Taking inventory is one of the most boring things, but necessary things we all need to do. Understanding what you have in stock is fundamental to determining the operational priorities for the future.
Taking physical inventory is familiar to everyone, it is an essential part of staying in business, but how many take an inventory of their marketing assets?
We spend time and money creating things that we hope will deliver leads, or push them through the conversion stages, but how often do we stop and think about optimising the leverage those assets are generating?.
The Christmas break is a great time to get some of this essential stuff done, to examine from the recipients point of view, how well your marketing assets actually work. Following is a list of the typical marketing assets even a small business should have, and often will have without really considering the implications, consequences and costs.
Planning and tracking.
- Do you have a marketing plan that reflects the short to medium term activities needed to deliver on a longer term strategic plan?
- Is there an activity plan for marketing investments that outlines the timing, costs and expected returns from marketing activity in 2015?
- Have you put in place the measures that will enable you to calculate a Return on your marketing investments at each stage of the engagement funnel?
- Are there tracking measures in place that will enable you to improve your returns?
- How well do you know your existing customers?
- Who are they?
- What problem are you solving for them?
- Would they be prepared to recommend you to others?
- What is your share of their wallet?
- Why do they use you instead of your competitor?
- Do you know who your priority target customers are?
- Are they defined to the point where you could personalise them?
- Are your communications “personalised” and directed to their specific needs and challenges?
- Do you understand their behaviour
- Do you understand why you lost customers, and have you made the choice not to spend resources to keep, or get them back?
- Are there some ex customers you are happy are ex? And why
- Are your websites and social media platforms linked and cross posting?
- Are your profiles optimised on each platform?
- Are tracking codes in place and optimised on each web page and platform?
- Do you work the key search terms for your segments naturally into the headlines and body copy of posts?
- Are the auto responder emails appropriate for the trigger response?
- Do you say “Thank You” enough?
- Are you capturing data at every opportunity?
- The “ABC of sales” or “Always be closing” school of sales has changed to “always be collecting”.
- Are you using analytics to test, test, and test again to improve your conversion rates?
- Do you track conversion rates at each stage of the sales funnel?
- Are you seeking ways to build and leverage relationships with suppliers, and natural partners?
- What is the balance of your sales efforts between nurturing existing relationships to building new ones, and is that balance appropriate?
- How would you rate your relationships with your best customers?
- Have you asked them?
- How deep and appropriate is your management “bench” or in its absence, contractors to fill gaps?
- Have you defined the capabilities necessary to sustain growth and profitability, and set about building on the existing, and filling any holes?
As the owner of a business, the most valuable asset you have is your time. Problem is usually there is not enough of it, and others do not value it so try to use it to their purposes.
- Do you have the business/life balance right? I know it is a cliché, but that is why it is true.
- Do you explicitly set out to work “on your business” rather than in it? Another cliché, but also true.
- Does the business run without your detailed day to day involvement?
- If not, when will that day come?
I often get puzzled looks when as a marketing consultant I bang on about things financial. However, it does not matter how good your marketing is if the product is crap, or delivered late, or sold at below cost. Financial management is the foundation of any enterprise, as much as marketing is the essential ingredient for success.
- Do you have a cash flow forecast?
- Do you know and actively your costs, fixed and variable?
- Have you calculated your break even?
- Have you a revenue forecast and operational planning in place?
The above is just a start, a “taster” for 2015 which I expect to be a difficult year, so those who are best prepared, will do well, the others… well, they sell flowers at the funeral home.
Thanks for reading, responding and sharing my musings through 2014. I am going to take a break from the keyboard for a short time. Have a safe and merry Christmas, and I will see you in 2015.