The IRS audits an astonishingly low number of people – about 1% (Kiplinger, March 2015). Still, the word ‘audit’ makes hearts race and hands sweat. But there’s some good news. It’s not all about the IRS.

Audits performed on your marketing and advertising efforts can increase your confidence in decisions downline. While these types of audits are typically completed prior to a product or campaign launch, having a thorough assessment of how your channels are working – even mid campaign – comes with several benefits.

Here are 4 must-have deliverables you should see when receiving your marketing audit:

What Are My Competitors Doing?

All my clients can list off their competitors in the marketplace. “We don’t compete with so-and-so, because they don’t do everything we do,” is very common thing to hear. What isn’t immediately clear is that their “in the flesh” competitors aren’t always the same as their online competition.

Keyword bidding has changed the landscape on what used to be a fairly black and white scenario between competing companies. The number of website backlinks and pages aren’t something you can know by looking at your competitor’s site. You may not even know Competitor X is crushing you on Pinterest. A valuable audit will indicate where your company is competing in the online world, across all channels.

Are My KPIs Up-To-Date?

Five years ago, a common goal for any business with a website was to rank #1 on Google for the keyword they thought they wanted to “own.”You probably get emails every day from some SEO company promising that very thing. But as website capabilities and mobile technology evolve, the KPIs of 2012 don’t really matter.

Instead of going for #1 on Google, request a review of your analytics dashboard for knowledge of what’s actually driving site traffic. Ask how to track important activities on your site. Expanding or editing your site’s goals (and making it easy to access that information) will change your business life and the way you prioritize website updates.

Do the Strategy and Tactics Align?

The word “audit” comes from the Latin word “audire,” which means to hear. Used this way, an audit of your brand strategy becomes a powerful tool for ensuring that you hear how your campaigns perform.

Most marketers juggle several campaigns and channels at the same time. No matter how well you’ve planned, once a campaign launches you are most likely on to the next thing. It’s important to have a knowledgeable, objective 3rd party looking at your plan to ensure campaign strategy and tactics align. An audit performed mid-campaign can save your brand marketing dollars and increase ROI through course corrections. Sun Tzu said it best: “Strategy without tactics is the slowest way to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise of defeat.”

What’s My ROI?

If you’ve been in advertising long, you’ve undoubtedly heard the quote often attributed to John Wanamaker: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Close to a century has passed since Wanamaker walked the Earth, yet this statement holds true for many businesses today.

John Wanamaker disapproves of you not knowing  your ROI. 

Whether you are going to relaunch your website, kick off a social media campaign, or need to get a grip on why your PPC keywords cost what they cost, an audit is an affordable, effective way to build a roadmap to marketing successes.One of the key benefits of having experts assess your advertising efforts is to gain perspective on your ROI. Email and Paid Search provide a “straight line” of how much you are getting in return from these channels. Offline advertising, however, can be trickier to track ROI. Requesting recommendations on how to track offline efforts going forward will give you the insight you need to make smart decisions with those channels in the future. Your CFO will love you for asking, too.



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