Editor’s note: Jeffrey Cooper works with social media marketing firm Three Ships Media in Raleigh.

RALEIGH, N.C. - The world of digital marketing is an ever-evolving, complex universe. In today’s high-tech society, a digital marketing strategy can make or break your business.

Developing and executing a business’s digital strategy can be intimidating and requires an immense amount of domain expertise and collaboration across departments, vendors, and the c-suite.

One of the biggest challenges that faces fledgling online marketers is the need to choose and invest in partners and technologies that will enable their business for success.

Picking these partners and technologies is a crucial decision, as they can greatly affect how organized, agile, and effective your online brand strategy is.

Often times, marketing managers lack the knowledge or access to domain expertise that would allow them to make an informed decision.

Luckily, there are tools that can help make these complex decisions a little easier.

That’s right – tools to help you choose tools! Whether you’re looking for something as complex as an attribution modeling platform or something as basic as a content management system, don’t make a decision until you’ve tried using some of these free platforms:

Best Vendor helps you find software and vendor solutions by connecting you to a community of your peers. Learn about the most efficient applications and vendors from others who have walked this path before you. Browse through products by Best Vendor’s rating system or community popularity, and even view the product toolkits of particular people and companies.

Software Advice‘s product comparison engine is fueled by a team of knowledgeable software experts. Offering software solutions for everything from Customer Management to Enterprise Resource Planning, it is easy to find the right fit for your needs and industry. You are even able to contact their experts to receive a free consultation.

You would be surprised how much you can find out about your competitor’s toolset by looking at their website. Team up with a developer to go “under the hood” of your competitor’s homepage. The page source can reveal code relating to attribution engines, content testing platforms, web analytics software and much more.

Does the thought of code scare you? Then try using a browser plugin like Ghostery for Google Chrome that automatically detects and reveals third-party tracking codes and beacons.

Using a combination of these tools can be a big help. If you are still confused about where to start when equipping your business for digital marketing, feel free to give us a call.

(c) Three Ships Media