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Marketing audits can pinpoint problem areas.

If your marketing program has the blahs and needs stimulation, a marketing audit may be just the answer to getting things moving. And its real value may not emerge until some considerable time.

Frequently, the audit serves as a catalyst to start management dialogue as to where the foundry's marketing program should be going and how to make sure it stays on the right track.

The marketing audit is simply a systematic and comprehensive review and evaluation of your marketing performance. What you are attempting to objectively appraise is your marketing organization, personnel, and the plans you are employing to implement marketing policies and achieve your marketing objectives.

To be thorough, the audit must cover these key elements: goals, policies, performance, organization, personnel and procedures.

These types of audits may take considerable time and can be moderately expensive. But they will provide a valuable-and perhaps even disturbing perspective of your foundry's marketing performance. Rewards can be great. An audit can enable your management to identify its problem areas in marketing and, by reviewing policies and strategies, will help to better keep abreast of the rapidly changing economic environment our industry faces.

Successes can be analyzed to capitalize on marketing strengths. Conversely, the audit can spot such weaknesses in your marketing program as inadequate resources, lack of coordination, outdated strategies or unrealistic goals.

With a properly done audit, you are much more apt to correctly assign responsibility for good or poor performance. Also, the marketing audit will help you to anticipate situations. So, it will be useful for prognosis as well as diagnosis, and thus can be considered preventive as well as curative marketing medicine. Most every foundry management has the ability to handle marketing problems if it is aware of them soon enough.

Periodic Reviews

Many top managers fall short, though, by adopting the Persian Messenger Syndrome (PMS), where the bearer of bad tidings was beheaded by the king. In marketing, we really should reward the guy with the bad news so we have time to take corrective action.

To avoid the dreaded PMS, management must not only conduct periodic program reviews, but must also be willing to accept the objective results of marketing audits. And these audits are incomplete unless they go well beyond an appraisal of the normal control system. In addition to asking, "Are we doing things right?", management must extend the question to, "Are we also doing the right things?'

Such periodic review, criticism and self-analysis are essential to the health and- vitality of any organization. They are particularly critical to a function as diverse and dynamic as marketing. These audits are especially valuable in pointing out areas in which management perceptions may differ sharply from reality.

Who should do the audit? Ideally, it should be handled by a consultant or someone else on the outside who can bring complete objectivity and an independent viewpoint to the evaluation. Consultants also are experienced in this area and can probably offer the most up-to-date auditing methodology.

If not an outside consultant, then the next best choice would be a marketing audit team of perhaps two or three members of your staff, who could arrive at a consensus opinion without too much bloodletting. The least desirable situation would be to have the evaluation done by the boss or the marketing manager, both of whom are much too close to the situation to be objective.

Audit methods are probably as diverse as the people who handle them. in some cases, informal procedures are fine. In others, elaborate checklists, questionnaires, profiles, tests and other research techniques are employed.

Probably the best approach is somewhere between these two extremes. Regardless of what methods are used, the marketing audit should generally cover the following bases:

* top management and the auditor

must agree on the audit's scope and

objectives;

* a framework for the audit should be

developed that includes studying your

foundry's external environment, understanding

your marketing plan and

its objectives, and examining all major

marketing activities in some detail;

* preparing an audit report with conclusions

and recommendations;

* presenting the report to management in a

way that will lead to constructive action.

If your sales volume and profit performance are not what you think they should be, now might be a good time to take a closer look at the effectiveness of your marketing effort by conducting a marketing audit.

For an outline of 31 elements that should be included in your marketing audit, contact the author at 813/947-5073 or write P.O. Box 800, Estero, Florida 33928.
COPYRIGHT 1993 American Foundry Society, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Warden, T. Jerry
Publication:Modern Casting
Date:Feb 1, 1993
Words:755
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