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Internet marketing requires constant testing and experimentation, panelists say

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New York—If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. That was one message—in the context of Internet marketing and new tactics—from panelists at BtoB’s NetMarketing Breakfast Thursday.

The best thing marketers can do, the panelists agreed, is fearlessly test and experiment, ideally with management’s support.

“At Armstrong (World Industries), the e-marketing function is highly valued, right up to the C-level executives,” said Mike Saad, the company’s global e-marketing manager. “They believe in the spirit of trying, and failing and learning from it.”

Another marketer agreed.

“It represents a tremendous opportunity because even the negatives can be positive,” said Edward Linde II, senior marketing manager, e-commerce at IBM Corp.’s IBM.com.

Both marketers take that advice to heart.

Saad said Armstrong did a pilot program earlier this year with local search testing click-to-call search marketing and learned several lessons from the process, including the fact that the click-to-call tactic was underused.

“The local search program was one of those things we decided to just do and see what happens,” he said.

Saad said Armstrong is also launching a video marketing effort on its Web site next week, featuring a company sales executive explaining the featured product.

Later this year, IBM plans to implement a way for customers to anonymously rate its refurbished products, and rate interactions with customer service as well. The anonymity is because many people are reluctant to admit they have bought a refurbished piece of equipment.

Geoff Ramsey, CEO of eMarketer, the third panelist, said marketers simply need to make sure they don’t follow Homer Simpson’s maxim: “Trying is the first step towards failure.” Ramsey said, “Don’t do that.”

—Carol Krol

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