Not your mother's marketing

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Online marketing is one of the sectors that has seen a drastic change in a relatively short period of time.

Over the past ten years, we've seen a number of both Internet and marketing technologies emerge and evolve. There are many methods marketers use to target and engage the online customer, including ad serving, behavioral targeting, e-mail, site search and search marketing to name a few. Add to that the new Web 2.0 technologies that humanize the Web experience, such as Rich Internet Applications, blogs, social networking, RSS, Flash and AJAX. In order to fully understand online customers, and ultimately optimize business results, data needs to be integrated across marketing applications.

Running disparate tools and technologies creates siloed information that promotes an environment where many of online marketing applications operate in a vacuum-a hurdle faced by many companies today. For many companies, the team running e-mail marketing isn't connected to the display advertising team, who isn't connected to the team running search marketing, etc.

For CMO's and business leaders, trying to manage these disparate teams, budgets and technologies can be very challenging-let alone ineffective. These silos not only prevent the sharing of information across marketing applications, inhibiting the opportunity to optimize the customer experience, but also make it much more difficult to quickly and easily determine which marketing initiatives are successful and which are not.

As marketers and advertisers continue to increase their spending on the Internet-up by 30 percent last year to $12.6 billion, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau-understanding and optimizing the business around what works has never been more important.

One of the great promises of the Web has been that everything is quantifiable and measurable. However, marketers have long been comparing apples to oranges when it comes to different online campaigns. To date, there has been no standard way for them to measure the sum of the parts. Campaigns have all been measured independently without a unified means of viewing how they stack up together.

As we look to 2007 and beyond, it will become imperative for marketers to find ways to conduct cross-channel, cross-application reporting-in a timely and easy manner. And beyond that, adopt an integrated marketing ecosystem where the business value of integrated applications is greater than the sum of its parts. In other words, it is more than just creating one place to manage different types of applications; it is about how each application, working together, enhances overall business results-optimizing across all applications to make marketing strategies more impactful.

With an integrated marketing ecosystem, companies can achieve their business goals by consolidating measurement and reporting, identifying and targeting the most meaningful customer segments, and taking the most relevant actions to optimize customer engagement and loyalty. Cross-application integration represents an incredible opportunity to bring these worlds together to make marketing more effective. ROI, ROAS, ROE-whatever your acronym, the name of the game is "return."

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