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Frustrated by Difficulty, Half of Marketers Forego Analytics

Marketers will continue to invest significantly in online marketing this year, but less than half (47%) actually use analytics to measure their campaigns, and one-fifth only have a 'basic' website, according to the sixth annual marketing survey from Alterian (via MarketingCharts).

The study of 1,500 marketers, agencies, marketing services providers and systems integrators found that a predicted increase in online ad formats for the sixth consecutive year as organizations begin to look to social networks as well as email, SEO and pay-per-click. These findings are consistent with other results that show email, display and search are the most effective marketing tactics.However, marketers are not necessarily measuring the impact these increased dollars will have, according to Alterian.

One quarter of marketers say analyzing results is the hardest part of any campaign:

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"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," said David Eldridge, CEO of Alterian. "What is less encouraging is the low number of marketers who use analytics to evaluate and refine their campaigns."

2009 Spending and Investment Priorities

The survey report also offers an analysis of both online and offline marketing spending and investment priorities over the coming year:

  • Online direct marketing is set to see healthy growth this year, with nearly two-thirds (62%) of organizations citing planned increases in budgets. More than one quarter (26%) say their online budgets will remain static, while 6% say they will decrease.
  • Despite the widespread coverage of the death of offline media and marketing, only a fifth of those surveyed are predicting a reduction in offline direct marketing investment, with 38% predicting it will actually increase.

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Multiple Applications Commonplace

Marketers are still using multiple applications to do their job, with around a quarter of respondents using more than seven applications on campaigns, the study found. The fact that half of those surveyed (51%) use between three and six applications, means that a vast majority of marketers are attempting to analyze data from disparate systems, with little or no integration, Alterian said.

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"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 formany organizations as they continue to market in the dark," Eldridge said.

Websites Not at Campaign Core

Though online investments are the focus of many campaigns, one-fifth of respondents claimed that their website was only 'basic' and not at the core of its marketing activity. With increased investment predicted in online marketing channels, companies need to better understand the importance of the website in effectively underpinning its online presence, Alterian said, adding that this statistic demonstrates a need for companies to better understand the channels available to them before investing their marketing funds.

"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," Eldridge added.

About the survey: The Alterian 2008 Survey polled a total of 1,545 marketing professionals. The annual survey, now in its sixth year, was conducted in North America and the UK October 1 - December 4, 2008 through a dedicated website landing page, and hardcopy, in-person interviews at the 2008 Direct Marketing Association Conference and Exhibition in Las Vegas, the 2008 Ad:tech Exhibition in New York and the 2008 Interactive Marketing Show in Manchester.

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