63 Marketing Audit Questions to make your Marketing More Effective:
By Jeffrey Dobkin
As a marketing consultant I ask the same marketing questions to every firm owner. I’ve probably analyzed over 1,000 marketing campaigns over the last 25 years. Here are the top 63 marketing audit questions I ask in some form or another.
Marketing audit questions about clients:
Who are your current clients?
Reason: I try to figure out what common traits they have, then clone them to get more of the same kinds of willing customers. This is the low hanging fruit of customer acquisition, and one of the lowest cost and most effective ways to market.
For example: If you told me 98% of your customers owned Schnauzers, and 85% of Schnauzer owners needed one of your products… that’s all the research I’d need to take out an ad in “Schnauzer’s Today” magazine, and buy a mailing list of Schnauzer owners and mail to them.
Where do customers – and potential customers – hang out?
What do they read? What magazines do they subscribe to?
What associations do they belong to?
What trade shows do they attend?
What trade shows to they exhibit in?
Where do they live? What kind of residence?
Do they all own one particular thing? A certain boat or Car? Do they all have a house at the shore? Use a Nikon Camera? Ride a motorcycle?
What do they like?
I’d go as far as “What do they eat for breakfast?” but… that may be a little too intrusive. If I can figure out what most of your customers like, I can attack from that direction.
For example, if a client sells impact wrenches that have high relevance to the motorcycle industry, and all his customers have motorcycles, I’d recommend he places ads in the motorcycle industry trade magazines, send press releases to the motorcycle trade and consumer magazines, send sample wrenches to motorcycle tool catalog publishers, go to motorcycle trade shows to look for motorcycle tool, parts and accessory distributors — and if the market (sales) are there, take our booth space. This would be a lot of fun as I have a passion for motorcycles. Note: this is not as much fun in the lawn and garden industry where a marketing client of mine sold a complete line of peat and sphagnum moss products. Ugh. He did some nice numbers, though.
Real Marketing, Real Marketing Questions:
How do you market?
Lead generation or direct sales?
One or Two Step selling process?
You know your own business better than I, so what are your most successful marketing methods?
What is your lowest cost customer acquisition marketing methods?
How far down on this list is still a profitable way to market?
What are your most effective ways you currently get sales?
Where else do sales come from?
How big is your customer file? Do you ever mail to them?
What are the results?
Marketing Questions about your Products
Why do people buy your products?
Why do they buy your product over your competitors?
What makes your product special?
What are the features?
What are the benefits of each of those features?
What features are unique to your own products?
What is the cost comparison between your products and your competitors?
Do you sell through retailers? Distributors? Wholesalers? Direct?
Do you market through the mail? On TV? Newspaper remnant space?
What are the results?
Marketing Audit Questions about Magazines
Have you ever purchased magazine ad space?
What were the results?
Tell me about the campaign.
You ran ads in how many magazines?
What are they? Let’s see the ads.
Trade or consumer magazines, or a mix?
How frequently did you run the ads?
And the Results?
How many inquiries did you get per ad?
How many customers from each resource?
What is your customer inquiry cost?
What is your closing (conversion) ratio?
Do you still run those ads? Why or why not?
Do your competitors advertise in magazines?
How long have they been running ads in each magazine?
What are the results?
PR Questions about your Marketing –
Have you ever written a press release?
Have you ever spoken to a magazine or newspaper editor?
Has your press release ever been published?
When and where?
How many press releases do you send each year?
To how many magazines?
By traditional mail or email?
Do you have a PR Strategy?
Do you have the headlines of your next 5 press releases?
Or the full releases written out? Let’s see them.
What are the results?
Internet Marketing Questions:
Do you have a website?
Does your website sell directly?
What is your website goal or objective?
What are the results?
How many visitors/day, week?
Do you market through SEO, Social Media, Content, PPC?
What are your key words for SEO?
What’s your kpi?
Do you market by email?
How big is your internet e-mail list?
How often do you mail to customers?
How do they sign up?
Do you have a referral policy/reward?
What are the results?
Marketing Audit Questions about your product
What is the retail cost of your product?
Wholesale cost? Retailer cost?
How many units have you sold this year?
What marketing effort brought in your greatest number of inquiries.
What brought in your greatest number of sales?
At what overall cost?
At what cost per sale?
What is your cost per sale?
What is your cost per inquiry? For each media?
Cost per customer acquisition?
Lifetime value of a customer?
How frequently do they purchase?
How many buy again?
(Repeat customers are the true measure of success –
their marketing cost is -0-)
Do you thank you customers? How?
What is the buying cycle in time – from inquiry to sale?
What is the buying cycle in time, from one purchase to the next?
Marketing audit questions about your competition:
What other similar products to yours do your customers buy?
