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Auditing digital marketing for a business

Author's avatar By Alexander Clark 09 Jan, 2017
Essential Essential topic

How does your business compare with others for digital marketing capability to Plan, Reach, Act, Convert and Engage?

Since we introduced our free interactive benchmarking tool to audit digital marketing for Smart Insights members in September 2015, we've expanded it from auditing top-level digital strategy to also review individual channels like SEO, AdWords, Content Marketing, Email and Social media as part of our toolkits on each. This uses a similar approach of selecting a rating from just 7 questions for each - there aren't hundreds like some other audit tools.

Smart Insights Capability Review tool

Want to try the auditing tool?

If you want to try the audits, but you're not a member, just sign-up here using the form.

If you're already a member simply sign-in - top right and click on any of the toolkits on the members home page with a rating.

How does your capability rating compare?

We’ve seen a good number of you taking the steps to better understanding your digital landscape. The hope was that it would help marketers assess their digital marketing across the customer lifecycle, show the gaps and highlight priorities to improve through recommendations.

Here we share some of the results anonymously - so we can see how businesses compare. You can see that on average, there is great potential for improvement, but capabilities are surprisingly low.

RACE Benchmark All MembersWe thought it would be interesting to see how our different membership levels compare across the RACE framework. This article will be looking at the average scores for each level of membership, across the Plan, Reach, Act, Convert & Engage stages of the RACE framework.

If you’re still not too sure what the tool is, or you’re just wanting to find out a little more about it, check out this blog post about the launch of the Benchmarking Tool.


The ‘Plan’ stage of the RACE highlights the need to Plan, manage and optimize digital channels against defined targets, SMART KPI’s and focused investment into digital media and experiences.

Benchmark Plan

As you can see from the chart above, Basic Members score on average 2.0 from their capability assessment. This means they have most likely taken their first steps in making the most of the digital opportunities, however, haven’t taken the next step to actually quantifying and optimize their strategy.

Expert Members fare a little better at this stage, with an average score of 2.4. Again this suggests Expert Members are already a little more advanced in taking their first steps in making the most of their opportunities online. However, they may be slightly further along with their quantifying and understanding objectives and strategies.

Expert Monthly Members, are the best performers on average at this stage, with a score of 2.5.


The 'Reach' stage of the RACE Framework refers to building awareness of a brand, by publishing and promoting content, in order to build traffic by driving visits to different web presences.

Reach - Benchmark

There is a considerable improvement of the average scores during 'Reach', in contrast to those in the 'Plan' stage.

Again following a similar trend to the previous stage, Basic members on average have the lowest score at 2.3. Suggesting that at this stage the foundations have usually been put in place to build your awareness and drive visits to your site, however, the next step hasn't been taken, which involves investing time and budget on the area's you've prioritized on.

With an average score of 2.4 Expert members are on a similar level to the basic members. Again suggesting the initial steps have been put in place to build awareness and drive visits to your site, whilst the next step hasn't been taken.

The Smart Insights Expert Monthly Members are performing at a considerably higher level to the other two membership levels, on average scoring a 3.75 in the capability assessment. At this level, there is a solid use of inbound marketing techniques and have a measured approach to improving digital marketing, so should begin to see your site visits increasing. The next step is to increase traction more, by mining the insight from your analytics to see which channels are working and which aren't and optimize from there.


The next stage in the RACE framework is 'Act' is short for Interact. It’s about persuading site visitors or prospects to take the next step, the next Action on their journey when they initially reach your site or social network presence.

Act - Benchmark

Basic Members are performing with an average score of 2.3 it shows as a business you're starting to prioritise customer journeys through clearer calls-to-actions, which is a great step in the right direction. The next stage might be to work on explaining your proposition better, to help generate extra leads.

Expert Members are performing on the same level to the Basic Members with an average score of 2.3 also. Again this shows a level of understanding around the customer journey and call-to-actions, with improvement needed around your proposition. To implement this developing a 90-day plan to regularly improve different sections of your site, will help you progress onto the next step.

Expert Monthly Members again out perform the other membership levels, with a score of 2.7. With perhaps a slightly more advanced understanding of the customer journey, or the audience profile. Again to make the next step, it's suggested to develop a 90-day plan to improve the various sections of your site.


After 'Act' comes, 'Convert'. This is where users reach the “conversion point” e.g. a sale for an e-commerce company, and is the stage where organizations can capitalise on all the marketing efforts thus far, through the use of CRO, Remarketing and Marketing Automation.

Convert - Benchmark

The average score for Basic Members on the capability review is 2.2. It suggests you're starting to persuade customers to use your product/service, however are not making the most out of the leads you've generated by making it difficult to for the customers to buy from you.

With an average score of 1.9, Expert Members are the lowest performers in this stage. Again it's a similar situation to the Basic members, with your business beginning to persuade customers, however it could do with a bit of lead nurturing, remarketing and prompts for offline contacts to give you quickest wins.

Expert Monthly Members are again top of the pile, with an average capability score of 2.6. Again, this suggests that your business has begun persuading customers to use your offering, but may not be making the most of the leads generated. Using welcome emails and beginning to optimize your individual channels would take you to the next step.


The final stage of RACE and therefore the Benchmarking tool is 'Engage'. Which entails building customer relationships over time through multiple interactions using different paid, owned and earned media touchpoints such as your site, social presence, email and direct interactions to boost customer lifetime value. All in the hope of getting a repeat purchase (if possible) and advocacy.

engage - benchmark

Basic Members are performing very much in line with the rest of the scores across the Capability review with a score of 2.2. At this score, it highlights that your business are starting to put online customer engagement and retention techniques in place, but they need to be more controlled, by using a range of customer feedback tools, proactive use of social media for customer service.

With an average score of 2.0 Expert Members are performing at a similar level to the basic members. However, may need to work more on the customers profile, understanding who are loyal customers and those who are active customers, before segmenting to allow more tailored and relevant responses.

Expert Monthly again, on average, out-perform both the Basic and Expert members. Again, this highlights that your business has begun putting customer engagement and retention techniques in place, however may need to be more controlled. To help with this, regular scoring of experience and experience drivers, e.g. through Net Promoter Score could help understand engagement and retention techniques better.

Want to try the auditing tool?

If you want to try the audits, but you're not a member, just sign-up here using the form.

If you're already a member simply sign-in - top right and click on any of the toolkits on the members home page with a rating.

Author's avatar

By Alexander Clark

A former member of the Smart Insights team, I’m always on the look out to collaborate with the finest minds in Digital Marketing. Currently working at Silverbean, I have a distinctive interest in all things outreach, content, strategy, and measurement. If you’d like to get in touch, you can do so through my LinkedIn or Twitter accounts. When I’m not planning new campaigns and content, I love playing the Bass Guitar and Drums (not necessarily at the same time) also racking up as many hours as possible on Football Manager and the Rugby pitch.

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Marketing audits and benchmarks for business review

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