The universal digital marketing audit – Velocity Partners

The universal digital marketing audit - Velocity Partners

When I recently stumbled upon Jon Miller’s insights on his new B2B Growth Playbook, I found myself nodding in agreement. If you haven’t come across it yet, it’s an insightful framework that challenges the outdated strategies we B2B marketers have relied on to spur growth over the last decade. Jon’s views struck a chord with me. Not only because his proposed methodology mirrors almost perfectly our approach at Velocity when crafting digital marketing audits and blueprints (more on this later) but also because it echoed a feeling we’ve had for a while with our own clients. Coincidentally, we recently explored this very topic in this blog post. Something is shifting in the realm of B2B marketing It’s hard to put your finger on it just yet, but it’s there, quietly brewing beneath the surface. Perhaps it’s the lingering disillusionment with data-driven marketing, once celebrated as the most groundbreaking trend since I started my journey in B2B marketing 15 years ago but now facing scrutiny ( ”Why are my leads not converting ?!” ). Or maybe it’s the rapid, mind-boggling, pace at which AI is reshaping our industry. The tech sector’s post-pandemic downturn and apparent recovery add another layer of complexity, contributing to what feels like a perfect storm of change to come. Things are about to get real. The exact shape of this new digital marketing era is yet to be defined. But one thing is clear: The importance of revisiting the fundamentals that underpin truly exceptional marketing has never been more important. In a landscape where marketing teams are grappling with cutting-edge concepts like generative AI, new search engines and LLM-driven content personalisation, those who fail to get the basics right will find themselves at a significant disadvantage. Very soon. For the seasoned digital marketer, the foundations I mention may not seem particularly groundbreaking. However, for those of us deeply immersed in the day-to-day realities of managing B2B marketing audits & campaigns, the nuances between theory and practice are as profound as the gap between your MQL and SQL conversion rate (ouch). I’m talking about mapping out your baselines to establish your team’s goals and priorities. Aligning those goals with the best channels and KPIs. Effectively running always-on, full-funnel campaigns. Understanding the role of each paid media channel in your GTM strategy. Honing SEO skills. Getting your cost per lead under control. Making that Looker Studio dashboard pull in the right data in real-time so you can go back and optimize what’s underperforming. These topics are staple chatter around the marketing department’s water cooler or Zoom call. But despite their fundamental nature, they are also often undermined by the complexity of platforms and data sets, bloated tech stacks, poor lead conversion and outdated problems that have lingered for over a decade. To me, defining the new B2B growth playbook sounds a lot like going back to basics. Meaning, Metrics and Mojo. Being great at the basics. Excelling at the fundamentals to prepare ourselves for the more complex challenges ahead. So. Let me unpack the practicalities of how we guide clients through this process. Enter The B2B Marketing Audit Our initial step in any digital marketing audit is understanding where we stand. We call this the Audit Phase: Hardcore deep-dive fact-finding. This isn’t just a glance at what brands are up to with their marketing and sales efforts; it’s a thorough examination, season-one True-Detective-style delving deep into the nitty-gritty details of things. Our approach here is multidisciplinary, diving deep into brand messaging, creative and performance elements. We bring together thoughts and ideas from folks on the client’s side, all backed up by rigorous data analysis which involves scrutinizing SEO metrics, delving into GA4 analytics, exploring HubSpot databases, reviewing past campaign performance and checking out what our competitors are up to. To streamline this audit process and zero in on the essential details, we create tailored marketing performance questionnaires. These are designed to guide these initial conversations and extract the specific information we need to shape our upcoming strategy. They look like this. Here are just some example areas we explore at the audit stage: Search How are people searching for and discovering topics or solutions related to this client? How do competitors perform in areas we aim to target (and avoid) with our existing or new content? Where can we identify clusters of search to locate our high-intent prospects? Paid Media How have historical campaigns performed, including PPC, Paid Social, or Programmatic Advertising? What recommendations can be made to improve technical setups or optimize existing campaigns? How do we define target audiences and determine where to find them? Web How effectively is this brand’s website configured to support the envisioned campaign type and user journeys? Do we have a data layer on the back of the site that will allow us to identify the web baselines that will evolve into KPI reporting? How well are we equipped to report on the content and campaigns we plan to create, and what adjustments are necessary? Marketing Operations How can we examine essential data capture workflows, such as forms and field mapping? In what ways can we analyse CRM databases to assess their alignment with the company’s ICP? What approach should we take to evaluate the current lead management system and suggest any required enhancements? How do we review creative templates for key assets, including landing pages or emails? Sales & Marketing Alignment How are leads currently handed over to Sales? Is there a Service Level Agreement in place between Sales and Marketing? What is the mutual definition of a “good lead” for both Sales and Marketing teams? Can we map out the entire funnel, detailing the owners and their responsibilities? How do we identify gaps for improved collaboration, documentation of processes, and the development of sales enablement materials? Messaging & Content How can we delineate the structure of this company’s content library? How do we identify prevalent themes, topics, and formats within the content library, and how can we augment this with SEO and web analytics to assess quality versus quantity? What criteria should we use to evaluate which content pieces are potential candidates for updates to align with the program’s vision and messaging? How do we