How does your financial institution measure the effectiveness of its marketing strategy? Perhaps the better question to ask is does your financial institution measure how its marketing is performing?

If you think about everything that gets measured in your organization – loan growth, deposit growth, branch profitability, etc. –  you have to wonder why marketing gets left out of the fold so often. Most organizations make a significant investment in their marketing efforts. Shouldn’t they know if that investment is paying off? If you’re not evaluating the effectiveness of your organization’s marketing function, you really should consider a marketing audit.

Don’t let the term audit keeping your from reading further. This is not a financial audit. A marketing audit is a comprehensive tool which evaluates every aspect of your marketing function. It reviews marketing technique and collateral. It evaluates how well the marketing plan is aligned with organizational goals. It analyzes marketing processes and return on investment. It helps pinpoint which skills your team excels at and which skills may need more development. When conducted correctly by an external source, it has the power to improve your entire organization.

“From an organizational standpoint, marketing permeates our strategic plan now,” said Rob Taylor, CEO of Western Sun FCU. On the Mark Strategies conducted a marketing audit at his credit union in 2013.

“I actually developed some different strategies we need to focus on, like targeting specific age groups and targeting different credit levels with our risk-based lending program. Of course, communication between myself and our marketing vice president is so much better. I would have never done any of that without the marketing audit.”

That alone is worth going through the audit process, but it isn’t the only reason. Here are five reasons to consider a marketing audit this year.

1. Establish Accountability
If something in your marketing strategy is not working, or a member of your marketing team is not productive for whatever reason, your marketing performance will take a hit. You cannot have performance improvement without accountability. If your organization is not performing, it’s either moving backward or embracing status quo. A marketing audit is like a GPS. It puts you back on track if you move in the wrong direction.

2. Strengthen Your Brand
Your brand is everything your financial institution stands for. An effective marketing auditor shops the financial institution it is auditing. He assesses the marketing collateral in the branches, takes note of how you display collateral and inquires about products and services. That type of feedback is valuable to marketing the true member or customer experience.

Find the other three reasons to consider an audit in the February 2014 issue of my e-newsletter. You’ll also find a financial institution’s marketing audit success story.