A New Year's resolution, marketers' style

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A New Year's resolution, marketers' style
A New Year's resolution, marketers' style

Every New Year, people around the world begin mapping out their goals and resolutions for the year ahead. In the spirit of new beginnings, I thought I'd put together a 2010 outlook for the marketing community.

As an industry, we did pretty well in 2009. We began understanding how to build audiences cost-effectively, use email to its maximum potential and got a handle on social marketing. And now, we're beginning to fit the pieces together. We're acquiring qualified, brand-specific leads with performance advertising. Then, we're actually doing something with those leads by building segmented databases, sending timely emails to build trust and driving them to social networks and community sites.

So what should we get in return? How about the ability to optimize every section of your marketing program so that we can gain even more insight into how to run more successful campaigns?

Sounds pie in the sky, but that's what wishes are for.

Having the pieces to a successful marketing program and fitting them together are two different things. We already have tools in place to track and optimize leads by source. And, we have the ability to integrate our email service providers with our performance advertising dashboards. In other words, we can track where each lead comes from and tie that information to email open and response rates. When it comes to social media, however, we're missing that same openness.

Whereas email has spent a long time in the marketing toolbox, the execution of social media marketing has just begun to make real sense to advertisers. As brands get to know their audiences better and shift their social media presence from a broadcasting platform to an engagement vehicle, they're finding opportunities to increase brand loyalty, improve customer service, and yes, drive revenue.

In an ideal world, performance advertising, email marketing and social marketing would all be interconnected. Once we get a lead, they would be automatically added to our email database and from there, we could drive users to social media – and track it all from beginning to end. We could run social marketing campaigns by hooking to any ESP so that we knew not only where each lead came from and how they responded to email, but what actions they took on social networks.

For example, say your brand develops a Facebook app. You run a performance advertising campaign to acquire the right people for your brand. Those leads get automatically uploaded to your email service provider. Then, you can run an email campaign and provide links to your app. Because all systems are openly connected to each other, you can pull reports that show where your leads came from, what emails they responded to and how well your app performed.

Is that too much to hope for in 2010?

True optimization sounds easier said than done. And to be sure, it's no easy feat. But if we bring together the right minds (and technologies), we can get a few steps closer.

What else should be in the marketer game plan this year?

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