Understand, then plan; don't plan to understand as you go. E-mail marketing, Web site usability, and search marketing are the three tried-and-true pillars of digital marketing in terms of sustainable ROI.

There isn't a company today that can't see significant gains by improving its existing programs in these areas. Yet most have no idea of the fundamentals that actually drive success for a good e-mail campaign, for a strong customer experience on a Web site, or for combining SEO and PPC into one effective campaign.

Never mind integrating all three into a cohesive strategy that supports and drives the ROI for all. We execute (or have an agency execute for us) but never take the time to understand the fundamentals that make these efforts work.

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