Looking at the marketing strategies and performance of the major companies in current recession time as compared to those of economic boom five years ago, the most striking impression is marketing strategy obsolescence. Companies marketing operations were performing well before few years, which are now affected badly due to recession with no hope for economic recovery even in the current fiscal year.
Today Marketing managers are facing challenges to survive in this turbulent situation where cut throat competition, lack of demand and liquidity, switching of customers, advertising cost increasing, govt. regulation etc. affected their marketing performance badly than ever. These changes represent both opportunities and problems and may need periodic examination of the Company's marketing operations.
Many marketing managers now realize that their marketing operations should be regularly reviewed and examined, but do not know how to do it. Sometimes they are simply making small changes that are economically and politically feasible, but fail to get to the heart of the matter which keeps them unaware of the real situation.
In present scenario of the economy, It is now necessary for each company to know the current situation of their business, the effectiveness of current marketing strategies and plan and measure performance of marketing operation which can be performed by conducting systematic marketing audit.
Marketing Audit is a process of comprehensive, systematic and independent analysis and assessment of company's marketing environment, objectives, strategies and activities to identify problem areas and operational strengths and weaknesses and recommends the courses of action to be taken to improve company's overall marketing performance and make marketing strategies and plan more effective and result oriented.
The marketing audit is having four major characteristics:
The main 2 variables of marketing audit are External and Internal Environment. External variables are uncontrollable such are the macro economics, politics, social, cultural, etc. while the internals are controllable such are marketing operation, marketing functions, system, strategy etc.
The marketing audit processis comprised of basic three steps. First step is to identify the objectives and scope. This has to be done in consultation with the company officials and auditors. Second step is to collect the relevant data. While collecting data, insider company personnel are being interviewed, but at the same time an outsider customers also considered a good source of data collection. The third and last step is to prepare a report. The report contains main objectives, major findings and suggested recommendations.
Full Marketing Audit comprises of six components viz. Marketing environment audit, organization audit, strategy audit, systems audit, productivity audit and function audit. If the company does not want to carry full marketing audit, then each component can be audited separately. However, full marketing audit is recommended to get the whole picture of the real situation.
Although all the companies can benefit from a systematic audit of their marketing operations, but however, marketing audit can provide better results where the company is production oriented or technically oriented. Young start ups can decide their marketing approach even if being inexperienced. To the nonprofit organizations also marketing audit can provide educative and diagnostic approach. Companies having troubled divisions can be easily cured by marketing audit and likewise high performing divisions can also be maintained and improved with the help of marketing audit.
In present global recession where each company is affected badly, survival in this critical situation is the ultimate goal of any company. The marketing managers are analyzing every possible solution to survive and one such tool they can use is the Marketing Audit. It is an invaluable instrument to help an organization to establish its unique competitive position and to identify its superior skills, resources and capabilities. Marketing Audit is now a days, proving itself a prerequisite for achieving a sustainable competitive advantage.