5 steps for a successful marketing materials audit

If your department is undertaking a wide-sweeping marketing materials audit to identify stale messages and outdated figures, or if your firm is taking its marketing initiatives in a more digital direction, this five-step process will help you lead your team through this seemingly complicated process.

Step 1: Setting your auditing goals

Before jumping into writing and design, before you even begin hunting down all of your firm’s old marketing materials, we recommend that you clearly define your goals. Why are you conducting the audit? How will the audit help your marketing initiatives going forward? Typical answers are:

  • “We want our marketing materials to be relevant and have a longer life.”
  • “We want to lower our long-term marketing costs via fewer refreshes and fewer print runs.”
  • “We want our marketing materials to be read by a wider audience.”
  • “We want to engage our clients and prospects in new ways.”

Step 2: Create a content map

Now that you’ve clearly defined your goals, it’s time to categorize and reprioritize your marketing materials.

Start by using the goals that you defined in Step 1 to determine your grouping methodology. Ways that are more traditional include grouping your materials by product or campaign. Lately, however, we’ve seen a shift to grouping materials demographically or by life stage. For example, if you are trying to target millennials, you would list in a spreadsheet all the materials that apply to this cohort.

If you group materials demographically, you’ll find that many of them apply to savers and investors at different life stages. Make sure these materials end up in both buckets. Why? When you rethink formats in Step 3, you may decide to deliver similar content in radically different formats depending on who you’re engaging.

If you have analytics, think about refreshing your most used materials first.

Step 3: Rethink formats

If you’re reading this in 2016, there’s a good chance the majority of the materials that you’re auditing are print brochures. And there’s an even better chance that your firm wants to take many of them in new digital directions. A marketing materials audit is the ideal time to have these discussions.

While you may simply update these brochures, keep in mind that infographics, microsites and online articles are all great ideas because they are engaging, sharable and easy to update, all of which deliver on the goals outlined in Step 1.

Step 4: Audit your resources

Is your team big enough to handle the updates and fill in the gaps that you identified? If the wide-ranging scope of a marketing materials audit seems too large, complex or time consuming, think about hiring a strategic content partner who can help create a strategy for your refreshed content.

If you need additional resources, make sure that your content partner has the product and industry knowledge to effectively round out your team.

Step 5: Production

Now that you know what marketing materials you have and which ones you want to refresh, it’s time for your writers, designers and developers to get to work. Coordinating your resources is time consuming. But clear timelines and focused work – that is, strategically working through your list without running too many refreshes at once – will help your team deliver great results.

Next steps

Although a marketing materials audit will create some challenges, especially as your typical day-to-day responsibilities aren’t going anywhere, following these five steps will ensure that this challenging and exciting initiative goes more smoothly.

If you want to read more about auditing your marketing materials, read our post on how to better align your materials with your sales team.

Does it sound like it’s time for a marketing materials audit? Contact us at 416.925.1700, 844.243.1830 or info@ext-marketing.com.

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Writing for investors? Avoid industry jargon

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