While progress is being made, for many marketers e-mail still stands alone. A bit too alone, say many.
"At the high level, top marketers are integrating with other systems to drive their e-mail campaigns,"said Mike Hilts, president and general manager at e-mail company Yesmail. "But sadly there is still the vast majority of marketers who have rudimentary e-mail programs that maybe can do a little segmentation and personalization, but are not terribly advanced."
Hilts noted that e-mail traditionally has been seen as the classic "push"direct marketing tool, with little attention paid to response. But today's world is all about tracking the responder, he said.
"The good marketers are doing triggered e-mail based on Web site behavior,"Hilts said. "They're using e-mail as an opportunity to build dialogue and discussion—as an interactive tool."
Hilts said Yesmail is aided considerably by the fact that sibling companies within parent InfoGroup are list management company InfoUSA and database marketing company Donnelley Marketing.
"We do a lot of integration with these companies,"Hilts said, "integrating data where you can overlay and append data within our Yesmail application."He said Yesmail is working with its sibling companies on a yet-to-be-launched product that more fully integrates them into a one-source, multichannel marketing suite.
Loren McDonald, VP-industry relationships at Silverpop, agreed with Hilts.
"The best practice is to incorporate multichannels into that drip stream,"McDonald said, stressing that all tools have to be integrated. "You don't want different tools for e-mailing, ROI tracking, drip campaigns, Web analytics, behavioral tracking and Web site optimization.
"The challenge is to make all your tools tie into each other."