The burgeoning online marketing industry has produced a veritable treasure trove of technologies and their associated tools to support your efforts. With this cache of options comes the need to be accurate in your selection, making sure the tool matches the objective.

This article will highlight some basic principles to help ensure that you make the right decision when faced with the choice of ever-expanding options.

Familiarize Yourself With the Terminology

You need to understand the technology and its implications before purchasing any online marketing tools.

It's imperative that you appreciate the difference between an ASP (applications service provider and a hosted solution, between tags and log files, between cookies and key values, between unique users and page impressions/views. If this is not possible, then it's highly recommended to hire or pay a knowledgeable adviser.

Define and Prioritize Your Objectives

It is vital that you define and prioritize your marketing campaign objectives before you start the search. Ask yourself and your team questions such as these: Are you looking for an ad server to improve your trafficking efficiency and manage keyword bids or to serve rich media and do time-lag to conversion analysis? Are you looking for an email tool to push 100 million emails per month or one that can do advanced CRM integration and conditional content segments?

The honest and considered answers to questions such as these will ensure that you do not get lured by features of the tools along the way. Again, if you don't know what objectives are possible, hire an adviser with industry expertise.

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Charisse Tabak is VP of client services at Acceleration (, a provider of marketing technology solutions.