I was just talking with Suresh Vittal on my team about how to project interactive marketer investments in technology.  In some cases in the US Interactive Marketing Forecast, we include technology investments in our projections of marketer spend on a given channel (for example, email marketing spend includes investment in email message delivery).  But for the most part, the IM forecast is based on current and projected media spend.

So the conversation Suresh and I had was to think through enough assumptions, to estimate how much marketers invest in technology. 

I’ll tell you, my overall hypothesis is that there is not significant investment in technology among interactive marketers today.  I certainly support that IMers spend on agency fees and professional services engagements.  But outside of ad serving and email delivery, what technologies are they buying to aid their interactive program management?  I’m not talking here about content management tools, or commerce platforms associated with managing a Web site.  I mean marketing management packages used to create, analyze and execute interactive/online programs.  It feels to me that most of the interactive marketing technologies that are used, are accessed through a marketers’ agency relationship (and likely included as passed-through fees that are paid to the agency).

As interactive marketing investments grow, I see mid-market firms spending more on self-service technologies.  But I think enterprise firms will continue to leverage services relationships instead of packaged solutions for their IM program management and execution. 

I’m interested in writing something on yield management tools and ad serving in the coming months.  So I’d love to hear your thoughts on how interactive marketers leverage technology (sounds like a funny little paradox, I suppose.  But you know what I mean!).