Online marketing suite: I have a dream

I have a dream of a glorious website system. One that will tie all channels together and show marketers a clear picture of what’s happening. A system that has an opinion on what the best practices are. A system that is human compatible, not just web server compatible.

The analysts call it an online marketing suite. And once analysts put a name on something like they did with this 2 years ago, you can bet that a lot of companies are building a solution.

Here’s the problem: these solutions are going to be expensive. And because the word “enterprise” will more than likely be attached, these solutions will not be user friendly. They will be clunky, unintuitive, and slow. Mark my words. Try out some of the stuff that’s out there today like Omniture (if you have tens of thousands of dollars in your budget to implement them, that is).

Another problem. These suites will need to have a wide range of features:

  • Web analytics/conversion management
  • Search keyword management
  • Content collaboration/integration/management
  • User experience management
  • Dashboards and automated reports
  • Campaign management
  • Data mining flexibility
  • E-commerce integration/management
  • Social media management
  • CRM integration/management

Note that the word management indicates the need for measurable results. Not just pretty charts to look at and go “Hmm…”

The list of features could go on from there. And the list will grow as the Facebooks, Twitters, and Googles create additional channels in the online marketing landscape.

The root of the problem is that online marketing suite providers will bolt on additional features, not worrying much about the user experience or how marketers need to think and work to get their jobs done. And they will continue to make it all so complex that you need to hire professional services just to keep it working. Boooooo.

Until something affordable and effective emerges, internet marketing consultants will continue to have it sweet. Inefficient, fragmented tools will allow for more billable hours and will introduce a greater cost of entry to those who want to become experts. And this will become a problem as businesses will demand more accountability and measurable results for less money.

It’s a great time to be one of the few that understand how it all works. The days are numbered for the fakes who pretend that they know what they’re doing, though I must admit that there will still be quite a few days left for them.

The revolution will be data driven. That’s for sure. And it will require opinionated tools that get the job done without trying to cater to petty feature requests.

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