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Please don’t pay for a marketing audit. Do this instead.

Article originally published in October 2019 by Stuart Brameld. Most recent update in August 2023.

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3 reasons a marketing audit might be a good idea

We tend to find people look for a marketing audit for one of three reasons:

1. To get an outside perspective

In-house marketers can easily become accustomed to particular ways of doing things, leaving potential improvements and quick-wins neglected or ignored. An independent, outsiders perspective can quickly identify gaps, opportunities and missed best-practises.

Good agencies will have tens or even hundreds of other clients, many of them just like you. They often have a great perspective on what’s working and what isn’t from this birds-eye view.

“There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.”

Donald Rumsfeld

Perhaps you want to known the unknown unknowns when it comes to your go-to-market operations?

2. To get an up-to date perspective

Marketing tools, technology, trends and best practices are changing daily. A lack of awareness of these changes can result in your business being left behind.

A marketing audit is a perfect opportunity to gain exposure to new ideas and strategies to incorporate into your marketing team.

“Once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.”

Stewart Brand

3. They are unhappy with their agency

In-house marketing teams that are reliant on agencies assume best practices are just “taken care of” as part of the arrangement. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. An honest review of your agencies current performance can help identify areas to improve.

The problems with (most) marketing audits

Most people think of a marketing audit like a marketing MOT. However, unlike an MOT, marketing audits can vary enormously.

Most audits spend the most of their time performing analysis of different acquisition channels, for example:

  • SEO keywords, rankings and click-through rate
  • Website performance including page speed, user experience and design
  • Social media channel strategy, engagement and followers
  • Content distribution plan and conversion rates
typical marketing audit

This stuff is all well and good to look at, but it’s far too tactical to result in useful insights. This is very much an output over outcomes approach focusing on tactics. You pays your monies, the agency provides you with a huge, largely automated, not particularly helpful audit report (probably prepared by a relatively junior member of the team). The result may be a plan, but definitely not a strategy.

The intricacies of how to optimise for SEO are all very interesting, but if you have no hybrid attribution model that indicates SEO is driving pipeline and revenue for your business, it may be that SEO is a complete waste of time and money and you would be far better of focusing on a different revenue channel.

What we believe

We believe that marketing exists to support revenue growth, pure and simple. Despite the rise in growth and performance marketing disciplines, many marketing leaders come from creative and brand backgrounds and lack advanced understanding in areas such as analytics, data and growth.

The solution to your marketing growth does not lie in a PDF document of suggested quick wins, tips and tricks. We believe teams should be assessed based on marketing strategy alone. The results of this assessment are where your solutions will be found.

Instead of a marketing audit, do this

So, drop the marketing audit and methodically go through these questions with your team instead. We often use these ourselves when onboarding new clients.

Brand & positioning

  1. What is your differentiation? What is your point of view in your market? What status quo are you fighting and how are you better?
  2. How do you ensure your marketing activity stands-out?
  3. What is the business strategy for the next 12 – 18 months and how is your marketing strategy aligned with and supporting that?
  4. What is your average deal size (ACV)?


  1. How would you describe your overall go-to-market strategy?
  2. What is your marketing advantage?
  3. What are your current marketing goals (OKRs, KPIs, NSM)? Do you have a measurable metric to measure if you’ve gotten there?
  4. What’s your biggest marketing challenge right now?
  5. Approximately what percentage of your effort and spend is on demand generation versus demand conversion?
  6. How much of your work is focused on acquisition versus other stages of the customer journey?
  7. What are your big bets?
  8. What are the foundational things that aren’t done yet?

Customer insights

  1. Do you have a process to continually gather customer feedback?
  2. What percentage of people in your marketing team have talked to a customer in the last 2 weeks?

Process & data

  1. Do you have an understanding of qualified pipeline and revenue (closed won) for each of your marketings channels and programmes?
  2. Do you have the ability to analyse conversion rates across the entire customer journey?
  3. Do you launch new programs iteratively? How many experiments do you run per month or per quarter?
  4. Do you have visibility of spend or CAC (customer acquisition cost) for each of your marketing channels and programmes?
  5. How, and how often, do you communicate with stakeholders and the rest of the business on marketing activities?
  6. How often to you run marketing experiments?
  7. Do you have a clear and consistent format for growth marketing meetings?


  1. Where are your marketing dollars most effective today? In which marketing channel?
  2. What are the top 3 things that are working for you right now?
  3. Where do you feel there are untapped opportunities or opportunities to scale?

But I really really want a marketing audit!

Ok, we’ll recommend 2 companies.

  1. Use the Powered by Search free and very well-considered SaaS scalability score
  2. For companies looking to audit their experimentation programme, we highly recommend Speero’s experiment maturity audit
  3. GrowthHackers have a free Growth Maturity Audit for more established growth teams