Ever been to a grocery store during inventory? It’s a messy, messy place. Items are all over the floor. U-boats are in the aisle. There are clipboards, papers, scanners, and diagrams scattered everywhere, like leaves after an autumn wind. Inevitably, every inventory cycle finds something unexpected. Some products are in the wrong place. Some products are out of stock, but no one knew about it. Some products appear in greater quantities than expected, or are the wrong SKU entirely.

Nothing on the shelves

Your marketing platforms are no different. Take the time as the year winds down (if you’re able to) and do a marketing inventory. Look through all your assets in your email marketing, social media, digital advertising, analytics software. See what you really have versus what you think you have.

For example, I recently looked at one of the thank you pages for my email newsletter. Guess what it was missing that should have been there? That’s right – a Google Analytics tracking code. I was missing a fair chunk of my goal completions because I didn’t have something I thought I had. Now I have better data.

How do you go about the process of doing inventory? The first thing you need to do is open up the notebook of your choice, digital or paper, and write down the things you think you have. You think you have email marketing, from creative to analytics. You think you have social ads running. You think you have great SEO. Make a long list.

Once you’ve got what you think you have, go and verify that you do indeed have them. You think you have great SEO? Go check Google Webmaster Tools for any problems with your site. You think you have good analytics? Do as I did and confirm that your analytics tracking codes are actually working.

Doing inventory is time-consuming. Doing inventory is boring. That said, it’s an essential part of running any business. Make sure you’re doing it on a regular basis so that you know what you have and what you don’t before it impacts your business negatively.

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