The various models of marketingu audit
Piotr Hadrian, Ph.D.
Cracow University of Economics, College of Management Sciences and Quality, Institute of Management,
Rakowicka Street 27, 31-510 Krakow, Poland
firstname.lastname@example.org z ORCID: 0000-0003-0922-920X
This paper examines the problem of marketing control. The goal of the article is a scientific reflection on the model presentation of marketing audit. Review of the marketing literature on marketing audit presents various conceptual, structural or process models. Yet, these proposals did not play a role significant enough so that auditing would become a widely used marketing control tool. That is why, author presents an outline of the proprietary marketing audit model which (in conceptual and semantic approach), thanks to specifying the strategic nature of this control tool, can stimulate its popularization in marketing management practice. The conceptual model presents in an descriptive and graphic form the audit architecture, endogenous conditions (orientation, excellence, strategy, tactical and operational control), components of the audit activities and the planes of the assessment being carried out. The semantic model defines marketing audit as a logical and resulting system, which, by using the possibilities offered by specific control methods, allows for comprehensive, structured, regular, objective, independent and professional contextual assessment (preparation and implementation of marketing strategies). These models are a stimulus for discussion and further search for optimal ways of marketing control, both on a methodological and pragmatic level.
MINIB, 2020, Vol. 37, Issue 3
Published 30 September 2020
The various models of marketingu audit
An efficient system of control is estimated to be one of the guarantees of profitability of management activities undertaken in the case of everyfunction of an organization, including marketing. Control indicates theareas of marketing of different levels of usage, effectiveness and efficiency,thus marking the need for changes in the terms of allocation of resources, connection between different activities, changes of scope and intensity of activities, becoming one of the essential factors influencing the level ofefficiency of the marketing management system. It incites to becomeinterested in the methodology of marketing control, in the theoretical as well as pragmatic concept. One of the important elements of theoreticalconsiderations are attempts to describe substantial researched phenomena,processes, objects as well as methods and control technics in the form ofmodels being their theoretical reflection constituting the basis for theimplementation solutions. By the model it can be understood a symbolic reflection (imitation) of the character, structure, process or state of an object (realistic or abstract),as well as relations existing between separate elements (Wesołowski, 2007,p. 5 ; Smyczek, 2013, p. 181), taking on the physical, graphic, symbolic orlogical form, and while considering the inclusion of the time factor – alsostatic and dynamic (Zdanowicz, 2002, p. 29). As one of the main qualities of models are assumed their heuresticvalues allowing to guide and incline the user to independent solving of theissues encompassed in models (Nowak, 2007, pp. 443–447). The structure of each of the model means adopting a multitude of assumptions andrestrictions. For understanding it, it is necessary to determine whatobjective it is bound to serve, because it is the main objective of the modelthat determines its character and form. The necessity and meaning of conducting a strategic control emphasized in the considerations regarding the issue of marketing management inclinedthe author to undertake delibarations dedicated to the model approach of the marketing audit. The main objective of the argument being discussed inthe paper is to present the author’s proposition of a model, indirectlythrough the accomplishment of the goal of the literature overview of themarketing audit concepts provided in the literature of the subject, whichmay be treated as model approach (although the propositions offered by theauthors weren’t presented as models in a direct manner). For the fulfilmentof the intermediate goal the method of a systematic review of publications inthe scientific bases of Scopus, Web of Science and Ebsco 1 has been used. Themodeling from the structural (abstract reflection) and dynamic point of view(logical and time consequence) (Glinkowska, 2010, p. 257; Nowosielski,2009, pp. 189–190), mixed approach (diagnostic and prognostic) andinformal methods of modeling (Nowosielski, 2009, pp. 190–191) has beenimplemented to achieve the main objective. 2 In the publication an evaluation of up to date achievements has been provided in terms of modeling of marketing audit and the proprietary model in the concept, as well as semantic approach, 3 broadening the scope of proposed characteristics of the marketing audit (treated as a separate semantic category), which allow to distinct it as a specific strategiccontrol tool of marketing.4
Concept of the audit
as a strategic marketing control tool
