Getting the Right Information in the Information Age

Interactive media buyers are busy folk. With clients to meet, marketing strategies to execute, brands to build, and campaigns to monitor, there’s little time left over to dedicate to what is far and away one of the most vital aspects of this job: industry research.

Whether you work at a big agency with a team of researchers at your disposal or you’re the multitasking type, responsible for compiling market data on your own, keeping abreast of market trends and industry news on a daily basis is essential. In the rapidly evolving and progressive Internet world, just one missed news brief or press release could lead to mistakes, such as putting your faith in an unstable media property or distributing your client’s budget among poorly performing media placements. These online advertising faux pas can annihilate a campaign. That’s motivation enough for anybody to avoid them.

Luckily, media buyers are blessed with a mountain of sources for gathering the information necessary to ensure we make informed choices. A number of time-saving shortcuts out there can help make this process quick and simple — as simple, even, as checking your inbox. Daily email newsletters, digests, and weekly cumulative reports extracting news from various sources are all readily available and can become our gateway to e-business erudition.

With so many sources to choose from, the challenge is sifting through the virtual clutter to single out the few choice e-zines offering comprehensive coverage without the useless filler. Where should you begin? To get a complete scope of information, explore three major categories: education, news, and research statistics and reports.

In a field as new as Internet advertising, the best training you can get often comes from your peers in the business. For lessons in the various Internet marketing disciplines, there’s ClickZ, of course, your daily source for tips and information on all aspects of online advertising and marketing, from media buying to email marketing and search engine optimization. If you’re looking for insider hints from industry professionals, there are few sites or newsletters that compare (my unbiased opinion!).

When it’s thorough and accurate coverage of industry news and events that you’re after, internet.com‘s NewsLinx, providing links to top stories from around the Web, is a valuable reference tool. This daily newsletter, available in both HTML and text, eliminates the guesswork involved in determining which stories are most noteworthy and are garnering the most attention, and renders obsolete the tedious task of searching numerous different sites to get the complete story.

Like most marketers, you probably already subscribe to offline publication DM News. Did you know you can receive a daily email newsletter providing coverage from this excellent industry reporter? If you regularly find the offline version unread on your cluttered desk, consider subscribing to DM News – iMarketing News Daily for up-to-date direct marketing, e-commerce, and Internet marketing headlines. Weekly email marketing and CRM newsletters are also available for those who just don’t have the time to read a daily report.

When you’re in a campaign crunch and planning has you probing for research data on the effectiveness of various media placements, the state of different industries online, and general industry reports, CyberAtlas and eMarketer Daily are still the most reliable sources. CyberAtlas online archives are free. eMarketer charges for access to some online content, but the newsletter is available free of charge, so take advantage while it lasts! You can get a week’s worth of eStats and a month’s worth of Analyst Interviews (a sort of trial membership) by signing up at the site.

If it’s Canadian stats you’re looking for, international market research firm Ipsos Reid’s free monthly E-Reid HTML newsletter provides a summary of recent public opinion and market research stats, both on the Canadian and global fronts, along with links to press releases and external sources that also address the issues at hand. Ipsos Reid also offers access to free news alerts via email, keeping you current on recently released research polls.

As in-depth as your sources for e-business and online advertising news may be, it’s often the advertising veterans who provide you with the real story. Communities sustained by discussion lists such as I-Advertising and AIMS continue to provide a vast amount of information about everything from media buying tactics to inside scoops on how to collect outstanding payments from tightfisted clients and suppliers. Add these to your list of must-have subscriptions and start signing up! Knowledge is power, right?

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