The Operational Audit You Should Run At Least 1x AnnuallyAug 06, 2023
The word audit gives everyone the shakes. But audits are a great thing that shouldn't be feared, especially if you're doing your proper due diligence of creating a work culture in which it's okay to recognize and correct mistakes.
At least one time annually, take a look at these key pieces of your operational foundation to understand how audiences are experiencing your brand and its infrastructure.
Your Vendor Contracts
Every time I look at a client's full set of vendor contracts, I find at least one area that needs to be tweaked. I recommend collecting all of the contracts you can from across your organization (which is a tall ask) and looking specifically at responsibilities and purchases allocated across marketing, communications, tech stack, and fundraising vendors. Within the same spreadsheet, note at least these elements: Vendor responsibilities, contract start and end dates, and total spend. You're likely to find areas of responsibility overlap, places where test contracts could be expanded, or room to negotiate your expenditures.
Diving into media contracts is a beast onto its own that I'm happy to chat about, but at very least during this audit, look specifically at whether you're being charged commission on media spend, because this is an area that can be optimized.
Your Cross-Channel Onboarding Series
In scope in this bullet are: your email welcome series (including your thanks for signing up or converting autoresponders), your direct mail series, your SMS text welcome series, and -- most important of all -- the intersection of all of these channels. Within this you're checking for:
- Logistics (is your audience getting it on-time and as expected? Is the cadence correct?)
- Your query logic (is everyone you expect to receive it actually doing so? Are you properly holding that audience out of your regular email comms so you're not overloading them?)
- Your content (does the content they're receiving properly introduce them to your brand based on their point of acquisition)
- Your ask strategy (are the KPIs and calls to action within this vital set of comms in line with what you really need to see from audiences?). While there's both an art and a science to getting your welcome series right -- given that half of the objective is to get new audiences to click and therefore ensure your deliverability score remains high -- you want to make sure what you're asking of newly engaged audiences matches what you need from them.
Your Tech Integrations Map
If you don't already have a solid understanding of how your tech stack is or isn't working together, put that on your priorities list. You'll find that this is a place ripe for optimization -- I wrote a whole blog post about opportunities.
Audit what your map looks like at least once a year to ensure you're adding new elements and looking at opportunities to improve. I recommend doing some quarterly reporting that looks at the average experience of an audience member at a persona level to get a full view of what's working and not.
When you're ready, I can help you run these analyses and set up the infrastructure for ongoing support:
>> Book 1:1 help to formulate your action plan or discuss a strategic objective.
>> Contact me about ongoing support with financial projections, board relationships, blended investment planning, and more.