In the literature considering the overall marketing as a social andmanagement conception, the issue of control has taken relatively notmuch space, which seems to be a consequnce of quite a long period of timein which an opinion prevailed that it was very difficult, impossible almost,to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of marketing. 5 The aspectsrelated to the issue of marketing are of often hard to capture, incidentaland dynamic character, and the means of control are imperfect (declarative, intuitive) which has caused difficulties in defining of themarketing effects. It was Buzzell (1958) who first questionned the thesisabout the absolute unmetarialistic character of effects of the marketing,and consequently their unmeasurability, which gave a commencement to a broader discussion on the incumbent possibilities of marketing control and proposing of its structurized solutions. 6 Drawing on experience of themanagement consultants at the turn of the 1950s and 1960s the technique of audit (Kotler, 1977, p. 25), began to be used in the control of marketing,and the researched started to analyze the value which organizations may achieve by improving their marketing activities as a consequence of usingthe results effecting from such control. Scientific considerations regarding the marketing audit was initiated by a report published by the American Management Association. The starting point for considerations therein contained was the work of Shuchman(1959), who perceived the marketing audit as a tool fulfilling a prognostic, as well as diagnostic function, which may be used by wellprospering companies, as well as those struggling with serious marketproblems resulting from objective market threats. In his discourseShuchman defined the marketing audit, indicated its main objectives, and premises of its application and described the fundamental problems related to its implementation. In the opinion of the second author of the report —Sessions (1959) — making use of the audit stemmed from the necessity of permament reorientation of an organisation, therefore he recommendedconducting an audit as often as it seemed necessary to introduce marketorientation the company. Thus, the audit was to be perceived as a certainstandard, repeatable analytical and control procedure. The author indicatedas well the three stages of an audit, which may define its final outcome:
1) determination of the objective, constituting the degree to whicha company’s market position can be improved over a specified period of time (expressed in the form of the desired level of incomes achievedand/or production or profit),
2) ascertainment of a detailed audit program, drawn up in the time and object (events) approach and designed to achieve the desired objectives,
3) organisation of activities necessary for the implementation of theprogram (in the chronological and the time domain approach), allowing for the usage of all of the relating remarks and amendments to thestructures, proceedures or staff.
This proposal may be treated as the first procedural audit model,which another author of the report enriched with a structural form bydistincting six basic aspects of the marketing activities to undergoevaluation: objectives, strategies, organizational system, methods, proceedures and staff (Oxenfeldt, 1959). In order to be more effective inincreasing of the impact and reducing the marketing cost (thereforerising the effectiveness of the marketing activities), the management staffwas recommended to develop a comprehensive program, which would ensure a rigorous evaluation of all of the marketing activity areas payingspecial attention to all the of the 6 aspects.
Inquiries concerning the marketing audit reflected in the subsequent publications in the 1960s. Despite taking up interesting topics, includingthe problem of determining the characteristics of the audit, the possibilityof its use, strategic nature (Oxenfeldt, 1966), differentiation as to thescope and form of implementation (Kotler, 1967), technical implementation of the audit in the form of control questions lists relatingto the issues falling within the scope of the audit (Rothman, 1964, pp. 15–17), did not formulate any new solutions that could be treated as audit models. At the end of this period, there began to prevail a belief thatcompanies turn to a marketing audit in an act of desperation, when they find themselves in a critical situation, struggling with some kind of specificproblems. For these reasons, the audits conducted usually took the form ofa limited marketing control (activity-level audit) or evaluation of verydetailed activities, focusing on grappling with the symptoms of anunfavorable situation rather than on the fundamental problems. In order to avoid such imperfection in the use of the audit, at thebeginning of the 1970s there appeared publications confirming the earliersuggestions, that the scope of the marketing audit should relate to theentire marketing activity, due to the interdependencies between each of itsvarious functions and instruments. Therefore, a solution has been offeredwhich can be considered as a model approach both of conceptual, as well as process characteristics, suggesting conducting an audit encompassing a review (Tirmann, 1971):7
- the organisation’s marketing environment, which evaluates the company’s efforts to understand its environment; it should include an assessment of the state of market surveillance, competitive situation,consumer profile, structures and commercial practice;
- a marketing system aimed at a comprehensive evaluation of the internal marketing system, ie the structure and content of the objectives,program premises and their implementation, marketing organization;
- specific marketing elements (problems) diagnosed during the first two stages of this procedure.
