The need to improve and be savvier comes with a significant amount of pressure; especially, when you’re growing your small business or justifying your role and campaigns on the job. The executive team can be tough to please, right?
While taking a course and reading high volumes of content can add value, it does not come without a hefty time commitment. Who has all this time - especially when results are needed immediately?
1. What is a Marketing audit?
A marketing audit is a full diagnostic of your overall marketing program and or a single marketing function (e.g. social media), using a systematic process that identifies trouble spots or opportunities that allow you with marketing planning, decision making, marketing execution, and the list goes on.
2. Why is a marketing audit important?
Why a marketing audit is important is the same reason taking an annual medical exam is important. Fundamentally, you can’t fix, create, or optimize marketing if you don’t know what to address or how to address it.
This means your ability to create exposure and maximize engagement with your audience will be hampered. The marketing audit will help prevent this as well as prevent major marketing mistakes.
3. What can you gain from a marketing audit?
There are so many benefits of a marketing audit, but for the sake of space, a quick list is provided.
Allows you to refocus your marketing activities to align back with your big picture.
You can quickly determine what is working or not.
Help you identify new ideas and more effective strategies.
Assess your internal marketing system to find inefficiencies or trouble spots.
Save you thousands of dollars that can be wasted by implement ill-prepared marketing strategies.
Helps owners, marketers, and top executives make informed decisions.
Serves as a marketing report card to assess improvements over time.
Reduces the learning curve when you simply don’t know how to do something.
Identify marketing problems early and solve them before costly mistakes occur.
4. Why doesn’t every company use marketing audits?
While there are many reasons marketing audits are not widely used in business, below is a snapshot of top barriers we have noticed:
Most are just not aware of marketing audits.
It is not an easy task. For example: Where do you start? What do you need to audit? How do you need to do the audit? These are questions that many just simply can’t answer.
Traditional marketing audits can be expensive and time-consuming. For example, hiring a marketing agency to conduct the audit comes with a price tag that many are unwilling to pay.
Many focus on immediate gratification – spending on audits doesn’t seem like it will get you the immediate conversions you desperately need.
5. How can companies easily perform a marketing audit with facing the traditional barriers?
As always, leveraging technology is always an option for consideration.
One, in particular, is i-REVEAL, a marketing intelligence platform that includes marketing auditing technology to perform a thorough marketing audit.
6. How does i-REVEAL benefit you?
You don’t have to be an expert in performing a marketing audit, the platform does it all for you.
Helps you pinpoint exactly what and where you need to improve your marketing.
Gives you a full marketing audit at an affordable rate.
Helps you build a better marketing plan and strategy.
L-Sync is a Dallas based construction, logistics, and supply chain consulting company. The company has been branded amongst its potential clients as a logistics company. The company asked InCon, LLC to revamp its brand and provide branding expertise to integrate with its key stakeholders and potential clients. The project focused on addressing the following issues:
The existing brand didn’t tell the company’s full story and caused market confusion.
The brand failed to resonate with the desired target audience – this impacted awareness and perception.
The brand content didn’t speaks directly to market needs and shortfalls to provoke a market reaction.
Our approach focused on providing direction for the creation of the company’s rebrand campaign. To deliver this project we were able to leverage almost every core solution of our company in one project. The following process was followed:
Through our comprehensive process we were able to deliver a quality product that appeals to the company’s four major audiences: Leadership, Competition, Existing Clientele, and Potential Clients. Consideration of these groups ensured the rebrand was not created off mere intuition but based on intelligence that would enable the creation of a meaningful brand that resonates with those L Sync seeks to do business with.
The Cookie Craves is a gourmet/specialty cookie company located in the Dallas/Fort Worth metro. More specifically, the company has honed in on a particular niche focused on consumer with ‘nut-allergies’ as well as those who identify themselves as ‘vegan’.
