Any marketing effort you undertake goes better if you start with a plan. Your research and analysis are no different. When you’re looking inside your organization for how to better conduct your marketing processes, start with an internal audit. Today, we’re looking at how you can run—or hire a third party to run—an internal marketing audit to learn more about the inside factors that affect your brand’s marketing efforts:
An internal marketing audit is a research and analysis process that helps your brand look at factors inside the company that affects your marketing efforts. When conducting a comprehensive internal audit, there are a few key areas to consider and track to get as much information as possible about the way your company and campaigns run. They include:
Marketing audits require careful planning before execution. This is to make sure you don’t miss a step, or omit key information that could help improve your brand standing or audience relations. To avoid potential bias in the audit results, it’s best to work with a third-party organization or contractor to conduct the audit. This allows you to get an objective view of your brand from the outside.
Running an internal marketing audit helps you understand what resources, tools, and strategies your brand currently uses to promote its products and services. More than just a list of materials, the audit also explores why all these assets work or don’t work on the quest to reach your brand goals. The results of an internal marketing audit help your team:
Conducting an internal marketing audit helps you identify what works and what doesn’t when marketing your organization to the target audience. Because all your internal factors are within your team or company’s control, you can use the results to make actionable changes to improve your marketing efforts.
Though there are multiple types of internal marketing audits you could run separately to check the effectiveness and health of your campaigns, you’ll get the most information and insight if you do them all together. This guide looks at elements of internal organization, function, strategy, structure, system, productivity, and channel audits within one process. Use these steps to run an internal marketing audit or follow along as a third-party organization analyzes your brand:
The only way you’ll ever know if your team is successful at marketing is if you set goals and try to reach them. Define your brand goals as the first step in your internal marketing audit. When you reach the end of the process, you’ll use all the data you’ve collected and compare it to these goals. The analysis tells you if you’ve met any of these goals, or provides insight on how to improve your campaigns and strategies so you can reach them soon.
Data is the most important part of your internal marketing audit. Without it, you wouldn’t even be doing this exercise. The more information you can collect, the better you’ll understand your brand and its marketing efforts. You can use a variety of data collection tools to source the information you need from the following categories:
Your internal organization data looks at the hierarchy and functions of your marketing team. The audit helps you look more closely at your organization’s hiring processes, team management, and distribution of tasks. When collecting organizational data, ask questions like:
The function data your brand collects focuses on the messaging your brand uses to market its products and services. Internal marketing functions also look at the tools your team uses to create marketing assets. When collecting function data, look for the following:
When collecting channel data for your internal marketing audit, look at all the platforms where you share content. With an internal audit, put the most focus on your controlled media channels, such as your website, blog, or social media platforms. The goal of collecting this data is to understand how your audience interacts with your marketing assets and what you can do to improve their experiences. Collect data by asking questions like:
To collect strategy data for the audit, look at the processes you use to share your marketing assets across various channels. Your strategies may incorporate the efforts you make on earned, paid, and shared media channels, rather than just your owned or controlled ones. To get a comprehensive overview of your strategies, look at the specific methods you use in the following areas:
To collect data about your internal marketing structure, look at the department’s position within the organization. It’s important to understand what role your department plays and how it interacts with other groups within the company. To find this data, ask questions like:
System data reflect your department’s internal workflows to create and share marketing assets. To get the best overview of this type of internal process, look at how marketing asset creation passes from one team member or group to the next, from ideation to distribution. To analyze internal marketing systems, ask questions like:
Collecting productivity data for your internal marketing audit might be the analysis portion you’re most familiar with. This phase includes reviewing your channel metrics and comparing your actual marketing performance to your goals. When assessing your brand’s marketing productivity, look at areas like:
After you collect all the data, it’s time to put everything together and draw conclusions. Laying out all the data you collect in a spreadsheet or analysis program helps you to get a clearer idea of what marketing tactics work and which ones need improvement. As you pull all the pieces together and compare them to your brand goals, you’ll see patterns, correlations, and outliers that tell your internal marketing story.
This step, in particular, is why we recommend working with a third-party service to run your audit. Not only are these professionals trained to spot the patterns in your data, but they do it without bias. If you use an outside team to run your audit, the analysts don’t have to feel sensitive to the feelings or expectations of your team members. They also don’t know the backstory of certain campaigns or efforts. Instead, they let the data and facts speak the truth about your brand marketing.