In the economically turbulent decade of 1970s the awareness of theneed to use audit as one of the crucial control tools in the process ofmanagement began to percolate to the consciousness of the managers. The marketing audit was interesting and valuable enough a tool for controllingthe development of company’s orientation, and the previous theoreticalinvestigations advanced to the point, that further attempts were beingundertaken to determine its structure. One of them indicates a marketing audit model (in the process approach), in which three fundamental stages have been distinguished (Kotler, Gregor & Rodgers, 1977, pp. 27–29):
1) defining the objectives and scope of the audit — agreeing on the goals,the range, depth, sources of data, duration of the audit and the form ofthe report;
2) collecting of the empirical material — defining the scope and obtainingthe primary and secondary material necessary for the conduction of the control process;
3) preparation and presentation of the results — formulation of thepreliminary conclusions on an ongoing basis as the data is provided andafter the data collection phase is fully completed, preparing a verbaland visual presentation forwarded for the consultation with theprincipal, and finally preparing the final report including any potentialsuggestions on the part of the ordering persons; attention has beenpaid to the fact that the most valuable result of the audit is not the report itself and the auditors’ detailed recommendations containedtherein but the assimilation process, debate and developing of theconcept of necessary marketing activities.
The presented three-stage image of the audit process can be treated as a simple “black box” model, the stages of which have been describedwithout deeper consideration of the input, output elements and themechanisms taking place inside the process.
As a significant achievement of the considerations on the marketingaudit carried out by the researchers of this period should be acknowledgedthe distinction of its six fundamental components, i.e. audit of themarketing environment (split into macro- and micro-environment), marketing strategy, organization of marketing activities, marketingsystem, efficiency of marketing activities and marketing operationalization(Kotler, Gregor & Rodgers, 1977, pp. 31–33). 8 This proposal can beperceived as a structural model of the marketing audit scope, due to whicha logic of this control tool was emphasised, i.e. beginning the research fromevaluation of the market situation of a company and the changes taking place in the market, as well as the opportunities and risks resulting from it,and then research of the marketing objectives of the company, strategiesrelated to it, organisational, system and financial issues, and finallya deeper examination of one or few of them, having a key influence on theefficiency and effectiveness of the marketing activities.
At the end of the 1970s, a belief emerged that there was a strong,developing base of knowledge and marketing audit methodology thatshould be expertly taken advantage of. The theoreticians’ considerationsand the practitioners’ opinions confirmed the value of the audit resultingfrom the fact that it focuses on the main assumptions of marketingactivities, therefore it began to be perceived as an element of a strategicmarketing control (Enis & Mokwa, 1979). The authors proposed solutions simplifying the process and standardizing the scope of the audit, aiming atmaking it more accessible and approachable to companies (M.T. Wilson in1980). 9 The practical usage of this research and development potentialwas, however, assessed ambivalently, far weaker than the importanceattributed to the audit (Capella & Sekely, 1978; Myers, Massy & Greyser,1980, p. 280).
Assigning into the mainstream of the research concerning the practice of applying of the audit process A. Wilson (in 1982) proposed a proprietarystructural solution containing a set of 28 issues raised in the audit, and shepresented lists of corresponding control questions (Wilson, 2002). Some ofthe indicated issues constitued newly observed areas of evaluation, butmost of them resulted from detailing of the issues previously indicated bythe researchers dealing with marketing topics demanding control. However this proposal can be treated as yet another structural model ofmarketing audit, precising and deepening the potential scope of auditorialconsiderations.
