Marketing Audit Approach and Action Plan - Verizon In Tutorial Library

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TITLE: Marketing Audit Approach and Action Plan - Verizon

UNIVERSITY / INSTITUTE: University of Phoenix

CLASS / COURSE: Marketing


1.      Individual Assignment: Marketing Audit Approach


·        Resources: University of Phoenix Material: Marketing Audit Overview


·        Refer to the Marketing Audit Overview as a guide to prepare an action plan that includes key tasks and due dates for the Marketing Audit due in Week Six.


·        Identifywhat key tasks you will do and how you will do the key tasks.


·        Includekey resources such as people, data, reports, and articles, among others to be used.


·        Identifyhow you will approach the Marketing Audit.


·        Describe the steps you will take to complete the Marketing Audit.


·        Discussthe following in each part of the Marketing Audit:


o   The types of information and data you plan to review

o   The types of analysis you might perform on the data that you collect

o   When you plan to do the audit

o   Any challenges that you perceive in completing the part



Presentyour plan for successfully completing the audit. Be sure to identify the items you will be including. your action plan, your anticipated challenges, and your self imposed due dates.. You may do this in paragraph form if you wish.  My experience with this class has shown a grid to be a far more effective way to present your information.  I will be posting a sample paper done some time ago by a former student.  He has given me permission to show his work as a sample.  Note that the content of the Marketing Audit Overview was somewhat  different when the sample was prepared.  Be sure to use items in the current version only.


·        Demonstrate the following in your approach:


o   In-depth thinking about the assignment

o   A work plan that allows you to begin work on the project starting in Week Three and due in Week Six



 Marketing Audit Overview

This overview discusses the Marketing Audit, which is the final individual assignment in MKT/551. It covers the following:


·        What is a marketing audit?

·        Why do a marketing audit?

·        Tips and cautions for preparing a marketing audit.

·        Components of a marketing audit and the final assignment.


What is a marketing audit?


To conduct an audit, according to Cambridge Dictionaries Online, is “to make an official examination of the accounts of a business” (2003). While the concept of an audit is commonly associated with the accuracy of financial reports, it is no less important for marketing. Many businesses judge the effect of their marketing program on sales numbers. While sales may be one measure of marketing effectiveness, sales data do not tell management what worked, what did not, and what external factors affected the results. Interpretation of sales data does not provide report cards for prior marketing efforts, or direction for future efforts. Whether conducted by an outside auditor or by in-house personnel, regular examinations of all aspects of the marketing function may provide information on the external environment; the internal organizational structure; and the objectives, strategies, and tactics used by a firm or a brand.


In Week One, SWOTT analysis was covered. A marketing auditmay provide the information needed to conduct a SWOTT analysis. Conversely, in the absence of a marketing audit, an up-to-date SWOTT analysis may provide benchmark data for a full audit.


Why conduct a marketing audit?


A business, or a brand, that does not regularly examine its total marketing program may not understand why it has succeeded or why it has failed. A business that thoroughly and objectively examines its marketing environment or program may take steps to improve on what worked well and modify or eliminate what worked poorly. 


Tips and cautions for preparing a marketing audit


There is a tendency in business to only conduct thorough reviews of any program when there are problems. All too often, that is too late. Marketing audits must be conducted at regular, scheduled intervals. An ideal time to do an audit is just prior to preparing a marketing plan. 


It is important that top management make it clear that all personnel who are asked to contribute to the audit provide full cooperation to the audit team, and that the analysis be objective. An audit conducted to justify or rationalize past actions may be worse than no audit at all. The ramifications of a marketing auditplanned to produce favorable results may be as severe as the ramifications of a biased financial audit.


In considering which organization you, as a student, want to use for your marketing audit, keep the following in mind:


·        Is the information I need available from public sources?


·        If I want to use my own organization as the subject, may I do so without violating confidentiality agreements?


·        A wealth of corporate data is available in the University Library. Databases such as Hoovers are there for your use, without fee. Both the University Library and corporate Web sites offer annual reports, 10K reports, and other relevant material. Use the resources available to you. It makes the task easier and the outcome more accurate.


·        There are elements of a marketing audit that are corporate secrets. When that happens, you may include what you expect the audit to show and the reasons for your expectations. It is unlikely that you are able to discover the specific methods an organization uses to research potential new products, for example. Based on their pattern of new product introductions, however you may draw reasonable conclusions as to their research process.


Components of a marketing audit and final assignment


Note:This is a typical list of components in a marketing audit. Organization or industry circumstances may dictate that items be added or deleted.


1.      Executive Summary(required for Marketing Audit)


In preparing the executive summary, keep in mind that the summary is probably the only part of the audit top management reviews. It is assumed that the full document provides all the support needed to reinforce both your conclusions and recommendations. For that reason, it is imperative that any claims you make in the summary be fully documented in the full audit, and that no conflicts exist between the summary and the audit. As you plan the summary, decide which conclusions and recommendations you consider the most important for management to accept. You may wish to consider, if applicable, enhancements to the marketing mix, optimization of marketing resources, and strategic and tactical marketing adjustments in response to changes in the organization’s environments. You also need to consider additional categories. In most cases, major changes are needed in some of these areas as well.


Your summary must be 700 to 1,400 words that highlight the conclusions from each section of the audit. Key findings and supporting data may be in bullet format. Conclude with a summary of recommended future action.


