Combined Networks, Branding Is Key To Online Success

The future of Web marketing will offer unprecedented opportunities to create highly personalized marketing and advertising campaigns to effectively reach consumers. Capitalizing on Web marketing now and in the future lies in the ability to combine networks, branding, technology, measurement, direct response and other e-marketing tactics to form a system allowing marketers to reach potential customers through the entire marketing life cycle — from customer acquisition to customer retention.

As the Internet continues to expand, offering more places for marketing money to be spent, advertisers, agencies, direct marketers and e-commerce companies will focus on reaching their target audiences through profile-driven targeting, branding, networks, optimization and emerging technologies to boost their marketing results by improving customer reach and response.

Companies servicing Web marketers must offer the ability to sort through the mass of online consumers to not only deliver the right messages to the right audiences, but also to deliver individualized messages to both attract and retain a customer. To effectively reach customers, solutions like profile-driven marketing will continue to be popular because the technology provides marketers and publishers with the ability to effectively connect with customers. This accurate and anonymous technique enables marketers to discern who to target and how to adjust marketing campaigns to achieve maximum return on investment.

Profile-driven targeting enhances traditional category-based targeting or branding and allows marketers to target consumers on a variety of levels. For example, marketers promoting golf equipment are no longer limited to putting ads for drivers and wedges on a sports site, because a profile they have suggests that the same user who has expressed interest in golf is also a big news junkie. Marketers can now advertise on both a golf site and on a news site, as well as other sites that would reach their audience.

Networks are in the best position to offer solutions in the advertising marketplace because their solution aggregates impressions from single and multiple sites across the Internet. The most utilized network is called run of network where advertising campaigns appear on hundreds of affiliated Web sites. Space that is sold on these sites is priced based upon a CPM basis. Other alternatives for marketers include a cost-per-click solution where marketers are only charged if a user clicks on a banner ad, and a barter system where banners can be swapped with other affiliate sites.

While extending the reach of a marketing and advertising campaign, marketers also must work to improve customer response. Direct response and optimization represent key components enabling marketers to receive the highest response rate for their ad campaigns. Utilizing a combination of zero-based media targeting and behavioral targeting methods can significantly increase marketers' ROI and revenue.

Zero-based media targeting is introduced when a campaign is performance-tested without any preconceived notions regarding what works and what doesn't for a particular campaign. From this performance test a base line is developed that can be used for comparison purposes with a user's behavioral movements. In addition, this base line lets marketers make sound decisions on the purchase of additional media content or profile-based solutions, depending on the outcome of the results. Behavioral targeting will not only fine-tune a campaign but ultimately optimize marketers' results.

Another component essential to optimization is the employment of detailed reporting mechanisms. Constant interpretation and analysis of campaign data by skilled media advisors can help maximize marketers' ROI. Advisors will make recommendations about a variety of factors, such as what sites are performing the best and frequency of creative rotation to improve the overall performance of a campaign.

Emerging technology solutions represent important components in the advancement of online marketing. The growing popularity of several types of new media applications will provide powerful new mediums of communication. Banner ads, rich media and streaming media will soon be delivered across the Internet through broadband and other emerging platforms. While bandwidth issues need to be addressed, this technology will continue to be one of the most direct ways to get products in front of a consumer.

The future of online advertising and marketing involves combining the best of existing technologies with established networks, profiling technologies, branding, direct response methods and burgeoning new media applications to create a single, powerful suite of marketing services that leverages the Web's interactive nature.

And the future is now. Marketers should partner with a company that focuses on connecting marketers with specific online audiences, and then propelling those audiences through the entire customer life cycle — simply described as moving prospects to buyers, to repeat customers, and finally to long-standing, loyal customers.

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