The company is transitioning from the start-up phase of the business life-cycle to the growth phase, but the company’s marketing is limited which has hampered the ability to grow. Leadership needed direction, focus, and marketing road map that would help achieve their goals.
Leadership hired InCon to develop their long-range marketing strategy. This situation was special, so we chose a holistic approach to meet the company’s needs. Below gives a quick snapshot of all phases of the project:
1 - iIMMERSION Session: This session was used to better understand the company’s direction, industry, and marketing vulnerabilities.
2 - Internal Operation Review: We needed to understand the company’s capability and capacity to handle an increased amount of customers. We reviewed internal operations to identify weaknesses and inefficiencies.
3 - Market Research Study: We took time to research the market, competition, customers, and a deep dive into the industry.
4 - Branding: We completely rebranded the company to better tell their story in a way that would resonate well with the audience. Our efforts included:
Brand and Identity Direction
Brand Message & Guide
Website Content, Branding Taglines, and marketing content
Marketing Collateral & Visual Representation
5 - Marketing Strategy: Based on the insights from our market research study, we developed a marketing strategy that created multiple touch points to reach new customers and better engage existing ones.
The Cookie Crave previously relied on one marketing channel to reach its customers. With the direction of InCon, the company has a multi-faceted marketing strategy that leverages multiple marketing channels to increase the pipeline of new customers. In addition to new customer acquisition, the marketing strategy incorporates tactics designed to optimize existing customer spend.
This is an ongoing project that’s currently being implement. While some success has been achieved, detailed results will be provided as the project matures.
The DWCC leadership was experiencing challenges attracting new members and retaining the existing membership. The scope of this project was focused on addressing the immediate need which involved the membership turnover. In order to properly address and ensure the appropriate initiatives were implemented, the leadership needed to obtain an in-depth understanding of members attitudes, perceptions, and motivations. This information would help leadership identify the underlying problems, which would guide their efforts and campaigns to improve membership retention.
For this purpose, DWCC hired InCon, LLC to conduct research that would provide the type of information leadership needed to make necessary improvements that would appeal and meet the needs of DWCC stakeholders. The research was centered around the following objectives:
To understand current and previous members attitudes and perceptions toward DWCC.
To understand factors that influence and motivate members to be active.
To identify unmet needs and desires of current and previous members the DWCC failed to meet.
Our approach included a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods. Below gives a quick snapshot of all phases of the project:
Internal Data: Access to the DWCC internal data was a critical component and need for InCon, LLC. The type of information by which InCon, LLC gained access consisted of the DWCC membership database (i.e. Excel spreadsheet) that listed all those who have been a DWCC member within the past 5 years.
Membership Demographic Assessment: This demographic assessment was done to give leadership a true understanding of their existing membership composition, as well as to help determine who were existing DWCC members and who were no longer members of DWCC.
Focus Group Study: Considering there was not a clear understanding of the existing concerns, attitudes, perceptions, and needs amongst the membership, a series of focus groups were conducted. The focus groups were used give better understanding of the problem as well as how best to develop the quantitative instrument.
InCon, LLC used a survey questionnaire (which is a quantitative method) for the validation of information obtained during the focus groups sessions and to measure perceptions, motivations, needs, desires, and differences.
The DWCC leadership became completely aware of the internal issues that have impeded Church growth. They have been ale to implement the right initiatives to focus on retention and outreach. The information was also used to help develop the Church brand and how best to engage audiences they seek to attract.
AquaGreen Global, LLC is a landscape design build firm that provides park construction, streetscapes, and municipalities services in the Dallas / Fort Worth region. They specialize in combining modern, distinctive designs, and construction services with professional project management.
The services offered by AquaGreen Global, LLC were primarily geared toward public entities and municipalities; however, the company was seeking to expand and create a brand presence in the private market. Successful penetration into the private space would require an effective marketing strategy. AquaGreen Global, LLC’s was challenged with how to get started and how best to create a marketing road map that would deliver consistent results.
