50% of businesses believe that social offers greatest marketing opportunities over next year

Digital marketing offers greater opportunities for businesses over the next year than more traditional channels, according to a new report.

When asked to identify which three marketing channels offer the greatest opportunities, half of brands (50%) mentioned social media followed by email (43%) and websites (35%).

In fact the top 10 most cited channels are all online, with the most popular offline channel being direct mail at 8%.

The findings come from the new Econsultancy and Responsys Cross-Channel Marketing Report 2013, which contains a comprehensive analysis of the use of online and offline marketing channels, integration of display advertising and use of mobile for marketing.

Which three marketing channels offer the greatest opportunities over the next year? (Client-side respondents)

The report is based on a survey of nearly 900 Econsultancy subscribers from both companies and agencies, carried out in April and May 2013.

Agency respondents gave slightly different responses when asked the same question, as although social marketing came out on top (48%) the mobile web came in close second (44%) followed by SEO (31%).

Integration of online and offline channels

The survey also asked respondents the extent to which digital channels are integrated with their overall marketing activity.

With the customer journey being recognised as a non-linear activity that involves multiple touch points, a joined-up customer experience has become an increasingly important priority for marketers.

And in general the picture is quite positive, as for each digital discipline a majority of respondents said that it was very or quite integrated with their overall marketing.

To what extent would you say that each of these channels or disciplines is integrated with your overall marketing activity? (Client-side respondents)

However, the level of integration across mobile appears to be significantly less than with other channels. Just 20% of companies say their efforts with the mobile web are very integrated with their overall marketing activity, with similar percentages for mobile messaging (23%) and mobile apps (17%).

With smartphone use and penetration continuing to rise, this indicates that the majority of companies have not been able to integrate their mobile efforts with the other parts of their marketing activity.

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50% of businesses believe that social offers greatest marketing opportunities over next year

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