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.

David Moth

Published 5 September, 2013 by David Moth

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn

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Comments (5)


Jadwiga Oglesbee

I can see why social media marketing is still at the top. With new users everyday, and so many companies jumping on board, it's a great way to market a product. And it allows a marketing team to exercise its creativity to win over the competition.

almost 5 years ago


Michael Lawrence, Director of Marketing at Inc.

The younger generation that is coming into their purchasing years have grown up on sites like facebook, twitter, tumblr and the gang. I can't walk down the street without bumping into some kid with a mobile glued to his or her eyeballs anymore. It only makes sense that the biggest growth areas are social and mobile. SEO is getting tougher with google preferring larger brands more and more in the search results. The bar is getting set higher if you are trying to make money in the internet space.

almost 5 years ago


Visakan Veerasamy, Marketing at ReferralCandy

No surprise that Social Media Marketing is first, but I have to admit I wasn't expecting Email to be #2.

almost 5 years ago


Thomas Brew

Michael Lawrence is certainly right, I've started only recently in the internet marketing scene, I've been sat on the sidelines for four years, following big names and reading newsletters and I regret those years I spent without taking action. More to the point is that with this shift to the social media marketing, it's far harder to generate good, captive buyers in your traffic and another leap to turn them into leads. Had I started 5-10 years ago my job would become far far easier.

Related to the graphs, I'm surprised that organic search doesn't rank higher than email or paid search, it's surely more beneficial and economic in the long term than payed search.

almost 5 years ago


Michael Lawrence, Director of Marketing at Inc.


With most "link building" methods pretty much dead or devalued the cost to generate organic traffic has gone up since you are now forced into creating really valuable content in order to drive organic traffic. You need your content to be talked about to generate the social signals required to help you rank nowadays.

Google seems to have really switched over to preferring brands. The small operator is getting priced out of the market for organic search.

My cost of acquisition on sites like facebook is much lower than costs to generate content for organic search.

almost 5 years ago

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