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Cross-channel integration key factor in boosting sales

Cross-channel integration key factor in boosting sales
Tuesday July 10 2012

Integrating display, social and mobile with email and web programs as part of an overall cross-channel marketing strategy has a strong impact on sales conversions and return on investment, according to a new study.

The research, from Responsys and Econsultancy, surveyed 650 UK digital marketers.

The report asserts that to cater for this shift towards online, companies have to transform their skills, processes, business models, budgets and strategies to market across the digital consumer lifecycle. But the study shows that a lack of channel integration and clear cross-channel marketing strategy is hampering marketers’ success.

The Econsultancy and Responsys study reveals less than a third (32%) of UK marketers rate themselves as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ at driving coordinated marketing campaigns across different channels.

When asked about factors preventing marketers from executing effective coordinated campaigns, a quarter (25%) said that a lack of a clearly defined strategy was the biggest barrier.

Low levels of integration between marketing channels is preventing marketers from having engaging digital conversations with customers, with the majority of companies still in the early stages of developing an integrated approach to marketing. Just 28% of marketers, for example, integrate social media with display ads and only 14% with mobile campaigns.

Despite email being one of the most regularly used channels, most companies fail to integrate their email programs with other marketing channels. Only a minority integrate email with direct mail (29%), search engine marketing (24%), display advertising (14%) and mobile (14%), and just half (51%) say email and social are integrated.

According to the study, mobile integration is another stumbling block to achieving a complete cross-channel strategy. More than half of UK marketers (51%) do not tie their mobile marketing efforts with any other channels, and the rest only undertake basic mobile integration into wider campaigns. Of the 49% that do integrate mobile, over a third (35%) say their integration is very basic.

However, the research showed that marketers that do integrate channels are seeing a positive impact on sales conversions. Those integrating display advertising with social media (59%) say this has a positive impact on conversions, and 55% say integration with mobile has resulted in a sales uplift. More than a third (37%) integrate search engine marketing with display advertising and of those, 70% report a rise in conversions. Those integrating on-site content management with display advertising (44%) say it has a positive impact (66%).

When asked about future trends, most marketers (59%) think greater uptake of display advertising in mobile applications and integration with social media is very significant. However, a third (33%) believe that personalised adverts on smart TVs is not significant, indicating that it may be too early for smart TVs to be recognised as a marketing channel.

Simon Robinson, Senior Marketing and Alliances Director for Responsys EMEA, comments on the findings, “This research points to a staggering gap between what digital marketers in the UK know they should be doing, and what is actually happening on the ground. The results are clear – companies that integrate channels as part of a coordinated marketing strategy see significant payback, especially in the areas of display, social and mobile, and those that do not, risk losing out to the competition. To get ahead in today’s environment, marketers need to do more than just adding new channels to innovate, they must think strategically about how they work together to be effective.”
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