Good news everyone, 2020 is just about completely in the rearview mirror. This is also the time of the year that the inventory process is well underway. As marketers, we don’t always think of taking stock of our marketing assets and maybe we should!

Here’s a list to inventory for 2021:

Strategic Plan

Starting right at the top, this asset is the sheet on your clipboard for inventorying every other marketing asset. Review your goals and KPIs to ensure they align with any shifts in the market. This is a great time to refresh any first-party research or look for updated third party research. No industry has been untouched by the pandemic and that should inform your overall strategy going forward. If that’s sound, then it’s time to move to the tactical assets checklist.


Organic search is likely a primary driver of traffic to your website. Even if you don’t have a formal search engine optimization program, you still need to get the technical fundamentals right. This list is not comprehensive, but here are the most common errors we see:

  • Long load times—a mobile site killer!
  • Robot.txt file and sitemap.xml set up incorrectly
  • Meta tags underutilized
  • Broken internal or external links
  • 4xx-type errors
  • Duplicate content and tags

Content Strategy

Creating great content week after week is a grind, but it is essential to staying engaged with your prospects until they are ready to buy. Here are a few tips to streamline the process:

  • Content calendar to plan the next month, quarter or year.
  • Create large “cornerstone” content pieces that can be broken into smaller “cobblestone” pieces that will lead you to the “cornerstone” content.
  • Follow the 20/30/50 rule: 20% headlines and subheads, 30% images, 50% body copy. Think headline, image, subhead, copy, subhead, copy. Then repeat which will make it simple to break longer content into smaller pieces.


Email marketing is the most underappreciated tool at your disposal. Its role in your content strategy is to nurture leads, build your database and drive traffic to your website. Make it work even harder for you through a quick tune-up:

  • Clean up your email list—use a service like Webbula to remove spam traps and other undesirable email addresses that can impact your ability sendability.
  • Create relevant and timely content as part of your overall content strategy.
  • Tease one or more articles through a single email and link them to the article on your website.
  • Optimize the design for mobile.
  • Do not email PDF files. Instead, take the time to make content HTML on your website and follow the point above.
  • Follow GDPR and CCPA regulations and make sure it is simple to unsubscribe.
  • Make it easy to subscribe and drive sign-ups by offering a high-value content piece in exchange for an email address.

Data Assets

While you may not think of your data as an asset, data is increasingly valuable and essential as we move closer to 2022 when browser support for third party cookies will be phased out. How can you check the box here?

  • Utilize a GDPR and CCPA compliant CRM platform that places a cookie (or non-cookie identifiers) to track your leads—this is first-party data you own.
  • Use GDPR and CCPA compliant privacy and cookie policies.
  • Implement a content strategy that gives you a direct relationship with prospects and customers and builds your database.

Social Media

Are you getting any return from social media? Engagement is not difficult to measure, but it can be hard to achieve. Here are questions to ask to see where to take it next:

  • Do our goals for social still make sense?
  • Is social part of our overall content strategy and goals?
  • Are we using the platforms we have well?
  • What types of posts perform best?
  • Have any of our paid social efforts paid off?
  • Are we creating audiences through our own data?
  • Are we amplifying social media through our employee’s networks?

Direct Marketing

It has been a challenge to ensure all of the mailing addresses you have are accurate. Work from home has made it harder to get direct marketing to the recipient in a timely manner, but direct marketing still has an important place in your marketing.

  • Clean up your mailing list—at a minimum use the National Change Of Address (NCOA).
  • Segment the list and match with messaging to ensure relevance.
  • Give a reason for a response and a clear call to action.
  • Support multiple ways of responding.
  • QR codes can make it easy to get to your website.
  • Use a unique domain, URL or phone number to help with measurement.

Media Plan

Hopefully, you are optimizing your media plan far more often than just annually. However, once a year it’s good to think about some higher-level approaches to the new year.

  • Review goals and KPIs. Has anything changed in the market or within the company that would warrant new goals?
  • Review the overall mix between traditional and digital formats. Should budget be redirected to a better performing medium, or have other changes warranted a new approach?
  • Plan a small budget for experimenting with new formats. This might be new platforms, or it might be a change within a familiar one. This will give flexibility for new opportunities.

Public Relations

There’s been a significant shift among personnel at publishers even as consumption of digital information grows. The remaining reporters and editors are even more stressed and pressed for time. Your PR plan should reflect this shift:

  • Update your contact lists
  • Add easy to use multimedia content
  • Be ultra-prepared before pitching and be pithy during the pitch
  • Follow editorial calendars and guidelines for each pub
  • Be respectful and organized


You know a month has flown by when it is time to check on your dashboard again. It’s important to watch the metrics but are you going through the motions or moving closer to optimization? Here’s a refresher on making analytics useful:

  • Are your analytics set up to reflect the goals and KPIs for your strategy? Are you measuring the right things?
  • Simplify your intake of data to decision-making essentials. Just because you can measure something doesn’t mean you should. Clutter can paralyze the decision-making process.
  • Create meaningful visualizations. We see charts and graphs all the time that don’t give a clear picture of what’s happening. Work with your data visualization until it helps you make a decision.
  • Stop with the short-duration snapshots. Data needs context, and unless you can keep it all in your head, look at last month’s data in the context of the quarter, or a year ago, or the trend lines over time. Anomalies can make for bad snap decisions.

If you are confident that your inventory is in good shape as we close 2020, you’ll enjoy the holiday season more, and come roaring into 2021. You’ll also have the time and peace of mind to take stock of the most important inventory you have, your relationships.

Here’s to 2021! If you’d like to have a conversation about any of your marketing inventory, email me: