Panel members told the approximately 170 attendees that metrics should drive marketing spend. Kurt Baldassari, director of e-commerce at CDW, said his company relies heavily on Web site analytics. Using such metrics helped CDW determine that its extranet had half the traffic but three times the sales of the main CDW Web site, he said.
"You have to get very specific," Baldassari said. "That's when it gets very valuable."
E-mail marketing was a hot topic at the event. Peter De Legge, director of ebusiness marketing at Aon Service Corp., said his company's e-mail initiatives have achieved open rates as high as 65%, click-through rates as high as 83% and pass-along rates of 26%. Responding to an audience member's question about using e-mail to prospect, De Legge warned marketers about sending unsolicited e-mails--even if they can still legally do so under CAN-SPAM.
"I can tell from looking at a campaign's results where they got the list," De Legge said. "I would never, for any significant brand, use anything but permission e-mail marketing."
Panelists agreed that providing relevant information is critical to a marketing effort's success. "We lead with information," said Timothy Baker, senior VP-manager of commercial marketing and sales support at Bank One, of his group's e-mail marketing campaigns. "We don't lead with a pitch."
David Hirsch, director of the B2B vertical markets group at Google, said the same principle was true of banner ads. "If banners are relevant, they can be very effective," he said.
Panelists agreed that marketers run the risk of information overload when analyzing data gathered from marketing campaigns. "The analysis paralysis is reality," Baldassari said. "When you get the data, you have to focus on individual projects or components or you can get distracted."
--Mary E. Morrison