Have you performed a marketing audit for your company recently? - Veterinary Practice
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Have you performed a marketing audit for your company recently?

Why and how you should perform an audit of your company’s marketing strategies

A marketing audit is highly beneficial for any practice, as it will help you set up systems to reduce error in your marketing and create replicable strategies for success. You should strive to remove guesswork from your marketing strategy by regularly reviewing your company’s marketing objectives, strategies, activities and results.

“It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” Sherlock Holmes.

A marketing audit will give you all the information you need to create your annual marketing calendar, safe in the knowledge that you have examined the facts and acted to make things as efficient as you can.

Consider speaking to an expert

Marketing audits can be carried out internally, or by using an external agency that specialises in audits.

A professional marketing consultancy would likely look at a lot of different variables when performing a full marketing audit, but the good news is you can also do a simplified version yourselves that will help you to form a clearer overview of your company marketing and goals for the year ahead.

Refer to your brand audit

Like everything else that we’ve been talking about in this series, this exercise should be an extension of your already completed branding audit.

How to perform a simple marketing audit

1. Create an inventory of your marketing assets

The first thing you should do is to compile a list of all the marketing efforts that your clinic is currently undertaking. Gather details of as many things as you can from the following list: annual/monthly promotions, website, social media, print advertising, SEO and Google AdWords, email newsletters. Items from the last six months should give you enough data without overwhelming your team.

2. Examine the data

From the list above, aim to gather as much accurate data as possible about each topic. Certain things will be easier to measure than others. Which clinic promotions worked best for you last year and drove the most revenues? Compare your promotions with the same date parameters as the previous year to check effectiveness. Check that your website reflects your brand and evaluate how many website hits you are receiving per month. Does this figure need a new target for improvement?

Think about how can you improve your Facebook likes, shares and engagement. Is your SEO cost-effective, and what about taking another look at the keywords you are using for your Google AdWords campaigns?

If you send out regular email newsletters, examine the open rates and click-throughs for the past six months – are the figures improving each month? Are the print adverts you’re running in local magazines actually getting you new clients? How do you know? Now is the time to reappraise your local marketing spend.

3. Analyse your market

Now it’s time for your team to have a discussion around your service compared to your competitors, referring back to your brand values wherever necessary. Make note of your team’s views on who your customers are, the unique value you are providing them and if you’re communicating this value effectively. Discuss which marketing is working well for you and which isn’t working well. Evaluate how your clinic compares to your rivals and identify any specific gaps in the local market that you can exploit.

4. Compare your results to your goals

Are the results consistent with what you’re trying to achieve, and does the data show that your marketing campaigns are taking you closer to your goals? What do you need to do more of and which things should you do less of?

5. Adapt and optimise

Now you have all the facts to make a positive change to your marketing strategy. With the details of your marketing audit in hand, you’ll be able to design an annual marketing plan that will streamline your marketing budget and ensure you reach your business goals. Remember, don’t conduct an audit if you’re not willing to act upon it. This is your chance to make sure that you’re using your resources and time properly. The more you evaluate the goals, processes and activities that make up your marketing strategy, the more power you gain to positively affect your business growth.

Will Stirling

Will Stirling is a freelance marketing consultant who has worked in small animal practice marketing for over a decade, consulting on marketing strategy. He now spends his time helping independent veterinary clinics to grow and thrive.

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