We worked with AquaGreen Global, LLC to better understand their internal environment through our i-IMMERSION process, which audits existing marketing efforts, key business operations, and information gaps. This process enabled us to identify existing pain points and marketing vulnerabilities that would hinder success in the transition to the private market.
Through our intense session we used various techniques to establish long-range goals and what would be required in order to obtain those goals. We quickly aligned with the company’s vision and goals to become a true marketing extension and uncovered a thorough understanding of what it would require to build a successful marketing strategy.
While bringing value to consumers through solid products/offerings is important, companies do not have to have the best to outperform competing brands. The fact of the matter is, the best U.S. brands don’t always have the best offerings, but rather an unmatched ability to implement effective marketing. For smaller brands, this simply means marketing effectively is a must.
Now the question becomes, is your company postured to market effectively? With so many marketing options to choose from (e.g. 100+ marketing channels, thousands of marketing platforms to assist marketers, and the increasing number of marketing consultants/agencies), there is a lot of confusion when making marketing decisions. Couple these options with the ever-increasing amount of information available to consumers/end-users for smart shopping, companies can no longer afford to slack in marketing.
As companies gear up for 2020, how will they ensure they are postured for marketing success? How will they stack up against the competition? If these companies are not leveraging a holistic, integrated marketing system, chances are 2020 will look grim. No longer should companies be one-hit wonders, relying on one marketing activity (e.g. social media, networking, word of mouth, etc.), but rather leveraging multiple marketing activities under one comprehensive marketing strategy. Considering most companies are not proficient in doing this, we have highlighted eight critical marketing tips that companies should consider using to build a solid marketing infrastructure for marketing success in 2020.
1. Establish Your Goals. There is nothing more frustrating and wasteful than traveling with no clear destination. While this may be every retired person’s dream, it doesn’t work well for businesses seeking growth. So, it is important that you visualize where you want to be and determine your overarching marketing goal.
One good starting place is to review your company goals and ensure your marketing goals align and truly supports the overarching vision.
Clearly define the end state and when it is to be accomplished. You could approach this by asking one simple question, what do I want my marketing efforts to accomplish over the next 3 years? It is always interesting to hear people’s dreams, but witness them struggle to quantify them into meaningful goals. That’s because goal setting is not as easy as it may seem.
Your goals should be well-thought out and crafted in a manner that drives momentum. One method for ensuring this is to make the goals SMART, which simply means Specific Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timed. Applying this will help ensure your goals are properly crafted.
2. Establish Specific Targets/Milestones. Within this step lies an even bigger challenge for many smaller businesses. They have an ideal destination, but haven’t defined what is required to get there. So, as you identify your marketing goal(s), please ensure you establish critical targets and milestones that will serve as your roadmap reach your end-state.
Secondly, it is time for you to determine who your ideal target audience is, which has proven to be extremely challenging for many businesses. The number one thing we hear as we work with small businesses is, “We Sale to Everybody”. No, No, No, and No, this is a clear sign that you have not identified your target audience(s). If large, successful companies have taken the time to identify their target audience(s), Small Businesses should too.
In addition to identifying who your target audience(s) is, it is equally important to understand “Why” that particular audience was chosen. If you can’t answer why based on a known market need or desire, you may want to refocus and align your products/services to the appropriate audience.
Next, is to determine how much of your target audience do you need to reach in order to meet your targets and ultimate goals. You should consider having this figure broken down weekly, monthly, and annually, so that you will have a baseline to ensure you remain on track.
Finally, one of the most challenging things is to determine what marketing channels your company should use to best reach your target audience. This should not be a speculation. Consider how much companies spend on marketing and media channels annually. If you go in blind with these selections, you can waste a lot of money. To do this successfully, you really need to do your research, which we’ll cover in tip #4.
3. Conducta Marketing Assessment. After you have determined your marketing goals and what it will take to reach those goals, you need to take a marketing assessment to ensure marketing preparedness and expose your existing marketing blind spots. What you don’t know can and very much will hurt you. Having the insights from an objective marketing assessment will strengthen your marketing infrastructure and posture you for success.
