How does a GPS system help you go from one place to another? To get to a specific place you must give the system the exact location, address, or geographic coordinates of where you want to go. However, no GPS system can guide you to a new location unless it knows where you are now. It must plot your course knowing your starting point. Likewise, a strategy can only advance your business if you know where you are now.

Enter the Marketing Inventory

An inventory tells you what you have in stock and in this case, we are not talking about packaged goods or some other type of retail item. We are talking about business assets and more specifically your marketing assets and for our purposes online or internet marketing assets.

There is no better way to start identifying the assets you have than to employ a checklist. While no one checklist can be all things to all people, a reasonable checklist will provide guidance on your marketing landscape.

Here is a Partial Inventory Checklist. Do you have a:

  • Twitter account? Is it growing?
  • LinkedIn profile? Is it complete?
  • Facebook account? Does it include a business page?
  • Campaign to capture email addresses? Are you using the emails?
  • Video marketing process? Are the videos promoting your value proposition?

Of course, knowing what you have is only a first step, but without taking this step, you are doomed to wandering aimlessly. The next questions are:

  • Do you know why you have the assets you have?
  • Have you determined the value each asset provides?
  • Do you know how well your marketing assets are working?
  • Are you clear about how each asset fits into your sales funnel?
  • Do you know what assets you may still need to add?

Here is an example: Let’s say you have 1,000 Twitter followers, but they are not taking any action steps, what does that mean? Do you need more followers? Do you need better-targeted followers? Perhaps you need a clearer call-to-action.

Maybe the problem is related to what you expect from Twitter followers. Twitter sits on the top or rim of your sales funnel, or said another way, it’s at the bottom of the relationship building ladder. It can only do so much.

You need to understand how each part of your sales funnel and the marketing assets that support that funnel work together. When talking to business owners I often hear two types of questions both of which begin with the wrong premise:

  • How can my company leverage Twitter, Facebook, or some other fashionable social media network?
  • What is the best marketing approach to create more business?

The first question is usually from someone who is desperate and looking for a quick fix or someone who thinks marketing is one-dimensional. Either way they are beginning from the wrong premise.

The second question is a bit more of an informed starting point, but it to misses the mark. If you’re asking how to get somewhere without knowing where you are you’re going nowhere fast. Everyone wants more business, but the answer to the “What’s the best approach?” will depend on a number of factors. The first factor is a clear understanding of what you have and don’t have in place, i.e., an inventory.

Next Steps:
As discussed in this post, using a marketing inventory checklist will help to determine where you are and point the way forward. A good practice is to:

  • List out the marketing assets you have in place, thinking about how best to optimize them.
  • Develop a Marketing Plan focused on how each asset fits into your sales funnel and systematically supports the goal of deepening relationships with your target audience.
  • Use a Phased-in Implementation; successful business people avoid being overwhelmed by taking logical and orderly steps to achieving a goal.

After performing an inventory, begin tackling how best to move forward with what you have. Of course, deciding on where to invest next requires more work, but nobody said building a successful marketing strategy would be easy.