncomfortable questions.
Most importantly you need to answer them with your ego fully restrained and on a short leash, otherwise what’s the point, right? A marketing audit can be a daunting, time-consuming task, but it’s an insightful way to see if your marketing programs are on track.
In many cases, it uncovers many underlying issues that are lurking in your business preventing you from achieving positive marketing outcomes. Here are some tips to help make your audit as effective as possible:
Get your reports
I’m crossing my fingers that you’ve got some sort of reports handy. Gather your sales reports, profit & loss reports, marketing plan or whatever you call them in your business.
Use these to quickly evaluate where your previous efforts have gone wrong, and where they’ve gone right. It’s much easier to come up with a decent marketing plan when you know what to avoid from the past. You’ve only got yourself to blame if you do it again.
So please have a quick look into your history. Don’t be discouraged if you find issues, they’re only opportunities for growth and improvement.
Grab your smartphone
I think you know where am going with this. Yes, go to your website and cross your fingers that it’s responsive. This used to be a fancy option that costs too much. It’s not an option anymore since Google decided to change their search algorithm to favour responsive websites. The short answer is it’s because most of us search with our phones these days.
If you’ve viewed your website and had to pinch your screen to zoom in to be able to read, then it’s not really responsive. Agencies will have you think that this would cost a lot. Not really, ask us how.
Your brand image
Egos aside, please! Thank you. This is not about you; this is about how your brand is perceived by your customers or should be perceived.
Having gone through a few brand refresh projects recently, I find many of my clients continue to ask me to do what they want in terms of colours, shapes or design elements, while completely ignoring their potential customers’ needs and expectations. It’s an ego thing that I can relate to as a business owner, which is fine.
I continue to advise to maintain a healthy balance. You’re not buying your own products here, your customers are, so cater to them.
Outside perspective is critical. Speak with current clients, potential clients, vendors, and suppliers. Find out if that perceived image agrees with what your business is trying to portray.
This will allow you to understand whether your brand image or your marketing message is the problem or both. Find out.
Identify your goals
Did you hit your marketing goals this last year?
Were you or your team systematic about it, or was it more of a hit and miss on the fly kind of approach.
Being a business owner, we all know that it comes with many challenges, don’t let setting goals be one of them. I often write down my tasks for the coming working week.
I set my editorial calendar months in advance. This helps in a couple of ways. It takes the anxiety out of the game, because now I have a roadmap, and makes my team and I accountable to hit these predefined targets.
Most importantly, it makes sticking to your plan much easier when you write it down with targets to hit. Read this quick article by Forbes on the subject. The power of visualisation is king, am a golfer and I know.
Features vs. Benefits
Theodore Levitt once said, “Sell the hole, not the drill”. What he meant was that we buy drills because we need to make a specific type of holes, not for the drill itself. Confused?
Check your marketing messaging; is it selling features or benefits?
Being tall is a feature, being able to reach top shelves is a benefit. Makes sense?
If you’re more of an advanced marketer and you feel the above is basic, then you can always try to utilise the Pestel or Porter’s 5 Forces analysis approach. Let me know and I’d be more than happy to cover them in a different article.
Hopefully, these steps will get you started on the right track with a minimum budget spend.
Have a great year ahead.