David Lowndes

When you're lying awake at night, going through your mental checklist of job-related worries, is compliance to federal, state and local laws and regulations one that springs immediately to mind? Probably not. But perhaps it should, given the complexity of today's regulatory environment. As the Association of Corporate Counsel points out, there are federal, state and local regulations covering virtually every facet of marketing, including

As a marketer, one of your biggest challenges is engaging prospects in an increasingly crowded and diverse business environment. Single-channel campaigns are the marketing equivalent of putting all of your eggs in one basket. The smart money's moving to integrated, multichannel campaigns because multiple channels produce better returns.

What if you could save 30 percent to 40 percent of your total marketing spend and still maintain, or even improve, your current results? It is possible, if you're willing to put some time and thought into optimizing your marketing communications.

Although the concept of marketing automation is generating a lot of buzz these days, only about 5 percent of marketers are using full-featured marketing automation solutions, according to Jeff Ernst, a principal analyst at Forrester Research. Further, "Many who do move forward with some form of marketing automation are not ready for it. They're lacking an integrated lead management process, and they don't have the right content to fuel the automated marketing process." he says. Before you apportion a hefty percentage of your budget to purchasing and implementing a marketing automation solution, be sure to consider the following fulfillment-related issues:

At its most basic level, the Web is an inquiry management environment. Consumers and businesspeople head online almost every day to source products and solutions that fit their needs. Depending on the urgency of their needs, they might request some sales literature or samples, or locate nearby retail outlets to check out the items in person. All the while, they have a host of competitive options at their fingertips—and then possibly just a phone call or short drive away.

Over time, fulfillment programs can grow complicated and unwieldy, becoming less efficient if marketers do not carefully assess the impact of incremental changes to materials and processes. To keep a program running in Olympic form, marketers should invest in regular audits that take into account the full spectrum of operations and materials needed to achieve the desired goal - balancing cost with response.

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