Online marketing is flexing its muscles. Every day, marketers move more of their budgets from traditional outlets to new, innovative online channels.

Online marketing offers unheard-of control and access to marketing data, including the ability to track website visits, monitor traffic patterns, control costs, and target potential customers more effectively.

In the software industry, that trend is especially relevant because customers are well acquainted with using the Internet to research new products and services. They expect instant gratification and easy access to information.

An integrated online-marketing strategy provides a good conduit, but too many companies are underutilizing that approach.

The Evolution of Online Marketing

Online marketing is nothing new for software marketers. It's only natural that the software industry and computer-software users migrated to the Internet early on. So although the idea of online marketing isn't new, how software is marketed online continues to evolve.

Initially, online marketing meant being able to request a demo CD of a software product from a website or via email. As broadband connections became ubiquitous, the trend shifted to include software downloads as well. Unfortunately, that is where the growth of online marketing for software trials has stopped for too many companies.

The next evolution in online marketing is the online software demo, which is delivered on demand through a customer's Web browser.

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Jayson Gehri is director of marketing and client relations at Runaware, Inc. (, a global leader in online demos and software marketing.