The online marketing suite has been a major focus of my writing and speaking engagements in 2011. I'm thankful to have had the opportunity to dive into this exciting and important topic from a variety of angles. Since my first blog post on this topic in February, we have published The Road To The Online Marketing Suite to define a development road map and maturity model for the online marketing suite and How The Online Marketing Suite Affects the Marketing Technology Playbook to look at the long-term implications of the online marketing suite on the marketing ecosystem.

In the wake of these reports, we found that the online marketing suite resonates strongly with Forrester's clients. Organizations definitely have an appetite for a framework to coordinate the content, execution, and analytics that comprise interactive marketing. But time and time again in client meetings, inquiry calls, and at events I've heard the same set of questions: What technologies, skills, and processes does my company need? Which approach should my company take to the online marketing suite? Where should my company start on its online marketing suite journey? 

These are topics we will continue to explore, and to get started we published How To Identify Online Marketing Suite Requirements this week. This research provides a needs assessment framework designed to help organizations craft their strategy for implementing the online marketing suite.

Organizations need to conduct a thorough needs assessment to evaluate their current capabilities and placement along the online marketing suite maturity spectrum. By understanding where there are gaps to remediate and strengths to build upon, users can translate the needs assessment findings directly into an actionable road map. To ensure consistency, the needs assessment framework is aligned with the five components of Forrester's online marketing suite adoption road map — strategy, measurement, resources, processes, and technology. 

While the value of the online marketing suite is easy to agree on in principle, in the real world it is a complex and daunting endeavor. But don't give up! Maximize your chances for success by approaching the online marketing suite as a long-term initiative by completing a realistic assessment of your current readiness, breaking down the complexity into manageable components, and building an effective road map based on your starting point, priorities, and business objectives. As customer engagement increasingly migrates to the Web, your business depends on it.