This year will see companies continue to invest significantly into online marketing, although less than half (47 per cent) of marketers actually use analytics to measure their campaigns.
This is the key finding of the sixth Alterian Annual Marketing Survey.
Online marketing investment is predicted to increase for the 6th consecutive year as organisations begin to look to social networks as well as email, SEO and pay-per-click advertising.
Yet alarmingly, only 47 per cent use analytics to measure the success of this activity. A quarter of those surveyed cite analysing results as the hardest part of any campaign.
David Eldridge, CEO Alterian, said: “With the current economic climate, it is refreshing to see results that show businesses investing in areas that can directly drive sales – essential in this market. What is less encouraging is the low number of marketers who use analytics to evaluate and refine their campaigns.”
With responses from more than 1,500 marketers, agencies, marketing services providers and systems integrators, the survey provides a comprehensive analysis of spending and investment priorities for the industry over the coming year.
Despite the widespread coverage of the death of offline media and marketing, only a fifth of those surveyed are predicting a reduction in offline marketing investment, with 38 percent predicting it will actually increase. Online direct marketing is also set to see healthy growth this year, with nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) of organisations citing planned increases in budgets.
Marketers are still using multiple applications to do their job, with around a quarter of respondents using more than seven applications on campaigns. With more than half of those surveyed (51 per cent) using between three and six applications it means that a vast majority of marketers are attempting to analyse data from disparate systems, with little or no integration.
Eldridge continued: “Multichannel marketing is commonplace in 2009, but the challenge for marketers is to measure the value and draw results across these various systems in order to provide a true picture of ROI back to the business. This seems to be a tough challenge for many organisations as they continue to market in the dark.”
The survey also provided interesting insights into the importance of a website in the overall marketing mix.
One-fifth of respondents claimed that their website was only ‘basic’ and not at the core of its marketing activity, but with increased investment predicted in online marketing channels, companies need to better understand the importance of the website in effectively underpinning its online presence.
This demonstrates a need for companies to better understand the channels available to them before investing their marketing funds.
Eldridge concluded: “Online marketing offers organisations almost limitless ways of engaging with their customers and prospects, but in the rush to make the most of these new technologies some businesses are getting the basics wrong.
"Marketers must not forget that their own website is the destination that many of their activities drive customers and prospects to, and they need to be extracting the maximum value this cornerstone of any forward-thinking company’s marketing activity.”
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