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4 Levels of Marketing Audit: Problems and Solutions (With Examples)

By Ian Chernov
July 26, 2022

At Kaiiax, we repeatedly get requests for a marketing audit from our clients. It’s time to figure out what kind of problem lies behind this request.

What are we doing wrong?

When a client comes to us for a marketing audit, what they’re really looking for is an answer to the question: “What are we doing wrong?”

In fact, a marketing system is multi-layered, just like a delicious cake. There are four different levels (or layers) where companies might be doing something wrong.

You can carry out an audit of both, the whole cake and its separate layers.

Here are these layers.

Procedures (How?) – How else should we do what we are already doing?

Procedures are important in marketing. They make it clear for everyone what they have to do and how to do that in compliance with the rules that govern quality.

What might a company be doing wrong at this level?
  • They might lack some important marketing procedures
  • They might not know how to perform a procedure
  • They might be using outdated checklists or ineffective technology
  • Their procedures might not be well documented

To solve problems at the Procedure-level, companies need to document their procedures and make sure their team adheres to them.

In other words, you need to have brand guidelines, style guides, buyer personas, content quality checklists, editing standards, how-to guides for different activities (eg. “How to write an outline,” “How to perform keyword research”), spreadsheets and templates.

Besides, you need to have control processes in place to make sure these procedures are followed.

Processes (What?) – What aren’t we doing but should?

Processes are the next level over procedures. You can think of processes as molecules, and of procedures as atoms.

Process: “a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.”

Procedure: “an established or official way of doing something.”

Content marketing workflow includes the following processes:

  • Content planning
  • SEO keyword validation and assessment
  • SEO keywords research
  • Content writing (with a sub-process “writing an outline”)
  • Content editing
  • Content approval and sign-off
  • Copy editing
  • Content publishing
  • Content distribution and link building

What might a company be doing wrong at this level?

  • Their workflow might be undefined
  • Their workflow might lack some important steps
  • Their team leaders might not understand the purpose of every process
  • They might not measure KPIs to see if a process has achieved its purpose
  • Their data might be uncontrolled and unmanaged
  • Their processes might have undefined deliverables

Fixing these problems is more difficult than fixing Procedure-level marketing challenges. Very often, Process audit results in the need to audit the next layer in the marketing system – Roles.

Roles (Who?) – Who should do what must be done?

One of the most common problems that we come across during audits, is the level of quality in performing certain processes. Unfortunately, this problem can rarely be solved by upgrading the process itself or establishing well-documented procedures. More often, companies simply lack some important roles and don’t have qualified people to fill them.

For example, to publish high-quality content, you need a content editor and a copy editor. These roles are often absent in content marketing teams.

All in all, let’s see, what might a company be doing wrong at this level?

  • They might lack some important roles and people to fill them
  • Their organization might be siloed (some roles might operate independently and avoid sharing information with others)
  • Their team might not be getting enough feedback and lack motivation
  • Their team might lack leadership, focus, and direction

Challenges at the Role-level can be numerous.

Organization (Why?) – Why do we do what we do and how do we achieve what we want?

The Organization-level includes all the levels we’ve listed above. At this level, companies define their goals and methods for achieving them.

What might a company be doing wrong at this level?

  • They might have unclear business goals
  • They might be missing a marketing strategy
  • They might not know how to organize the work of people

Now let’s list some of the cases that we’ve dealt with.

What should I do if…?

First, we’ll review a couple of extreme cases, or when the problem is much more complex than a company thinks it is.

We have all the roles in our team, but there is no result

Usually, this problem can only be solved at the Organization-level which means it contains all the lower levels. Companies tend to mistakenly seek a solution to this problem in team motivation. They often use a cliche phrase: “Our team is burnt out.

”Instead, they should take a step back and start from scratch by clearly defining their business goals and ways to achieve them.

We do everything that needs to be done, but there is no result

This problem can often be resolved at the Process-level. But not always. If a company assesses the effectiveness of their work with the phrase: “We’re doing our best,” it indicates their team’s unwillingness to follow the process. The reason for that is most likely related to some issues at the Role and Organization-levels.

Now let’s look at a “normal” case or when a problem is much easier to fix.

We have some good results, but we can’t scale

This situation is a normal state of a healthy marketing team. It can typically be resolved at the Role and Process-levels.

There are many more cases, which we refer to as “normal” or easy to fix. In such cases, all we need to do is identify which of the layers needs to be optimized and provide solutions.

When you’re looking for a marketing audit, you need to carefully define a question to which you need an answer.

Finally, here are a few examples of misconceptions from our work, or when a company can’t identify its marketing problem correctly.

Looking in the wrong place

When we hear the following expressions, we can almost infallibly say that a company wants to solve the wrong problem.

All that we need to improve to get the leads is how we collect SEO keywords

A company believed that by correcting a procedure of keyword research, they would solve the problem of lead generation. We did our marketing audit and discovered that their content was of incredibly poor quality, and the company didn’t have anyone responsible for quality on their marketing team.

Obviously, improving keywords research, wouldn’t have solved the problem. In other words, this organization mistakenly thought they had a Procedure-level problem, but in fact, they had a problem at the Role-level.

We don’t do guest posting, that’s why our link building doesn’t bring any results

Here, a company thought they had a Process-level problem without realizing that fixing this one thing in their link-building process wouldn’t lead them to results, but would affect their budget.

This problem could be solved by defining a link-building strategy and roles needed to develop this strategy. In other words, it was a Role-level problem.

Analyze your marketing levels to find a problem

When you feel like your marketing could be improved, start looking for a problem by analyzing how things work at different marketing levels. This will help you get some clarity about what needs to be done to take your marketing to the next level.

Need marketing audit? Let us know!

Send us some information about your project at We’ll be happy to help you!

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