In the 1980s the audit began to seen as an effective tool used either formodifying the already existing ways of perceiving the marketing conceptin a company or introducing new ways of perceiving it. Mokwa (1986)proposed that the marketing audit played a role of a guide introducing thepolicymakers into the strategic nature of the marketing and stimulatingthe decision-making processes. He saw the audit as a three-phase processcontaining (Mokwa, 1986, pp. 89–90):
1) diagnosis of a current and historical organisational marketing context;
2) a prognosis concerning the dynamics of an organization having regardto the foreseen changes in market conditions;
3) formulation of a set of recommendations preceding the planning procesin order to improve directional indications and marketing’s efficiency.
The researcher correlated the structure of a complex marketing audit architecture with the strategic plane of the marketing, thus makinga model of the auditorial activities flow (Figure 1). Transition to thesubsequent phases of the audit proces (diagnosis → prognosis → recommendations) should ensue after the previous stage has ended. The diagnosis phase should stipulate what are the scope and manners ofimplementation of the marketing policy, as well as declared promises(benefits) resulting from this kind of marketing management. Eventually, the last stage should be the recommendations of the newmarketing policy and methods of its implementation and reasons fortheir introducing.
The model determines the conduct of an audit, starting with the evaluation of the organization’s mission and current directional solutions,through the context of the environment, which allows to determine thecompany’s position in the market, and then to evaluate the product/market programs. Logic of this construction presumed that the strategic potential and marketing’s efficiency was influenced by the directions and marketing programs being currently implemented in the market context, in order toachieve the organisation’s mission. The marketing audit perceived in thismanner provided for the assessment of the most essential strategic elements of the company. Simultanously it was defined as the universal methodologicalprocedure enabling implementation of the four roles (hierarchically arrangeddepending on the company’s awareness in the scope of the marketing concept and the practice of its application), graphically expressed as: a communication tool, analitical scheme, a decision catalyst, and an element of thedirectional policy system (Mokwa 1986, pp. 92–95).10 In the author’s opinionthe conception of the marketing audit presented by Mokwa fully satysfies thecharacteristics of the model both in the conceptual and process approach, aswell as structural. In the 1990s there were attempts undertaken to develop the methodology of the audit offering new solutions in terms of its conduct principles,specifically of the separate control areas and corresponding to them researchquestions (Brownlie, 1993, pp. 7–8; Köhler, 1993, p. 169).11 In the followingdecades on the basis of these and previous morfological propositions there were developed further detailed models of the marketing audit structure,containing various sets of issues being under control (Tvede & Ohnemus,2001, p. 114; Kotler, 2006, pp. 308–312).12 These propositions provide thefundamental conceptual basis of a significant theoretical and methodological,as well as application importance. Each of the proposition (at the level of thegeneral specification of the problematic issues) can be treated as the modelapproach of structural characteristics, but concerning only one of the auditstructure element, that is its scope.13
Conceptual and semantic model
of the marketing audit
The concepts of recognition of the essence, structure or process of the marketing audit presented in the literature of the subject prompted the author to elaborate his own proposition of a model, understood asa theoretical construction having particular cognitive and scientific values,as well as the utilitarian value allowing for the implemantation of thiscontrol tool in marketing-oriented organisations. The model is presented in the conceptual and semantic approach (Falencikowski, 2012, pp. 84–85). In the first dimension the marketing audit model is a conceptual tool expressing the logic of placing the audit in the context of organization’sstrategic control. The model seen in this manner contains the description of audit’s architecture, engodenic determinants (orientation, excellence,strategy, tactical and operational control), components of auditorialactivities and planes of the applied evaluation. Therefore, it is a relativelyisolated, compound conceptual object, describing conduction of the audit as a strategic control tool by indicating the logic of evaluation of themarketing strategy implementation in order to create value for theorganisation and its stakeholders. The construction of the model presented is a consequence of general conclusions resulting from theconducted theoretical studies dedicated to the issue of acknowledgement, explanation and deepening of the identity of the audit and the analysis ofthe secondary results and author’s own empirical research concerning the practice of marketing audit. 14 Theoretical acknowledgement of the above mentioned research issue, in its cognitive and classification approach, through defining of themarketing audit’s assumptions, allowed for undertaking of considerations concerning the decisive problem related to the practical possibilities ofachieving the previously identified identity of the marketing audit. Theissue formulated required undertaking of the research on how the changes in the conception of management and marketing’s evolution influenceshaping of the control category, the specifics of the audit as a control tool,strategical dimension of the marketing audit, and further on, the degree ofuse of the audit as a marketing control tool in the business practice.