pinpoint the best-performing content, considering both engagement and commercial outcomes (e.g., top content for driving traffic versus generating leads)? Moving from data to conclusions What’s the payoff of this exhaustive audit? Simply presenting pages upon pages of data and findings would not be particularly useful to anyone. So a crucial task is to distill and rationalize this information, searching for the underlying trends. By the end, once every team expert from each field has pooled their insights, the job is synthesizing all this often disparate data into a coherent whole that can serve a specific purpose. The result is a comprehensive, practical overview that translates those fragmented data sets and platforms (e.g. your paid media accounts, your website analytics, your CRM or your SEO performance) into insights, questions and hypotheses to build upon with our new strategy. This process doesn’t just shed light on the current state of affairs and underlying issues. It also sets the stage for us to establish baselines (we are quite particular about our baselines at Velocity) for future performance and develop hypotheses for how to address existing gaps. Take a couple of examples: Say this company doesn’t have a paid search campaign live for branded terms, but we can see that they’re in a competitive space, with multiple competitors bidding on their name. This might be a sign to consider building a branded campaign separately, monitoring CTRs from SERPs to see the impact of such a tactic. Or maybe the company is suffering from a lead quality issue, where only a small percentage of marketing leads are making it to the later stages of their funnel. This might point us to evaluating different aspects of their lead qualification process, such as their scoring model, lead assignment process or Marketing & Sales alignment. There are countless other examples of insights and questions that can be uncovered through a digital marketing audit, but the key principle is to establish those connections and patterns between platforms early on. This gives us the raw material to build upon as we craft the plan: Why does it matter that your bounce is above 55%? → Let’s dive deeper into page-level analytics to identify which pages are underperforming and why. Should we consider A/B testing different content approaches or refining the user experience to keep visitors engaged longer? Why should you care that your site visibility is way below your competitors’? → Let’s analyse our competitors’ content more deeply and look into gaps in your approach. How do we increase the quality and relevance of our content or optimize our site structure and backlink profile? Why are only 2% of our LinkedIn Ads leads making it to the MQL stage of our funnel? → This suggests a disconnect between the ad content and our audience’s expectations. Do we need to review our buyer personas to refine our targeting? Let’s experiment with different ad formats, messaging, and landing pages. You get the point. A comment we frequently hear from clients at this point is the immense value of having all information meticulously documented for straightforward reference. Perhaps unsurprisingly, internal teams are quite often in the dark about the activities and insights of their peers in different departments. So having a neutral party like your beloved agency connect these dots and systematically organize those information silos proves to be exceptionally useful. Drafting the master plan With a wealth of data in hand and hypotheses ready for exploration, the stage is set for the real ‘heavy lifting’ in this process – writing the plan. Each blueprint at Velocity springs to life under the guidance of a marketing campaign strategist and a team of specialists. The strategist charts the course for the blueprint, in close partnership with a dedicated team of account and project managers whose role is essential in orchestrating the collaboration among individual experts and contributors to the plan. Here are the essential elements every blueprint should address (if you read Jon Miller’s post at the beginning, you’ll spot the similarities with our process): Context: The campaign brief, shaped by our audit and research phase. Goals and KPIs: Our objectives and the criteria for success. Audience: Our target demographic and their defining characteristics. Creative Platform: The messaging strategy to address audience issues and the necessary content. Channels: Where to engage our audience and the strategy for each tactic. Alignment: Necessary improvements in other areas, like sales and marketing alignment, impacting the campaign. Technical Considerations: Technical adjustments or implementations required. Reporting: The mechanisms to track effectiveness based on defined KPIs. Next Steps and Owners: Clarifying ownership and detailing the next actions for all team members. The real challenge of any blueprint, and perhaps the most critical aspect, is ensuring cohesion throughout the plan so that every piece of the puzzle, whether that’s aligning web analytics to SEO projections or lead generation goals to the right Paid Media budget, not only fits seamlessly into place but provides value to the whole of the plan. Why Blueprints are the central hub of our strategies We see campaign blueprints as our go-to-market guidebooks. Think of a blueprint as a detailed manual that compiles all the insights and inputs from various specialists—from creative directors and SEO experts to paid media strategists and analytics pros, creating a cohesive plan everyone signs off and is happy to follow. It’s like having a roadmap that answers all your questions about the campaign at hand. Need to review the challenges and demographics that define the campaign’s audience? It’s all there, in the blueprint, clear as day. Need the nitty-gritty on our paid media approach, budget and forecast? Look no further–that’s in the blueprint, too. But what about the keywords our writers need for crafting those engaging blog posts? You’ve probably guessed it–they’re all neatly laid out, practically jumping off the page, in the blueprint. The beauty of a Velocity blueprint lies in its depth. They act as a prism, transforming abstract concepts into a concrete, actionable marketing plan. Without a blueprint, you might find yourself with just a (likely impressive) sketch of ideas that may or may not be ready for execution. To learn more about Velocity blueprints, look out for our full blueprint workbook coming soon. Enjoyed this article? Take part in the discussion

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