Marketing audit is an approach by which the preparation, implementation, prospects and status of the marketing plans of an organization are appraised. If an audit is improperly conducted, then it can be very time-consuming and may harm the long-term prospects of the company. It can become a traumatic process if not done carefully. This effect will spread throughout the organization as well as its various distribution channels.
A carefully conducted marketing audit can discover certain failings that have been simply hidden or forgotten. Personnel from all levels of the organization are involved in this type of audit. The process is conducted in a systematic way both inside and outside the structure of the organization. The audit will gather data and provide the analysis to the marketer or decision makers. They will then use this data to draw and evaluate market plans. It is not always agreeable to conduct an audit but it is necessary to carry it out.
It is difficult for a company to maintain objectivity about the value of its own planning process. This becomes yet more difficult if the plan is still in effect. The objectivity of a company decreases with its size. It is the least for solo marketers. So an audit that has no objectivity is worse than not carrying out an audit at all. This is because it simply hides the truth. If a company has resources, it is advisable to hire an external entity to carry out the audit. If the company is carrying out their business in the foreign market, then outside auditing is not an option. This is because of nondisclosure statements and commercial laws.
Marketing audit is not simply an internal analysis. Even the things that are done internally are not restricted to the functions of the management personnel. Marketing includes each and every dealing associated with the organization. Even if the marketer is operating solely, the customers, agents, freight forwarders, media buyers, ad agencies, distributors, shippers, suppliers, warehouse operators and retail sales personnel will be invited to contribute to the auditing procedure.
A marketing audit can be expensive but can provide good results if done thoroughly and carefully. If the audit is done properly, it can be highly beneficial to the project for which it was conducted. Success, innovations and problems can be discovered which can be applied to already running projects or to plan the market entry procedure for some other products.