What add-on products do you offer?
Where do they buy your competitor’s products?
Your market share (percent)? Their market share?
Is your market price sensitive?
IE: if a similar product sells for 5% less, will customers buy that product instead of yours?
What makes people buy your product over your competitor’s?
Product Marketing Audit Questions
Who are your largest competitors?
At what price points do they market?
Price of competing models?
How does your price compare?
How many industries do you market to?
What are the price points of each market (same or different)?
What are the magazines that serve those industries?
(Knowing the number, size and strength of the magazines
will let me know the size of the market, how to best attack it,
and the number and strength of competitors.)
How many price points do you market your product at?
(Good, better, best?)
How many similar products do you market that are different in price?
How many models do you offer?
How many products in your product line?
How is your product distributed?
Do you have strong distribution?
Do you go through distributors? Retailers?
What do customers like about your products?
How many of your products do customers buy at one time?
Do they come back?
What makes them buy yours?
How do you know? Have you ever sent a survey?
What is your up-sell? Cross sell?
Do they buy again? When?
How many repeat sales do you have?
How many times do people buy again? (How frequently?)
What does your product sell for?
What is your cost to mfg? [COG] Cost to market?
What’s your profit?
What’s your budget?
When I ask this, some people get afraid that I’ll spend the entire budget on… me. But in reality, where I virtually think we all live, I need a budget to figure out a realistic marketing plan: you wouldn’t want me to write a $100,000 marketing campaign if you had $10,000 in your marketing budget? Conversely I wouldn’t want to write a $10,000 marketing plan if you had $100,000 in the budget. Even if you have no budget in mind, or if you have no budget in reality – I need some parameters to base my work-plan.
And Finally – what are your sales goals?
So… you want a million dollars in sales? Great! Me too!
Or… ten million in sales! OK! I’m in! But hey, fact is, your budget should be bold enough to reach this level of sales. Let’s be realistic.
If you have $5,000 in the marketing kitty and you want to reach this ten mil figure, you need a strong dose of reality check from: “It sounded so good last night after a couple of brewskies!” to this morning’s thoughts of “OMG – what was I thinking!” and “I hope my secretary doesn’t tell my wife!” These are just the first few questions of the morning after a late night “Marketing” meeting. Or… is that just me?
I know I said there are 63 marketing audit questions but every time I read this list I think of a few more and write them down, hopefully making this article a little more comprehensive. And while it throws a wrench in the count… the extra questions may just be a good thing.
The fact is: if you have an answer to all these marketing audit questions I’d say you have a pretty good idea of your product and your market. Knowing the answers – and the questions – will determine if you see your areas of marketing strengths and weaknesses clearly. I don’t have to ask these questions to you directly… although it would be interesting to discuss the answers – it would undoubtedly help you a tremendous amount – and I’d get to charge you for the marketing audit! You can ask them to your self, and to people in your marketing people. Let me know how that goes over.
Just as these marketing questions allow me to explore what I need to know to help you make your marketing more effective – you can use these questions to do that for yourself as well!
From this list of marketing questions I try figure out a marketing plan in greater depth and give clients more options – to see if I can enhance their marketing to make it better, easier, more efficient and still lower their marketing costs.
The marketing audit questions reveal a lot of information in just the 1,142 words found in this article. I can learn an insane amount about your marketing in 1,142 words. You can learn an incredible amount about your marketing in just 1,142 words.
The Marketing Questions Audit was written by Jeffrey Dobkin… in 17 hours and 22 minutes over a period of 9 days. In case you were wondering if he dashed it out in 20 minutes, he didn’t.
Dobkin has written 5 books on marketing, and two books on humor. His books took a lot longer to write than this article, and show you a lot more intense marketing information. He’s a practicing general marketer with subspecialties in writing, marketing communication, direct marketing and direct mail copywriting.
His books contain explicit, in-depth How-To information about offline marketing, direct mail, PR, and direct marketing. His books are written in his own brilliant conversational style with a strong emphasis on “How-To” successful direct marketing methods, and always include a few typos — like his web content — to satisfy the picky bastards out there who like to point to his stuff and make nasty comments about his lousy spelling and poor proofing. Book titles include “How To Market a Product for Under $500”, “Uncommon Marketing Techniques”, and “Direct Marketing Strategies” to name just a few. Please buy his books, he needs the money. Just kidding – you don’t have to buy his books. Just send the money.
Dobkin is the President of The Danielle Adams Publishing Company and can be reached at 610-642-1000. Visit him at www.jeffreydobkin.com. Oh, wait… you’re already here! Or (email him) at jeff at dobkin dot com. Thanks for reading this article – your comments are most welcome. Well, the good ones, anyhow.