Now that you know what’s up with your marketing efforts, what are you going to do about it? Take what you’ve learned about your strengths and successful campaigns and apply those techniques and knowledge to the underperforming ones. Eliminate any outdated or unnecessary processes or workflows and add new ones that better serve your brand. To account for all these changes, develop a new marketing plan to guide your team from its current situation into your improved marketing mindset.
Even if you know how to run an internal marketing audit the right way, you might still have additional questions about the process. Here are a few FAQs to get you started on your audit journey:
There isn’t a set time when you need to run an internal marketing audit on your brand. No best practice decree says you must run your first one four months after launching your website, or some equally silly, arbitrary timeline. A few times when an internal marketing audit may be most beneficial to provide insight for your team include:
Aside from those two special cases, we recommend conducting an internal marketing audit at least once per year, or twice per year, to ensure everything in your department runs smoothly. It’s better to create a consistent auditing schedule that works for your brand. This method keeps your team from being caught unaware by some snag in your plans or processes. Don’t wait for something to go wrong before you schedule an audit.
When faced with the idea of doing extensive analysis and research, some marketers want the silver bullet. They want a trick that helps them get the process done quickly and easily. But if you want your internal marketing audit done right, put in the work. The good news is that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to conducting a marketing audit. You can customize the process to fit your brand based on the workflows, tools, and assets you use.
If you’re looking for the easiest way to do an internal marketing audit, it’s best to hire a third-party service that does the analysis all day, every day. Your audit partners handle all the hard work and consult with your leadership and team members as needed. If you’re not looking to work with a third-party service but still want to make your audit process easier, we recommend creating an internal marketing audit template when you run your first analysis.
In the template, account for all the marketing areas you want to review and how you want to examine them. Developing a checklist for your template could also be a good choice. Then, as you conduct additional audits in the future, you don’t have to start from scratch. As your business grows, you can also expand or pare down the template and checklist to reflect the information you want to get out of each audit.
SWOT analysis stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This method is a type of analysis tool to discover what your brand is doing well and the opportunities you have for growth. It also highlights areas where your brand is lacking, and the potential hurdles to reach growth through your opportunities.
The strengths section allows your team to list everything you do well in marketing. What makes your brand stand out against the competition? What attracts leads to your company? The weaknesses section helps you see where your brand and department have holes. What marketing areas or opportunities have you overlooked? What are some areas of marketing where you know your team can or should improve?
When looking at opportunities for an internal marketing audit, consider areas for expansion. For example, if you find through organization data that you have team members with podcasting experience, that could be a chance to use a resource that you already have. Internal marketing threats often come from factors influenced by other outside sources. For example, a threat to your podcast expansion may be too small a budget to buy the equipment. Using a SWOT analysis throughout your internal marketing audit helps highlight both good and bad areas to focus your efforts.
We’ve said it before, but it’s important to remember that marketing doesn’t exist in a vacuum. While an internal marketing audit is great for learning about how to improve your efforts through means you can control, it doesn’t cover everything you need to consider to knock your marketing out of the park. If you plan to run an independent internal marketing audit, be sure to run an external audit immediately before or soon after. Doing so gives you the full picture of your brand’s marketing landscape that’s affected by things like competitor efforts, the economy, and audience expectations.
If you’re looking to get a head start on both your internal and external marketing analyses, CopyPress has you covered. With our content marketing analysis tool, you’ll see how your content compares to that of your top three competitors. It also reveals search engine positioning for your brand’s content and potential gaps in the assets you offer.
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The information you learn from your internal marketing audit is crucial to planning your campaigns and strategies for the upcoming year. CopyPress and Search Engine Journal have another great tool to help you get the most out of the audit data and start strong with your marketing in 2023. Join us for a webinar called How To Analyze Your Content & Craft a Winning Strategy in 2023.
At this live session, you’ll learn how to take all the data you found about your internal marketing efforts and turn it into an actionable marketing plan for 2023 and beyond. Our VP of Partner Development, Sabrina Hipps, and Director of Content Analysis, Jeremy Rivera, share tips, and tricks, and host a Q&A session to help you feel confident in your new year’s content resolutions. Can’t make the live session? All registrants receive a recording to watch and review anytime.
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