In most organizations they would be obtained from a much smaller set of people (and not a few of them would be generated by the marketing manager alone).
It is apparent that a marketing audit can be a complex process, but the aim is simple: "it is only to identify those existing (external and internal) factors which will have a significant impact on the future plans of the company." It is clear that the basic material to be input to the marketing audit should be comprehensive.
They are part of the marketing strategy needed to achieve marketing objectives.
To be most effective, objectives should be capable of measurement and therefore "quantifiable." This measurement may be in terms of sales volume, money value, market share, percentage penetration of distribution outlets and so on.
Abell suggested that the definition should cover three dimensions: "customer groups" to be served, "customer needs" to be served, and "technologies" to be utilized .
Thus, the definition of IBM's "corporate mission" in the 1940s might well have been: "We are in the business of handling accounting information [customer need] for the larger US organizations [customer group] by means of Punch card|punched cards [technology]." Perhaps the most important factor in successful marketing is the "corporate vision." Surprisingly, it is largely neglected by marketing textbooks; although not by the popular exponents of corporate strategy - indeed, it was perhaps the main theme of the book by Peters and Waterman, in the form of their "Superordinate Goals." "In Search of Excellence" said: "Nothing drives progress like the imagination.Behind the corporate objectives, which in themselves offer the main context for the marketing plan, will lay the "corporate mission"; which in turn provides the context for these corporate objectives.This "corporate mission" can be thought of as a definition of what the organization is; of what it does: "Our business is …".The structure of the facts book will be designed to match the specific needs of the organization, but one simple format - suggested by Malcolm Mc Donald - may be applicable in many cases.This splits the material into three groups: The last of these is too frequently ignored.To be most effective, the plan has to be formalized, usually in written form, as a formal "marketing plan." The essence of the process is that it moves from the general to the specific; from the overall objectives of the organization down to the individual Objective (goal)|action plan for a part of one marketing program.It is also an interactive process, so that the draft output of each stage is checked to see what impact it has on the earlier stages - and is amended.Accordingly, the best approach is to accumulate this material continuously, as and when it becomes available; since this avoids the otherwise heavy workload involved in collecting it as part of the regular, typically annual, planning process itself - when time is usually at a premium.Even so, the first task of this "annual" process should be to check that the material held in the current "facts book" or "facts files" actually "is" comprehensive and accurate, and can form a sound basis for the marketing audit itself.This next stage in marketing planning is indeed the key to the whole marketing process.The "marketing objectives" state just where the company intends to be; at some specific time in the future.