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Question: How can you properly incorporate analytics into e-mail marketing and why?

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Answer: There is a much-talked-about trend in the industry to tie Web analytics into your e-mail system. According to JupiterResearch, as many as one-third of e-mail marketers today say they use Web analytics—but fewer than 1 in 7 of those marketers is using no more than a campaign ID from the Web analytics tools.

Just using campaign IDs is not really analytics but rather extended tracking. The limitation of e-mail platforms' internal databases is holding marketers back. E-mail platforms are designed to be transactional in nature and do not lend themselves to crunching and understanding large amounts of data.

To maximize e-mail's full potential, organizations should incorporate database analytics capabilities in addition to Web analytics or a raw online feed into a traditional e-mail tool. Employing database analytics can help a company derive an understanding of its customer and subsequently use that information to drive personalized direct marketing messages.

Bob Hale is VP-business development at Alterian Inc. (www.alterian.com), an integrated marketing software provider.

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