When developing your life science marketing and communications plan, one of the first steps is often to undertake a marketing or brand audit. It’s easy to feel a bit overwhelmed at the outset with the vast array of resources available to help you get a clearer vision of your organisation’s position in the market place and the direction your marketing and communications should take.
Obviously it is vital to gain as much insight as you can, so you can build a strong foundation of knowledge. But before you get yourself buried in SWOT and competitor analyses, your best bet is to start by looking a little closer to home. An internal marketing analysis or brand audit allows you to take a close examination of your current business situation by discussing it with your colleagues and tapping into their perceptions of your products, customers, company and marketplace.
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Defining your objectives
In all likelihood, you have a great selection of experts sitting right in your building, your office, or even at your own desk. Your internal team members and staff have been living and breathing your company, brand and products since they started at the organisation. They’ve had interactions with customers and clients, are up to speed on the company’s activities, its products and services, and are already located close at hand to interrogate for intel. Use them!
As with everything, you need to start your internal audit with clear objectives by defining what it is you want to find out as part of the process. Sit down and create a list of key points you want to cover. These could be quite broad, enquiring about your brand personality, core values and general position in the marketplace. Alternatively, they could be much more specific, asking your internal members about their understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your specific products and services, or probing for how they perceive the relevant goals, needs and challenges of your customers. Questions you might ask yourself and your team include:
- Has senior management articulated a clear marketing strategy for achieving its marketing objectives?
- What are the features and benefits of your offering (are they still accurate and relevant to the needs of your customers)?
- What makes you different compared to the competition?
- Has the current marketing mix helped you achieve your objectives?
- Have you targeted and segmented your audiences correctly?
- Are your buyer personas still relevant?
- Has your communication plan generated its objectives?
- What communications have been most effective?
- What could you do better?
Qualitative vs quantitative analysis
When carrying out an internal marketing audit, we recommend generating robust data that can be quantified, combined with in-depth questioning through interviews or focus groups to drill down on particular points of interest. However, the effectiveness of quantitative research is dependent upon the size of your company. If your analysis is based on n = 5, you may not get the significant result you were hoping for! In which case a more qualitative approach, using one-to-one interviews or group workshops is a great starting place.
Don’t take it personally
You’re going to have to face the fact that conducting an internal audit may yield results that might not make you (or your senior management team) particularly happy. Perhaps people think certain aspects of your services are lacking, or that that you’re not differentiated sufficiently from the competition. Rather than taking these criticisms to heart, use them as key targets to focus on and improve!
A quick way to get started with an internal audit [free template]
To help you get started, we've developed a simple template questionnaire for you to share with your team. Using it, you can collect their take on the benefits offered by your company's products and services and how you can truly meet the needs of your customers. It's designed to take only 5 to 10 minutes for your team to answer, so everyone has the time to get involved. The info you collect will allow you to see how aligned your team are, as well as to quickly and easily start improving your communications strategy (download your free template here).
An internal audit as part of building a full marketing plan
An internal brand audit is a fantastic way to quickly establish a base of knowledge and highlight any areas that you need to tackle and remedy immediately. For a more in depth look at how an internal audit can be an essential part of developing your overall marketing plans, download our free ebook: ‘Your 7 Stage Guide to Developing an Effective Life Science Marketing & Communications Plan’.