On the basis of the theoretical studies it can be concluded that along with the change of directions, science discipline or management methods (Lachiewicz & Matejun, 2012) the role and importance of the controlconsidered as one of the functions of management evolved, but thenecessity of directional and intermediate evaluation of the managementprocesses stayed unchanged (Koontz & O’Donnell, 1969; Kuc, 2009;Lisiński, 2011). The concept of marketing regardless of the dimension ofchanges observed and opinions and approaches appearing as their results,as the integral element of the marketing management process treats the control of conducted activities in the three aspects: its importance,correctness and effectiveness (Kowal, 2010). At the theoretical consideration level the particular importance is ascribed to the strategiccontrol in its various contexts and approaches, incl. evidence-basedmarketing (Morrell, 2008; Rowley, 2011), measuring marketing performance (Clark & Ambler, 2001; Gao, 2010; Kowal, 2017), businessexcellence (Haffer, 2011; Kacała & Wierzbic, 2015; Martusewicz, 2017) orquality management (Łuczak & Matuszak-Flejszman, 2007), and from among its tools — marketing audit (Kotler, Gregor & Rodgers, 1989; Dryl & Dryl, 2009; Hadrian, 2012). The changing concepts and technical methods of conducting an audit evolved both due to development of the management science, and most of all due to changes of the situation in which the real management processeswere taking place. These changes demanded applying other approach to the control of organization’s activities both in terms of isolating problemareas and methods of problem solving. This gives the basis and the rightfor constant research for — on the foundation of up to date experience —the new audit’s theoretical solutions, which verified in practice, may helpthe organisations in gaining the competitive advantage in the market,becoming the key factors of their success and development. Therefore, thenew model solutions should be verified and created, which by indicating the fundamental conditions, structural elements, correlations and processes, may constitute the theoretical architecture of an audit, commonfor the various, specific market environments. The marketing practice, reflected by the results of the researchdedicated to the control of the marketing activities, especially to the
marketing audit, doesn’t indicate a high degree of use of the marketingaudit (Capella & Sekely, 1978; Taghian Shaw, 2002, 2008; Dryl, 2010;Paștiu & Lazea, 2014; Kowal, 2013; Bachnik, 2018; Hadrian, 2020). Theobserved ways of audit usage in research of marketing problems are not sourced in the expectations, decisions and activities of organisationalentities directly responsible for the marketing. They are most ofteninitiated, implemented and supervised by either the superior units or thosespecialized in conducting of the internal control. They don’t possess a clearstrategic trait either, often taking satisfaction in the evaluation ofcorrectness realized at the operational level. It brings into question thevalidity of perceiving these controls as an audit (in the theoreticalapproach), to which the strategic dimension of the evaluation is ascribed. The considerations conducted by the author on the nature and practice of the marketing audit were aimed at developing a model which wouldoffer a chance to minimise the theoretical concerns and practicaldifficulties of the audit implementation discerned so far, but what is moreimportant, confirm its strategical character. It required adopting of theassumptions resulting from the conducted theoretical studies and analysis of the empirical research:
1) audit is perceived as one of the control tools of the strategical dimensionof marketing;
2) the marketing audit demands unambiguous identifying of the perception of the marketing strategy;
3) the audit’s essence is determined by the evaluation of the relationsbetween the controlled marketing activity areas with the adopted marketing strategies;
4) the structure of the control issues does not determine the essence of theaudit, it constitutes a problem of a secondary character in relation to thetraits determing this strategic contol tool;
5) the marketing audit should have its fundamentals on the solidtheoretical base, that can be constituted by: the theory of the needs (of the information user), the agency theory, the motivation theory;
6) the audit results should allow for and give the foundation for aggregationand comparison of the marketing activities.
