How do you know where you are and if what you’re doing is in alignment with what you’re trying to achieve? We recommend an audit – not a financial audit – but an audit of your current marketing practices. Some think they don’t have marketing practices to audit, but they do. (See “I don’t do marketing”.)
When we’re called into a prospective new client, we typically see one of three different circumstances. The first, and most common is a scenario in which the firm owner or company leadership sees the need for better marketing and doesn’t know where to start – or restart – or doesn’t have the internal resources to sustain the effort necessary to create forward momentum. The company may even have exhausted its internal team already and cracks in performance are beginning to show, either because the internal resource is crying uncle or opportunities are being missed.
A scenario we encounter less often is when the company owner believes that better marketing will help grow her business and to that end she’s been marketing the firm herself. She doesn’t want to invest more money in marketing, or any money in marketing, but she believes she’s willing to invest her own time in the process.
A third common scenario is when the company leadership does not believe that they need to improve their marketing efforts, but internal forces (sales people, business development folks) are demanding some kind of action or support.
In all of these situations, we ask the same questions in order to quickly audit the company’s marketing status. We ask questions that inform our internal assessor and judge. But before we can do that, we ask them to show or tell us what they’re currently doing to market the organization. Let’s list what we’re talking about so you know what to put out on the table in front of you.
- Your company name
- Your logo
- Your tagline, if you have one, or any often-used “brand” language
- Social media accounts – profiles and posts, including curated (or reposted) content
- Email marketing
- Letters and communication to clients and colleagues
- White papers or blog posts
- Capabilities package
- Sales materials
- Proposals and qualifications packages
All of this should be collected and put out in front of you in some way.
Now, ask the following questions:
What do you do?
What markets do you serve?
Who is your ideal client or customer? Describe her workstyle, education, type of business or industry, etc.
Why does that client prefer to work with you?
What makes your relationship work?
As we ask these foundation business questions, we look and read the current marketing materials against the answers. Do the answers to your questions appear in your marketing materials either explicitly or in images, tone, and style? If you only had your marketing materials as reference, could you answer these questions>
Ask further: What feedback have these materials garnered? Do prospective customers respond to any of your marketing tools? How? How are you measuring the success of your marketing materials?
Right away you may be able to see where there’s accord and traction, and where there’s a disconnect. That should begin to give you insight into your next steps.
This is something that any business can do for itself, whether you’re a solopreneur or run a fully staffed team: audit your marketing.
Pro tip: Be honest with your audit answers. When approached with an open mind, the process can yield stronger, more resonant marketing communications that move your audience closer to your organization.