• Home
  • Blog
  • How to Do a Marketing Audit in 6 Steps (+Template)

Marketing has millions of moving parts. Internally, your budget, staff, skill set, and tools are constantly in flux. Externally, ad costs, channel rules, and consumer perceptions shift daily.

A regular, systematic marketing audit lets you see how the strategy you started six months ago is responding to the current situation. With your audit output in hand, you can jump on new opportunities and tweak tactics to maximize leads and conversions.

While marketing audits are personalized for each business and use case, there are foundational components to start with. That’s what we’ve gathered here: the building blocks of a successful marketing audit plus an editable marketing audit template to get you started.

Contents

💡 Want to audit your online presence in a flash? Use the Free Website Grader to evaluate your website, social media presence, and digital advertising effectiveness.

What is a marketing audit?

A marketing audit is an objective analysis of your marketing activities, operations, and strategies. The review often includes data from marketing outcomes as well as a holistic look at the people, tools, and budget used to achieve them.

The information a marketing audit yields has several uses:

  • Reviews current marketing actions: Are your channels, ads, audience targeting, and more producing the outcome you expect and need?
  • Exposes opportunity gaps: What new or untapped tactics could you test to see if they deliver a better return?
  • Confirms your resources: Do you need a bigger budget, new technology, or a different skill set on your team to achieve your goals?

Each marketing audit is a little different. You may even use several types of marketing audits at different times. Some can be deep dives that include a report to senior management. While others are more surgical, reviewing one key aspect of your marketing, especially when something changes (like when an ad platform raises prices or a new AI tool promises to speed up a process).

What are the types of marketing audits?

There are several types of marketing audits that differ by who will conduct the audit and what you hope to achieve from them.

External audit

For a full-scale audit of your entire marketing function, it’s best to bring in an external auditor. This is most likely a third-party company you’ve hired, but it could be someone from a different part of your business that understands marketing.

An external audit is best for complete audits because you need someone who is objective and hasn’t been “in the weeds” of your day-to-day marketing activities. That’ll give your audit a fresh set of eyes that can ask the hard questions and provide a truly objective review.

Internal audit

An internal audit is conducted by someone on the marketing team and is best for reviewing a single function, channel, or process.

For example, managing your paid search ads may be a cumbersome bottleneck. The marketing manager could review the current process, look for ways and tools to simplify it, and assess it against hiring an agency to manage ads.

Working group audit

A working group audit is completed by an interdisciplinary team of internal employees. It’s best for reviewing a few interconnecting functions of your overall marketing program.

Say you want to know if your weekly educational videos could generate more leads. Since they’re created by one person, promoted on social media by another, and distributed in email by a third person, you would task the three to complete the audit.

🛑 This Easy-to-Use Growth Strategy Guide (+Template) is the perfect complement to your marketing audit.

What are the elements of a marketing audit?

You’ll find dozens of components if you closely examine a complete marketing audit. You can categorize these pieces into three groups:

  • Internal audit components: This includes your team, skills, processes, tech stack, budget, and so on.
  • Channel audit components: This covers each channel you market on, like social media, email, text marketing, in-person events, etc.
  • External audit components: This includes your competitors, your industry, consumer research, etc.

You can organize your audit by marketing channel and include the internal and external components within those categories.

When should I do a marketing audit?

Completing a marketing audit also depends on the type of audit you run and what you want to get out of it.

You should complete a full, top-down audit every 12 months at least. You may also run one of these if there’s a significant change in your organization, like if you hire a new head of marketing or change the audience you target.

Smaller-scope marketing audits are situational. They’ll be triggered by an event. If you need to review a new tool or your ad costs increase sharply from one channel, an audit of that portion of your marketing function will help you make crucial decisions.

What are the six steps of a successful marketing audit?

The template we’ve included provides a more in-depth review of what you’ll examine in a marketing audit. But these six steps provide a high-level overview to get the gist of what’s involved.

1. Decide what you want to audit

This might seem like a simple step, but it’s the foundation of a successful audit. Which aspects of your marketing function you decide to audit will affect everything from your goals to plans.