Approval of the above-mentioned assumptions allowed for development of the conceptual marketing audit model (Figure 2) in the processcomprising the two stages: extracting elements defining the model’sconstruction and indicating the relations between the extracted elements.
The input elements are the fundamental information contents related to the realisation of the marketing activities, ei. the formulated strategy,as well as the decision and tactical and operational activities, includingthe control results carried out at these levels of management, as well asthe results obtained at the earlier stages of the strategic marketing control of the evaluation of marketing orientation and marketing excellence. These elements are undergoing the control process in thedimension and form, which are present in its particular operationalexpression in the individual parts of the audit, such as the goal, auditsubject, scope, evaluation criteria, procedures, report, frequency, auditentity, audit initiator and recipient, auditor. The structural elements ofthe audit are perceived as the integral component parts of the audit. Implementation of the control taking into account the entirety composed in this manner allows for generation of the informational content in the form of the indicated output elements. The essential condition of application of the presented audit model is adoption of the marketing orientation as a conception of the impact on themarket appropriate to the said organization. 15 In the case of a differentorientation the indicated objective of the audit is irrelevant (assessment ofthe implementation of the marketing strategy), which does not excludeconducting the marketing activity evaluation at the lower levels ofcontrol. 16 The marketing orientation of the organisation demands outlining direction of action in the form of the marketing strategyunderstood in any way. The marketing strategy constitutes indispensible and appropriate point of reference of research and evaluation undertaken at the subsequent levels of the strategic control. Therefore, initiation of anaudit is basically possible only when the marketing strategy exists. 17 Thestructural elements used at the stage of an audit process should be treatedas conditions differentiating the character of possible to conduct audits,which will decide about its forms, vertical or horizontal, interior orexterior, among others. The elasticity of the audit implementation inrelation to the procedures used, scope of the researched issues or thesubjects (initiators, conductors, beneficiaries) makes the audit modelunderstood in this manner gain wide possibilities of practical usage, undercondition, however that the specifics (features) assigned to this marketingcontrol tool and expressed in the semantic model, will be assured. The semantic model refers to the generic approach of the model, claiming that it is „a construction, scheme or a description depictingaction, structure, features and correlations of a phenomenon or object” (Wielki słownik języka polskiego, 2018), omitting the less essentialelements of the reality described. The marketing audit is perceived as a strategic marketing control tool, whose objective is to research and evaluate the preparedness, validity and implementation of the organization’s marketing strategy. Therefore the marketing audit model in these terms can be expressed as a structure, substance and thesupervision system of marketing, developed in order to create a valuethrough confirmation and implementation of the adopted marketing strategy. The marketing audit is a logical-resultant system, whose essenceis creation of such a proposition of control activities, which by fulfilling theexpectations of its initiators, make use of the possibilities ofimplementation of specific methods and control techniques (such as aninsight view, observation, exterior confirmation, repeated calculations,reperformance, analytical procedures, control questions) in order toachieve the comprehensive, structurized, regular, neutral, independentand professional evaluation of the preparedness and implementation ofthe marketing strategy (the context evaluation), relevant to the endo- andexogenic conditions of organization’s functioning.
