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2021 Marketing Audit Checklist

How to Conduct an Annual Marketing Audit and Set Your Team Up for Success This Year


New year, new you! Even if you have a finely-tuned marketing machine humming along, the new calendar year is a great excuse to step back and take stock of what’s working and what could use some attention. Here’s the checklist we use whenever we’re kicking off a deep dive with a new client.

Image of the sun going down

If you have an existing marketing effort in place, grab a couple of your more senior teammates and some caffeine, head to the biggest whiteboard you can find, and triage the list: what is working fine, what needs attention, and what’s on fire. Be as objective as you can about what your team does really well and what it doesn’t. This triaged list can help you prioritize any additions you’re going to make to your 2021 plans.

If you’re one of the many marketers who used the new year as an excuse to find a new job, this is a great checklist to help you get up to speed on your new role. It can be a great starting point for conversations with your new teammates and company leaders.

Every company’s priority list will be different, but when it comes to executing, we generally recommend starting at the top of this list and working down. Once you’ve gone through this audit, if you need help tackling the (frequently) overwhelming results, schedule time with Wheels Up. We’ll review it with you and help come up with a plan to put out the fires and tackle the work you need to do now to make sure your 2022 audit looks great.

2021 Marketing Audit Checklist

1. Unblock Sales:

What are there things you can fix quickly that will unstick sales?

  • Pitch decks

  • Competitive intel

  • Customer evidence

  • Bottom of the Funnel assets (data sheets, etc)

  • Quick win campaigns

2. Take Inventory of the Current State:

What do you have already?

  • Audit of CRM, marketing technology, website, content matrix (where do you have missing content and is it on your editorial calendar to create?), collateral library, sales enablement materials, social channels, past campaigns & initiatives

  • High level win & loss analysis - what are the deals you want to replicate and what went wrong with the ones that you lost?

  • Get to know the success stories - who are you poster customers?

  • Review your essential marketing infrastructure pieces: Messaging & Positioning Framework, Personas, Buyer’s Journey, and Customer Lifecycle - are they complete? Still accurate?

3. Review the Demand Generation Infrastructure:

Are you set up to execute on your demand gen numbers? Sales can’t close leads they don’t have, and if your organization assigns demand generation to marketing, you need to make sure you have a reverse waterfall in place to dictate your campaign calendar and lead acquisition targets.

  • Do you know how many leads you need throughout each stage of the funnel for sales to reach their target? Are you able to anticipate with some accuracy the results of your campaigns? If not, what technology and data do you need to do so?

  • Do you have a defined sales funnel? Do you have an efficient lead flow model? Where is the funnel sticky and leaky?

  • Do you have a CRM that can support the forecast sales capacity? If not, what technology changes need to be implemented?

  • Are there any new marketing automation requirements that still need attention?

  • What’s your database health? Do you have a contactable database sufficient to hit your demand generation goals?

  • Does Sales have all the enablement assets they need to do their job?

4. Check in on the Market:

You don’t need to do a full blown SWOT analysis, but take time to make sure you understand your competitive landscape. Also talk about your market - have your customers changed? Have their needs changed? Any changes to the ecosystem, like new industry associations or events, influencers or SMEs you might want to engage? Does your SEO strategy still align with market trends?

5. Ensure Robust Reporting:

What reporting infrastructure do you have in place? Is it set up to give you the data you need to do your job in 2021? Is it set up to tell a complete story to your stakeholders – all the way up to senior leadership? Is reporting in place to build credibility in your marketing organization, and ensure that marketing is viewed as a revenue-generator, not a cost center?

6. Knock Off Low Hanging Fruit:

What’s been hanging out on the to-do list for way too long? Take a hard look at the list and prioritize against the rest of this list. Set aside time and people to just get it done. Going forward consider adding “GSD” (get stuff / your favorite S-expletive done) day(s) built into your quarterly workflows so you have time set aside to all focus on clearing the backlog.

7. Review/Update the Marketing Roadmap:

Once you’ve had a chance to work through this audit and compile your triage, put your money where your mouth is and figure out how you’re going to reconcile some of these issues. The fastest way to make this exercise a complete waste of time is to leave the room without an action plan for what you’re going to do with the information. Push hard for this - it’s really easy to be exhausted by the end of the exercise and say you’ll reconvene to make an action plan. Or that you’ll work on the action plan offline, individually. (Spoiler: it won’t get done.)

If you don’t have a formal Marketing Roadmap, this is a great way to get one started. Schedule out your Audit to-do list along with the campaigns, content, events, launches, etc that you know are coming, and you’ve got a great start. Not only will it help you prioritize and execute, but it’ll build goodwill with cross functional leadership if you can show that you have a solid plan to turn your budget into revenue.

If you need a hand, reach out. We'd love to help.

Good luck!

Free Marketing Audit Checklist Template


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