marketing audit is an in-depth review of your organisation’s marketing plan to determine
how effective it is at supporting your vision, mission and strategy.
Social care businesses tend to do fewer marketing audits than most other sectors. When in fact it's one of the best things you could do for your business.
Going through the process will not only give you guidance for improvement, but may also open new avenues and opportunities for your business.
Plan to conduct a marketing audit at least after every major business change or every six months - it will make sure that every part of your business is working in the best way possible and that opportunities are quickly identified.
Canford Healthcare had a clear vision to grow their business to become one of the UK’s premier providers of care and support services to older people. In our work with them, we carried out a comprehensive review of their marketing activities to help them assess what was working well and put forward recommendations to improve the management of the marketing and communications function in order to achieve their long-term business goals.
Don’t wait until there’s a problem to do a Marketing Audit. Plan to conduct a marketing audit at least every six months, or after a major change in strategy - it will help to keep every part of your business working in the best way possible.
Involve your team
Involve key members of your senior team in the process, to gain their buy-in, support and input. Make sure you tell them what you’re planning to do and explain the benefits. Ask probing questions to gather initial thoughts and opinions. These will signpost you to areas of the business that may need attention or priority.
Assess all marketing activity
Review all your marketing activity against your business and marketing plan – are you adhering to it? Are there areas for development? Does the marketing plan continue to support the business plan and ‘direction of travel’? A review of your marketing activity should include an evaluation of collateral (e.g. brochures, posters, and all forms of marketing assets including digital media and channels). Also review your marketing and communication systems and processes – are they working well? What areas could be improved or changed?
When conducting your audit don’t limit your research to colleagues; speak to customers, families, volunteers and other key stakeholders that have contact with your organisation to really understand what is working well or not, and the reasons why. A key part of this process should involve a ‘mystery shop’ of your service to identify how your organisation is perceived by customers. This will also highlight if systems are working as they should and identify areas for improvement.
Carry out a SWOT analysis
Assess the strengths and weaknesses in your business. Be open to constructive, honest feedback that might be hard to swallow. A constructive review, no matter how difficult will serve your organisation well in the long run. Use the results from your SWOT analysis to refine your business goals and objectives and determine the actions needed for future growth and development.
Plan to take action
No review is complete without a workable action plan that clearly sets out the steps you need to take to develop and improve. The findings from the marketing audit you help you to create the action plan. Make sure to allocate sufficient resources and timescales to each action identified. Incorporate a regular review process in your action plan to help you keep on track to meet the short and long-term goals of your business.
This systematic approach not only demystifies the process of conducting a marketing audit, but will also make sure that you are in good stead to take your business forward with confidence.
Edna Petzen is director and marketing consultant at Lynden Consulting, a specialist marketing and communications company to the adult social care sector. We work with private, public and not-for-profit operators of retirement communities, extra care housing, residential and nursing care, home care, day care and providers of specialist provision for adults and older people. Get in touch to find out how we can help.