Is Your Marketing Plan Really Ready? 3 Key Steps to a Marketing Plan Audit

Is Your Marketing Plan Really Ready? 3 Key Steps to a Marketing Plan Audit

As I’ve reported many times…many of you do not even HAVE a marketing plan-at least not a documented plan you use to execute and measure sales and marketing success on a monthly basis. And most companies who do have a documented plan (I’m sorry to say) have not done the job they need to do in order to achieve big aspirations on limited budgets! There is a lot of waste in most marketing plans I audit.

So I want to address those of you who have made the effort to develop a marketing plan. I want you to be the BEST that you can be! Have you reviewed your past successes and failures, evaluated your target markets, competition, and brand position? Have you established a structured sales process and marketing mix? Do you have an adequate budget allocated?

Follow these three steps to my Marketing Audit process and make sure your marketing plan is ready for prime time:

1. Assign Auditor(s). If you are the main architect of your marketing plan/strategy, you shouldn’t be the auditor. You can’t be objective enough. Find colleagues who you respect to audit your plan. This could be an internal contact, an external influencer, or both. Make sure whomever you choose can be candid, honest, and constructive.

2. Define Audit Criteria. Define the key criteria you wish to have your marketing plan judged by. Make sure your list is complete and covers all key sections of a strong marketing plan-goals, research, organization, brand, products/services, target market, competition, sales process, marketing mix, implementation calendar, and budget.

3. Create a Marketing Plan Audit Template. Use your audit criteria to develop a template you can provide your auditors. For each of the marketing plan sections you are evaluating, create questions meant to assess the completeness and effectiveness of that section. For example, in goals you might ask, “Are the business, sales, and marketing goals defined clearly?” and “Can each goal be measured and tracked?” Make sure the template is comprehensive, easy to use, and includes a scoring system to determine the overall readiness of your marketing plan.

Following this process, you will ensure you have developed what will be a successful marketing plan. But make sure you go into the process with an open mind and thick skin. You don’t have to take every recommendation your auditor makes, but if you don’t seriously consider each, you are selling your potential…and the process…short!