The presented model of the marketing audit in its conceptual andsemantic approach constitutes a construction which reflects a realstructure of an audit, indicating its elements and the relations correlatingbetween them. It should not be treated as an empirically confirmedpattern of the audit process but as an theoretical construction (model as a projection), which owns its meaning for further research on themarketing management and marketing strategic control, constituting an addition to the theory dedicated to these issues (Szarucki, 2011, p. 268). The model’s structure is of general enough a character so that it should allow for its usage in the realisation of various forms of an audit (interioras well exterior), conducted on behalf of organisations of a diversecharacter (scientific and research entities among them), by different auditsubjects. Indicated in the literature structures of issues that can constitutean audit subject and the resulting suggestions considering the implementation of various ways of obtaining information content should be treated, on one hand as a hint on the marketing audit implementation, on the other hand — as a very useful in practice basis for creating a proprietary marketing audit methodology, adjusted to the specific case and real research problem. The model presented allows for the systematisation and consolidation of the knowledge on the meaning (importance) of an audit as strategic marketing control tool, acknowledging and understanding of the correlations existing during the control process, conditions and elementsdefining its form. The key importance for the well apprehension of themodel is the accepted objective which is making of the evaluation of therelations between the controlled marketing activity areas and the adopted marketing strategy. It demands acknowledging of the category’s “marketing strategy” character and its importance in the marketing management of an entity, in the context of the adopted business orientation. It should beremembered that the usability of each model’s structure in a large extent is a result of the scope of the knowledge on the subject of the reality mapped by the model, in this case a tool of the strategic control. The presented proposition should be a stimulus for a discussion and further research of the optimal ways of the marketing control, both in themethodological and pragmatic pane. In the methodical layer there seems to be of particular importance the development in the future of structural solutions ofthe marketing audit homologous enough as to facilitate the use of the model andthe practice, simultaneously giving a chance for comparison of the auditingactivities and their results. According to one of the model definitions cited in theintroduction, heuristic values are their particular virtue. It seems that the modelpresented has a heuristic value, allowing to guide and incline the potential usersto independent consideration of the notions expressed in its construction: theessence of the control being undertaken, process elements and correlationsoccuring between them, practical utility and circumstances of the application.
1 The review was made by conducting a selection of publications placed in the bases analyzed, containing phrasesmarketing control, marketing audit, and from selected set on the basis of the abstract review and texts of theaccessible papers a narrowing has been introduced, limiting only to these, which in a forward manner discussed theissues of the prevalent importance to the author that is presenting a semantic, conceptual, structural or processapproach to the audit seen as a marketing control tool. Simultanously the author aimed at eliminating some of theshort-comings of the systematic approach based on the research of the commonly approved sets of publications,among others prefering chosen publish houses and publishers, skipping monographic publications (Czakon, 2013,pp. 64–65), referencing also to the texts not recognised in the penetrated bases.
2 See also (Gospodarek, 2009, pp. 61–81; Szarucki 2011; Łatuszyńska, 2015).
3 An inspiration for author’s verbalisation of these terms were presented in the literature definitions of thebusiness models. See, among others (Wiśniewski, 2017).
4 The themes presented in the article constitute a synthesis of the author’s broader considerations, layed-out inthe monography (Hadrian, 2020).
5 Many of the cause and effect relations are of a complex character, i.e. they are hard to distinct, not everythingcan be expressed in the quantity measures, and many of the issues can only be described in the quality aspect.
6 In the considerations dedicated to the marketing management there are two levels of control distinguished mostoften: 1) Operational — relating to the operational plan of the marketing activities, evaluating the execution ofactivities in the specified period of time, in accordance with specific guidelines in order to achieve the indicatedobjectives, 2) Strategic — constituting an evaluation of the validity of the adopted assumptions regardingdirections, strategies, forecasts and policies concerning conducting of the marketing activities and providing abasis for correcting or developing of a new marketing strategy of the enterprise. As a result of adopting of theapproach to the control of the marketing activities related to the concept of the value marketing, a three-levelcontrol structure was identified (complex marketing evaluation, assessment of the way it influences the market,assessment of marketing tools), which reflects the three levels of control: strategic, tactical, and operational(McDonald & Wilson, 2012, pp. 662–680). Other propositions of the marketing control structure as a criterion fordistinguishing its components adopt a subject of control: macroenvironment (Mruk, 1999, pp. 268–270), scheduledtasks, marketing strategy, profit centers and strategic business entities, marketing programs, marketing tactics,the staff responsible for the development and implementation of the programs and tactics, entities from thecompetitive environment (Baruk, 2002, pp. 204–205; Haas, 1986, pp. 381–412). The review of the evolution of thescientific and practical approaches to the evaluation of the marketing results making use of an abundant set ofmeasuring tools was presented by Clark & Amber (2001).