If you’re after a full-scale audit, use the audit template below as the basis for your work. Look at each section and edit it for your business.

If you’re focused on a segment of your marketing, then brainstorm which components you’ll need to audit. Like in the example above, if you want to audit your video marketing efforts, list all the functions involved in that program so you can include them in your review.

You might also define your audit by whether you want to review a process or a specific channel.

2. Identify your goals and objectives

What do you hope to get from this audit? What do you want to do once it’s complete? The answers to these questions become the north star that guides you as you work through the review.

A good way to complete this step is to create a list of questions you want to answer. Here are some examples:

  • Should we consider a rebrand?
  • Which channels should we invest more in, and which should we eliminate?
  • Is there a new audience we should market to?
  • Why are we gaining impressions but losing conversions on social media?

3. Gather data

Here’s where the rubber meets the road. You have the scope and goals for your audit. Now, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and start collecting the information that will inform it.

Depending on your goals, your data may include:

  • Digital marketing metrics: Things like page views, engagement rate, click-through rate, conversion rate, and so on.
  • Internal workflows: How much labor is spent managing a process, which and how many tools does it take, and how trackable is it?
  • Audience and competitor data: The demographics, interests, industries, and so on of your customers, plus the information about your top competitors.
  • Financial metrics: Your ad spend, labor and operational costs, and the revenue your marketing efforts generate or influence.

You’ll gather this data from several sources, such as search engine analytics, social media platforms, internal interviews, and your business’s financial reports.

4. Analyze results

Data itself is interesting but doesn’t become insights until you analyze it. And that usually means placing the data you’ve just gathered in two contexts: changes over time and industry benchmarks.

Assessing your marketing data as it’s changed over time tells you the trend for each data point. Getting 10,000 website visitors in six months might be impressive for some businesses, but it’s not a good result if you got 20,000 visits the six months prior.

Similarly, you get a better understanding of what your data means when you compare it to other businesses in your vertical. Say your travel agency sees a 4% conversion rate from Google Ads. When you learn that the industry average is 5.36%, you’ll have identified an opportunity gap worth chasing.

Compare your current findings to past results, industry benchmarks, and competitor information to gain context and set future goals.

👋 See how your search ad results stack up against your industry as a whole in the Search Advertising Benchmarks Report.

5. List future actions

This is the step that turns your marketing audit into business growth. List the opportunity gaps you’ve found and the trends you noticed, and pair them with tactics that will move each needle in the right direction. Essentially, this is where you ask, “What are we doing to do about it?”

Let’s go back to the example of a travel agency. You’ve identified that your conversion rate is lower than the average of your competitors. To improve your conversion rate, you could:

Include these recommendations in the audit.

6. Report and plan

In the final step, you’ll put everything from your marketing audit into a report and add the plan for the next audit.

Your report might simply be a list of findings, insights, and recommendations. Or it could be fully fleshed out with an executive summary, data visualizations, and a profit and loss statement. That depends on who will review it. Senior leadership will likely want more context and plans, whereas your internal marketing team might just need the results.

No matter how you design it, your audit should always include a plan for the next audit. If this was a small-scale audit of how you manage content marketing, the plan could be a follow-up next quarter to see the effect of any changes. For a full marketing audit, the plan will probably be to conduct another audit in 12 months.

⭐️ Want ideas, tips, and insights delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter!

Your marketing audit template

Marketing audits can feel a little overwhelming at first. It’s helpful to visualize the common components of an audit in a spreadsheet. Then, it becomes a matter of filling in the blanks.

We’ve created this marketing audit template to give you a head start. Copy it, edit each section to suit your goals and needs, and fill in the information as you collect it.

Marketing audit - screenshot of the free marketing audit template.

Make the most of your marketing audits

It’s true that a marketing audit is an additional task that can temporarily distract you from the immediate work of growing your business. But with the right inputs, your audit will become a guidebook for growth.

Of course, audits work best when you have great data. Contact us, and we’ll show you how we can help improve your marketing results and track them so you always know where to invest.

Join 683,369 other marketers that receive our weekly newsletter!