Marketing today is extremely complicated. The sheer volume of different marketing channels means your prospective customer’s attention is divided. Marketing your business without any planning is a recipe for disaster, something I am sure we can all agree on. But you will be surprised by the number of SMEs that do just that.
In today’s economic climate and competitive market, many established businesses are struggling to reach new customers and continue to grow for the simple reason, they continue to market their business the same way they always have.
If we look back some 10 years, so much has changed. With the advent of smartphones and tablets, consumers now have a plethora of channels to gather information about products and services.
With a massive transformation to the buyer’s journey, SMEs need to make significant changes to the way they market and how they market their goods and services. Gone are the days where marketing is just tasked with advertising and promoting products and services to push people to pick up the phone and talk to a salesperson. With more than half of the buyer’s journey being completed before a prospect engages with a company, promotion alone just won’t do.
The buyer’s journey in the business to business market is significantly more challenging when compared to the business to consumer market. Why, because there is generally more than 1 person and in some cases as many as 4 people involved in the buying processes. Making the sphere of influence a much greater one and, one where the demographics of the audience businesses are trying to reach is very diverse.
If you have read any marketing blogs recently, you will know that content is key to successful marketing and so is putting a content marketing strategy in place. But having great and quality content is not just the only thing. You need to use the right channels to get in front of the right audience.
So what should businesses be looking to do to get them back on track?
The first place to start is with a marketing audit. Why? A marketing audit will highlight all the strengths and weaknesses of your current marketing strategy, plan, objectives and marketing activities. The whole purpose of a marketing audit is to determine what is working and what isn’t so you are able to make improvements without wasting resources.
So what should your marketing audit cover?
The Macro Environment or External Environment Audit
This part of the audit focuses on factors outside of your organisation that might have an impact on your marketing performance. Here you want to look at the opportunities and threats that you have highlighted in your SWOT analysis. You want to take a critical look at your current your customer and prospects and developing in-depth customer persona’s to ensure your current marketing efforts relate to the needs, wants and expectations of your ideal target clients.
Your macro environment audit should also include a ‘PESTLE’ analysis. This will ensure that your marketing plans and strategy take into account political, environmental, social, technological, legal and economic factors.
The micro-environment audit or Internal Environment Audit
This is a major area for organisations and one that requires you to take an external perspective in order for you to get value from this part of a marketing audit. Putting you and your business under a microscope you need to critically assess your marketing in terms of time, resources such as staff and budget.
Your internal audit needs you to review all your marketing collateral; this is particularly important when it comes to your new found insights from your macro environment audit. This should cover any physical and digital collateral you have including your website. It should look at whether you are using the right messaging, channels and the frequency of your marketing.
It should also include looking at key performance metrics of all your marketing activities. It needs to look review your internal processes and the systems you use to record, track and monitor the leads you have generated. No stone should be left unturned.
What to do once you’ve completed your audit
For most businesses, once they have completed their audit there will be a to-do list. No one is perfect! Set out a clear list in priority order and set aside time and resource to complete these tasks. Don’t forget to keep monitoring the results as you go to ensure you remain on track.
If you don’t have the time or internal staffing resources to conduct your own marketing audit then using an external resource to help speed up the process could be right for you and your business. We have helped a number of businesses across a range of industries get their marketing back on track. Contact us if you would like to discuss your specific needs.