7 Tirmann acknowledged that, the main objective of the marketing audit is improvement of the overall marketingperformance due to the implementation of the recovery plans: 1) short-term, aimed at ameliorating the currentsituation, 2) strategical, focusing first of all on integration of the particular changes in the general frame ofmarketing activities plan in the whole organisation.
8 For selected in that way structural elements of the audit, specific goals were indicated, realisation of which wereto be supported by the developed research questions (Kotler, Gregor & Rodgers, 1977, pp. 36–43). In that timethere appeared also other propositions of isolating of the most important areas of a widely comprehendedmarketing control theme, like the 15-element proposition of McConnel (da Gamma, 2012, p. 214) or the 7–elementstructure proposed by Naylor & Wood (1978) and McDonald (da Gamma, 2012, p. 214).
9 The author presented in it a wide consideration on the subject of the marketing issue, indicating the mostimportant issues, posing a sequence of control questions, directed on finding an answer to a fundamental question:where in the market and sector’s sphere are the enterprise and its marketing activities currently placed? (Wilson,1993, pp. 49–100, 218–225). Of a similar character was the proposition presented by H. W. Goetsch (1983), whichincluded control questions concerning 13 issues constituting the audit’s subject. These propositions regarding auditas a tool for planning marketing activities were an expansion of the ideas already presented in the 1960s.
10 This manner of describing of the roles of the marketing audit is an alternative description of its functions inregard to the commonly known classification of functions ascribed to the control or analytical activities.
11 Brownlie (1993) presented an interesting proposition of issues constituting a starting point to the conductionof an audit, which were prepared on the basis of previously published sets of Kotler’s, Wilson’s, Davidson’s andMcDonald’s control questions. In a condensed approach the marketing audit structure was proposed by Köhler,who specified only four audit areas: the process, strategy, organisation and marketing-mix.
12 Tvede i Ohnemus (2001) distincted eleven research issues, within which, aside the already indicated elements,they extracted current marketing research problems, such as value, digital technological environment of theenterprise, or the reaction speed. In the proposition of the consulting company Copernicus described by Kotlerthere were indicated twenty-one general areas of marketing control.
13 Entities conducting marketing audit have always a possibility to construct their own concept of scope of anaudit and prepare a research tool, nonetheless by falling within the general framework of the presented structuralsolutions the controls conducted by them give an opportunity to make a comparison of the obtained results.
14 The complete material of the conducted intellectual process leading to the presented model solutions waspresented in (Hadrian, 2020).
15 It makes no point in the case of the marketing audit to consider whether the marketing orientation was rightlychosen as the organisation’s conception of development. The issue should be an evalution subject on the higherlevel of organization’s managament, in the context of a wide set of conditions, exceeding the marketing-relatedonly considerations.
16 In the situation when the organization has not adopted a marketing orientation, thus it is managed accordinglyto other orientation’s rules, the marketing functioning as an auxiliary area supporting the organization’sactivities is not excluded. It is then justified to lead the marketing control assuming the relevant criteria andevaluation tools of the tactical and operational character
17 It may appear that in the audited organization the marketing strategy either hasn’t been formulated at all ornot in a sufficient enough and/or inappropriate way. It means impossibility of (or restriction in) reachingconclusions on the correctness of the marketing activities being realised in relation to the strategic indications. This kind of situation unambiguously indicates an error in the marketing management system, which results inthe lack of coordination of marketing activities at subsequent levels of management and the interpretive libertyof the results being obtained, as the consequence of lack of the reference points for the unambiguous evaluation.
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Piotr Hadrian, Ph.D., Cracow University of Economics, College of Management Sciences and Quality, Institute of Management, Poland — professor of economic sciences, a Senior Lecturer at the College of Management Sciences and Quality, Institute of Management of the Cracow University of Economics. The author’s scientific interests encompass: marketing management, marketing control, marketing audit, consumer behavior and current marketing conceptions. Author of numerous scientific publications.