2.      Table of Contents(required for Marketing Audit)


3.      Environmental Aspects (include any 3 of the 10 elements in this section in the Marketing Audit. You may, with the approval of your instructor, add an item to this section, and include it as one of the three in your final paper)


a.      Economics: How have changes in the economy affected the organization or brand? Have changes in interest rates, labor costs, raw materials costs, consumer spending, bad debt ratios, exchange rates, or other economic factors affected the organization or brand? Is it sufficient to respond to just the domestic economy, or do multinational considerations apply? What adjustments were made? Have they succeeded? What additional adjustments are being contemplated? Why?


b.      Demographics: How have population and other demographic trends affected the organization or brand? What adjustments have been made in response to those trends? Have they succeeded? What additional adjustments are being contemplated? Why?


c.      Markets: Has the market been expanding, contracting, or stable? Has this varied by identifiable market segments? Which segments have the greatest growth potential, and which have declining potential? Has this varied by region within a country, or internationally? Where are the greatest opportunities for future profits? What adjustments have been made? Have they succeeded? What additional adjustments are being contemplated? Why?


d.      Culture: How have attitudes towards business in general, the industry, and the organization changed? Have attitudes toward environmental protection had either a positive or negative effect on the organization or brand? What other cultural phenomena had an effect? What adjustments have been made? Have they succeeded? What additional adjustments are being contemplated? Why?


e.      Politics: How have changes in legal and regulatory requirements affected the organization or brand? What adjustments have been made? Have they succeeded? Are changes in either the legal or regulatory arenas expected? How might they affect the organization or brand? What additional adjustments are being contemplated? Why?


f.       Technology: How have changes in technology affected the organization or brand? Is leading-edge technology being used? Is technology threatening to make the product obsolete? What adjustments have been made? Have they succeeded? What other changes are being contemplated? Why?


g.     Interchangeability: Are there alternate products that may be easily substituted for the product? What barriers to interchangeability exist? Is there a sufficient source of raw materials? What adjustments have been made? Have they succeeded? What other changes are being contemplated? Why?


h.      Customers: How do customers view the organization or brand? How do they view the competition? Has the purchasing process changed? Is there a clear understanding of customer wants and needs? Are there different market segments? Are there emerging market segments? What adjustments have been made? Have they succeeded? What other changes are being contemplated? Why?


i.       Competition: Who are the companies or brands with which the organization or brand competes? What are their sales and market share trends? How do their approaches to the market differ from the organizations, and from each other? Are there specific weaknesses in any competitors that may be turned into opportunities? Are there any specific strengths that are major threats? What adjustments have been made? Have they succeeded? What other changes are being contemplated? Why?


j.       Direct Stakeholders:What trends have occurred among shareholders, suppliers, distributors, dealers, sources of transportation, bankers, advertising agencies, marketing agencies, and market research agencies that have affected the organization or brand? What adjustments have been made? Have they succeeded? What other changes are being contemplated? Why?


4.      Marketing (include items a–d and a fifth item of your choice in your Marketing Audit)


a.      Objectives: Are there clearly defined marketing objectives? Are they consistent with corporate mission statement and objectives? Are they measurable? Attainable? How close to meeting marketing objectives was the organization or brand in the most recent complete year? Must the marketing objectives be modified? Why?


b.      Strategies: Are there clear strategies to reach each objective? Are they logical in light of both internal and external conditions? Are they consistent with each other? Do they consider SWOTT? Are all significant market segments covered? May they be executed within the limits of organizational resources? Must they be modified? Why?


c.      Tactics: Are there defined tactics for each strategy? Are they innovative, or a repeat of prior tactics? Are the tactics fully integrated? Are there any mixed messages? Must any of the tactics be modified? Why?


d.      Four Ps


1.      Product: Is the current product line appropriate? Must any items be discontinued? Added? Is product research being conducted? What changes must be made in how products are being handled?


2.      Price: What pricing strategy is being used? How does pricing compare to competition? How often is pricing evaluated? Changed? How are price and value viewed by the distribution chain? Customers? Is profitability at, above, or below industry norms? Must pricing policy be changed? Why?


3.      Place: Does the organization have a clear distribution policy? Is it working? Are more retail outlets needed? How do retailers feel about the organization or brand? Are additional channels of distribution needed? Must any distribution channels be abandoned?


4.      Promotion: Are both advertising and promotion strategies in place? Are they logical? How are they funded? How effective have prior advertising and promotion strategies been? Is there a measure of return on investment for each strategy?


e.      Organization: Are there clear lines of responsibility for all marketing-related activities, including sales? Does one individual have clear responsibility for all aspects of marketing? Are there adequate communications between the marketing and sales departments? Are responsibilities structured geographically, functionally, by product, by segment, or in some combination? How does marketing interact with other areas of the organization? Must the organizational structure be changed? Why?


f.       Sales: Does the sales force have clear and obtainable objectives? Is the department structured in a way that produces optimal results? Is sufficient training provided? Does the compensation plan motivate the sales force and keep top performers? 


g.     Marketing Information Systems: Is accurate information being obtained and distributed in a timely fashion? Is market research being conducted efficiently, and are research results being used for decision making? Is sales forecasting accurate? Must any changes be made? Why?


5.      Conclusion:Conclude your Marketing Audit by offering your final recommendations to management.


CambridgeDictionaries Online. Retrieved December 2, 2003, from

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