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Market Research 101: What Are Marketing Audits?

And we’re back with Market Research 101! High schools may be just starting the new school year but you’ve been attending our Summer Session for over a month now; you learned about customer intercepts, panel surveys, focus groups, and even shop alongs! There is no rest for the market research nerds, none we say!

This week, we are looking at marketing audits, a hybrid of compliance audits and mystery shops that aim to give businesses boots (and eyes) on the ground to ensure their marketing campaigns are accurately and effectively executed.

So, let’s keep this market research momentum going and learn all there is to learn about marketing audits.

What Are Marketing Audits?

Marketing audits are a market research methodology that allow businesses to ensure their marketing visions are being executed and optimized across all locations.

In a marketing audit, a Field Agent is sent to a store or business to execute measurements, check for particular signage, and take photographs documenting existing marketing materials. Generally executed as a revealed audit, the Field Agent locates a manager on duty, produces a letter from the corporate office granting permission for the audit, and then executes it in-store with the full knowledge of the staff.

Sometimes these audits are conducted unrevealed, meaning the Field Agent attempts to surreptitiously photograph the location, but this is not best practices.

Why Are Marketing Audits Important for Marketing and Advertising Campaigns?

The best envisioned marketing campaign can only ever be as good as its execution. This is a fact of the marketing and advertising business, both for specialized firms and for the in-house marketing teams at some of the biggest businesses in the world.

But in businesses with many locations spread across the country, getting the boots on the ground to ensure that each and every location has properly carried out the marketing campaign is nearly impossible. That’s where marketing audits come in, helping businesses ensure:

  • Locations use the correct signage in the correct location
  • The marketing materials are clean, undamaged, and professional
  • Food boards, menus, and in-store technology are all accurate and in proper working order

marketing audit market research drive thru menu

Who Uses Marketing Audits?

Marketing audits are useful to several different types of businesses for multiple purposes.

  • Marketing and Advertising Firms: Ensure that your creative visions are executed in-field as you intended. What good is the best marketing materials if they are not properly and consistently displayed from location to location. Think of marketing audits as insurance—if a campaign does not produce the intended ROI, marketing firms could take the blame. By running marketing audits, they can be certain their campaign was carried out as they intended…and have documentation if it was not.
  • Food Service: In food service, the franchise model often prevails, a loose confederation of owners essentially renting out banners, branding, and oftentimes burgers. Marketing audits allow businesses to check in on their franchisees, making sure they are in lockstep when it comes to current marketing and advertising materials.
  • Food Service, Convenience Store, Grocery, and other Retailers can also use marketing audits to develop a database documenting the unique size, dimensions, and local ordinances operating at each franchised location. Tailoring marketing materials for particular locations adds efficiency specificity to marketing campaigns, optimizing them at the individual store level.

How TrendSource Does Marketing Audits

As in many of its market research products and services, TrendSource leans on its best-in-class Field Agent network to ensure 100% coverage and completion 100% of the time, regardless of how many locations need auditing and how spread apart they may be.

TrendSource also leverages its 25+ years experience executing in-store audits to ensure a marketing audit addresses each and every question your business has. That’s why TrendSource custom builds each and every marketing audit, we want to answer your most pressing questions but also help you think about the ones you aren’t even asking yet.

That’s how TrendSource does marketing audits; go ahead, audit us.

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