6min read

Why a Discovery-First Approach to Marketing Wins, Every Time

by Article by Jenn Villa Jenn Villa | January 23, 2019 at 9:19 AM

Okay, you finally admit it. Your team has their hands full, and you need some help promoting your brand. Now’s the hard part: choosing the right marketing company.

You do a Google search for some insights on hiring a digital agency and start your hunt. But it’s hard to weed through your options!

Wouldn’t it be rad to test-drive an agency, like you would a car? To see how they can drive your marketing down the path to success, before you sign any paperwork?

That’s exactly what a discovery-first approach is like— and we’re here dangling the keys, ready to show you how a confident agency takes the wheel.


Other Marketing Approaches Versus a Discovery-First Approach

Many marketing agencies advertise big results, but it’s up to you to take a leap of faith and trust them with your brand— without knowing they can deliver on their promises. Oftentimes too without clear understanding of your actual problems or needs.

They’ll likely also force you into a three, six or twelve month contract (with a hefty penalty for early termination), convincing you they need time to form a strategy. Unfortunately, many marketers won’t detail what they’re actually doing, giving some vague breakdown of costs like “pay-per-click ad management” or “website design.”

But what are the actionable tactics here and how do they align with a long-term strategy and objectives?


They’ll tell you that you’ll have to wait a full quarter or two before expecting results. Then, you’re forced to sit back and idly wait.

This ass-backwards way of thinking is the exact opposite of the approach you want for your marketing.

A discovery-first, or marketing audit-first, approach is just like it sounds: the idea of running an audit, or assessing performance of marketing channels, before committing to help from a marketing team.

What Exactly Does an Audit-First Approach Get Me?

An audit-first approach involves an extensive deep-dive into your current marketing efforts, right away.

It’s like a teacher grading your work, with feedback for improvements. You’re involved in the process and given the insights needed to make the improvements on your own, should you wish. The audit is an exchange of knowledge, not actual fixes.

This matters a lot, because if an agency’s audit sucks, you know there’s a high likelihood their marketing help will suck. Meaning, you didn’t waste six months and a lot of money on a sucky “partnership.”

A proper screening of your marketing practices will reveal your issues early, and include a real plan (driven by data and outlining specific tactics) for making improvements— BEFORE any hands are shaken and contracts are signed.


Why You Should Have a Audit Before Choosing a Marketing Agency

Let’s look at why it’s important for your company to run a marketing audit before choosing an agency to handle your brand or help you reach your goals.

1. A marketing audit reveals your weaknesses, right away, without guessing.

You’re no dummy. You already know a lot of your brand’s weaknesses. People aren’t converting on your website. Your paid ads aren’t getting any clicks. Your logo was due for a redesign five years ago.

But sometimes you’re so involved on deck that you can’t see the holes sinking your ship from below. An audit conducted by a keen, third-party agency isn’t going to be biased. It’s like a laser screening of all parts of your marketing or sales operations, helping you to identify what’s slowing you down.

Perhaps a keyword ranking evaluation reveals you’re only appearing on page one of Google for five search terms. Or, heat map tracking on your website captures the reason people are bouncing off your software page.

All these factors are outlined from square one in your marketing audit.

2. Results determine your tactics and budget so you’re not paying a vague, flat fee.

Some marketing companies will slap a flat rate on you for all marketing services. While a holistic approach sounds great in theory, why are you paying for things you don’t need help with?

A marketing audit uses research upfront to justify a cost. It’ll outline exactly where you need to allocate your budget. Plus, it’ll give you a more accurate breakdown of rates for specific tactics, pushing your towards achieving defined SMART goals.

Best of all, this is done in the beginning, without any surprises meant to upsell you along the way.

3. A marketing audit helps you make decisions based on data.

At the end of your audit, you should have a goldmine of data specific to your site and marketing efforts. Recommendations for fixes aren’t based on guessing games— they’re driven by proof.

A marketer will utilize your Google Analytics, reports from various softwares and more to outline problem areas and determine how they align with your objectives. Then, they’ll formulate tactics to move the needle based on these findings.

The data uncovered in the audit will be the essential for tracking improvements along the way too.

4. You get to know the team (and see if you even like or trust them).

Audits typically last anywhere from two to four weeks. During this time, you’re likely to interact with the team, and hopefully start to get to know them on a personal level. Or, at the very least, have an open discussion with them when they present their findings.

During this time, you can see if they actually walk the walk and not just talk the talk! Consider what Forbes calls, “The Bed-and-Breakfast Test.” If you were driving and got stranded, would you be willing to spend time alone with the people you’re considering to manage your marketing?

If you don’t feel a connection with the team, or even like them as people, you’ll discover this over the course of the audit process, before you entrust them with your brand.

5. You walk away with clear next steps.

After reviewing your current marketing practices, an expert will offer recommendations for improvement— as mentioned, that are driven by data. Now you know exactly what your areas of weakness are and how to move forward with confidence.

The Fast-Track to Results

A properly outlined marketing audit can expose your brand’s weaknesses and help you get on the fast-track to choosing the right team to solve your problems.

How do you know if you’ve found the right marketing agency? Here’s what you should expect within the first year of working with an outsourced team.

Ready to have your marketing assessed? Here at Impulse Creative, we offer a four- week audit, where we meet to understand your goals and objectives, then analyze your current ranking keywords and other performance metrics, personas, competitors and more.

No obligation to commit, just some good, ol’ convincing with kickass results. (and a few cold beers). A friendly assessment is only a video call away! Schedule an appointment with someone from our team, today.

Request a Marketing Assessment