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As the world of online advertising grows, it has inevitably become more complex.

Today's marketers are challenged to implement multiple techniques—from search to affiliate to media advertising and more—to achieve different results. Each channel has its own set of rules, its own potential results, even its own manager (whether outsourced or in-house) to keep things running smoothly.

Although, in theory, each channel can operate on its own, issues can arise when individual marketing channels operate in silos.

Lack of communication can incite conflict, which could lead to lost affiliates and increased competition, among other things. Less dramatic but possibly more damaging are the potentially positive results that can be missed by optimizing within but not across channels.

Pulling together reports from separate entities isn't enough to maximize the opportunity of the cross-channel mix; rather, advertisers need a holistic approach with established rules for each channel.

But with so many channels and so many rules, where's an advertiser to begin?

Diagnose the problem, and scope out the competition

To get a feel for what you're doing right and what could be working better, scope out your competition and see what is and isn't working for them.

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Keith Kochberg is the CEO of iMarketing Ltd.(www.imarketingltd.com), a full-service online-marketing agency.