Trendwatch: IMPRESSIONS ABOUT WEB IMPRESSIONS

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Advertising Age asked a few digital industry soothsayers to identify and comment on the biggest challenges facing interactive marketing in 2002. What they see and say:

TREND: Marketers are demanding measurement standards to assess the effectiveness of digital marketing and media programs.

RECOMMENDATION: Don't "force-fit" the Internet into offline metrics, said Jim Nail, senior analyst at Forrester Research.

"Just because they're commonly used doesn't mean advertisers are all that satisfied with them," he said. He advocates redefining audience value around where the consumer is in the decision-making process: Is he or she in the awareness, consideration, preference or purchase mode?

TREND: Consumers are getting savvier about marketers' data-gathering objectives and avoiding opt-in opportunities.

RECOMMENDATION: Find ways to create an emotional bond with consumers while delivering an entertaining and fun experience. Online games, contests and other buzz-building tactics can help.

"You need to be completely upfront with your audience if you want to collect data," said Matt Freeman, CEO-North America of Omnicom Group's Tribal DDB. "We had this misconstrued notion that data collection is putting up a questionnaire [online]." Data can be collected via software technology, but whether consumers embrace online programs boils down to the creativity with which the programs are implemented, Mr. Freeman said.

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