The Role of Gap Analysis in the Marketing Audit Process

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Gap analysis generally refers to the activity of studying the differences between standards and the delivery of those standards. What role does gap analysis play in the audit process and how is it relevant for successful outcomes in terms of organisational goals.

In more specific terms, gap analysis can be defined as the technique for determining the steps to be taken in moving from a current state to a desired future-state. This as the name implies is simply the description of the ‘gap’ between these two questions: ‘where are we now?’ and ‘where do we want to be?’. It begins with: * listing of characteristic factors such as attributes, competencies, performance levels, of the present situation – what is; * cross-listing factors required to achieve the future objectives – what should be; and then * highlighting the ‘gaps’ that exist and need to be filled.

A marketing audit on the other hand could be internal or external. An external marketing audit covers issues such as economic, political, infrastructure, technological and consumer perspectives; market size and market structure; and competitors, suppliers and distributors. While an internal marketing audit covers aspects such as the company’s mission statement, goals and objectives; its structure, corporate culture, systems, operations and processes; product development and pricing; profitability and efficiency; advertising; and deployment of the sales force. The sole purpose of the marketing audit is to establish the marketing position of the company – in other words, ‘what is’. This is very important because the company’s future strategies will take account of the information revealed by it.

Having established where you are now through the marketing audit and where you want to be through the laid down corporate and marketing objectives the basic role of a gap analysis in the audit process is to highlight what is missing in the current audit based on the company’s objectives, and how to...
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