It is important to have a clear picture of your company’s information gaps, which is another purpose of the assessment. Filling these gaps gives you the data and intelligence that will enable effective marketing. Before you can fill the gaps, you must know where the gaps lie. This is where the marketing assessment will give you so much value. Take your free marketing assessment today.
4. Conduct Marketing Research. With clarity from your marketing assessment, now you need to “DO YOUR RESEARCH”. Knowledge is power and behind every great marketing campaign is access to the right data, insights, and institutional knowledge (in short, Knowledge, Knowledge, and more Knowledge) that’s necessary to guide all marketing decisions.
Most small businesses struggle tremendously with marketing research and even more struggle with recognizing that they should do it. Every company needs marketing research. If you are struggling with this statement, consider for the following:
1. What’s the number one thing you wish you knew about those you want to do business with?
2. Why are customers buying from your competition?
3. What is stopping your existing customer(s) from switching to your competition?
4. What is your brand awareness in the market?
5. What are the best advertising channels to reach your ideal customer(s)?
Were you able to answer these questions; and if so, were the answers you provided based on an assumption or validated information? If you struggled with the answers above, you need marketing research; otherwise, your marketing dollars are at risk. One of the worse things you can do in marketing is assume/guess, but we all do it or have done it before.
Don’t assume/guess, get the information. To help you get started, download our free marketing intelligence eBook. This eBook will layout key steps you should consider in conducting your research.
5. Develop Your Consumer Journey Model. One thing is for certain, rarely will consumers or businesses make a purchase the first time they experience your company. Since purchase behavior doesn’t typically happen that way, you must consider how consumers will experience and digest your brand. An effective marketer maps out the consumer journey which consists of the following life-cycle phases:
Awareness - All marketing channels/efforts that reach the consumers to create awareness.
How will you create awareness for your brand? What channels will you use?
Consideration - Items/efforts to maintain attention and make consumers interested.
Conversion - Items/efforts used when consumer makes decision to purchase.
Retention - The things/items that make life-long and/or repeat customers.
After considering these life-cycle phases, you should categorize them into the following:
Your framework should look like this:
Now that we are done with the fundamentals, let’s consider the reality for most small businesses which is a limited marketing budget and time to execute everything that fits within the consumer journey model. Because of this, small business should prioritize effectively. Below are a few items to consider when prioritizing:
Cost implications – How much can you actually afford to allocate toward your marketing efforts?
Immediate Impact – What is the projected return on investment for each effort?
Priority Target Audience – Which audience(s) will give you the best chances of sales and have the highest value?
Of course there are more things to consider, but these have helped narrow down our clients’ robust list. Once you have a finalized list within each category, the question then becomes how are your channels and marketing efforts connected to achieving your ultimate goal? Creating a map that shows these interrelationships will help maximize each activity. The following illustration is just an example of this mapping:
6. Plan Your Resources. Now that the overall framework is created and you know what is needed, it’s time to plan out how you will get it all done. Planning your resources ensures that the appropriate resources are available at the appropriate time to ensure things get done. While this may make you feel a little overwhelmed, it is completely necessary to ensure your marketing gains the appropriate momentum. During this phase you will be laying out the following:
What to execute (e.g. digital marketing content & imagery)?
Who will do it (e.g. bring in an outside branding agency)?
How will they do it or what is needed (e.g. what technology is needed to help facilitate the action)?
When will it get done (e.g. create a calendar that displays what is needed to be done and when it is needed)?
7. Marketing Execution and Implementation. Don’t plan forever. Get up and get it done through your execution and implementation!
As you see, marketing firms and big business do a lot to create the best marketing strategy and you should too. Just because your company may be small, doesn’t mean you have to operate like the average small business. Creating the best marketing strategy successfully could be the difference between your company succeeding or failing.