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Marketing Review

Better marketing doesn’t mean more expensive, it means smarter.

Good managers want to make every dollar count and our role is to make that objective a reality. Marketing audits are critically important because they are, in a very real sense, an in-depth evaluation of assumptions and priorities—how you deploy limited resources in the most cost-effective way possible.

Marketing — as opposed to advertising or sales—is an ongoing process of understanding who your customer is, where they are, what they want, when they want it, and how much they will pay for it.

An optimum marketing program spends the right amount of money to reach the “right” people at the right time. Does your organization know where your current and prospective audience lives and what they really desire from your organization? Through an evaluation process, we provide recommendations to hone your current marketing strategies, programs, budget and staffing. We consider your competitive environment, business dynamics, economy, and setting in the analysis.

Data drives strategy and strategy drives data.

They are inseparable. The lack of access to meaningful data can impede your organization’s ability to learn about and understand your audience and constituencies. It amazes us how many organizations spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on information systems that fail to provide meaningful enough data to drive strategy. This unrealized capacity translates to real waste of both the investment and the opportunities that significant market intelligence can provide. While management and staff must have access to data to measure and understand audience behavior, untapped information is without value. Unfortunately, many software programs don’t track or report on key performance variables that we know are strategically critical. We help you address these information systems deficiencies so that you are paying attention—on a longitudinal basis—to critical variables that boost revenues. Plus, we supplement your system’s reporting abilities with geo-demographic segmentation studies of your markets and key characteristics that guide consumption and participation.

Marketers sometimes get caught in the “operating trap,” just like everyone else.

How many of your programs and strategies are still in place because “that’s what we did last year and it seemed to work”? What works once may not work twice. In these turbulent times, consumer priorities change, tastes change, and the economy changes. Innovation and creativity—as valuable as they are—must be coupled with planning and evaluation. An ineffective strategy that steals focus is as nefarious as a shady employee who steals money.

Attracting and developing audiences require large, ongoing investments that, over time, make your customer base your organization’s most significant asset.

With increasing budgetary pressures, management and boards look for areas to trim budgets and marketing budgets are always scrutinized. Financial audits help portray the fiscal health of an organization. But your financial audit can’t tell you how effectively you communicate with or satisfy your customer or donor base. Yet, these customers and donors are the lifeblood source of your organization.

When it comes to sustainability, a Marketing Performance Audit is every bit as important as your financial audit.

It ensures that time, energy and focus on customer needs and behavior receives the same rigorous review as does the balance sheet. We’ll help you ensure that resources robustly satisfy your customers. Our job is to root out cost-ineffective expenses so you can reallocate those dollars for greater returns on investment. We will help you answer the tough questions:

  1. Are our marketing and communications strategies effective?
  2. Is marketing planning an effectiveness-enabler or -inhibitor?
  3. Are we spending too much or too little?
  4. Does our channel strategy increase impact and reduce costs?
  5. Do we really know and understand our customers? Have we built a segmentation model that is useful or just interesting?
  6. Do our customers feel emotionally connected and invested in us? How do we know?
  7. Do our information systems support our market intelligence needs? When we mine our data, do we get diamonds or coal?
  8. Are we staffed properly?
  9. How can we create a greater return on investment?

Our work isn’t about questioning the competence or commitment of the marketing staff any more than an auditor’s work is about questioning the competence or commitment of the accounting staff.

Our methodology speeds up the evaluation, planning and strategy-development processes so that marketing staff can focus on the important work—execution. We function as an informational and strategic resource. We bring our experience with many organizations, strategies, and markets to the table.

Our methodology is not boilerplate.

We tailor our marketing audit engagement to meet your needs, answer your questions, and address your goals. We understand the uniqueness of markets and organizations. After all, the marketing discipline is founded on recognizing, understanding, and segmenting by differences. We know that your organization is unique. So we start by taking time to get to know you—what is important to you, what your issues are, and what drives the organization and motivates its people.

Without a deep understanding of who you are, we cannot build the best program for you. We believe that our client should actively influence the engagement process design. While this seems self-evident, it doesn’t always happen. It always happens with us. We begin our analysis on a foundation of a rigorous discovery process. Yes, it’s time-consuming but it’s worth every moment.

Our clients share one very important trait: they are unafraid of fearless self-evaluation.

Not only are they smart, they want to be smarter. They’re not focused on blaming themselves for the occasional past strategic misstep. They want to get it right today. So, it’s not only our experience and insights that we offer our clients; it’s also an ongoing accumulation of our clients’ experience and insights. Working together, as we discover better, smarter, and more effective ways of opening and capturing new markets, we bring that knowledge to our new clients. Learning can be expensive. The good news is that you don’t have to invent everything yourself any more than you have to make all the mistakes yourself.