Consumers are more connected now than they have ever been before, via various ‘always-on’ devices at home and at large in the outside world.

It’s an incredible shift in public behaviour and one that can be used to any businesses’ advantage. After all the ability to measure, analyse and predict what a consumer will do next can mean delivering a fully optimised personalise experience, a key differentiator in a crowded and increasingly digital savvy industry.

However many organisations are still struggling to join-up their various channels and touchpoints, and are merely collecting masses of data rather than doing anything useful with it.

Our report explores the issues above as well looking at how companies are orchestrating their marketing activities across a range of channels. The research is based on a survey of over 400 client-side digital marketers and ecommerce professionals, carried out in July and August 2015.

Here are four key takeaways from the research.

The impact of cross-channel interactions on business objectives

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of marketers rate the impact of cross-channel interactions on conversion as ‘major’, with more than half of respondents also saying that integrated engagement across channels has a major impact on improving retention (58%) and on ensuring advocacy (55%).

It is no surprise that cross-channel marketing continues to be seen as a key component of customer experience and something which has a tangible impact on business performance.

The integration of marketing across channels is still a priority

Two-thirds of survey respondents (68%) say it’s a priority for ‘all marketing to be integrated across channels’, which is almost unchanged since the 2014 survey.

As was the case last year, we also asked whether companies were demonstrating certain characteristics which are an important part of successful cross-channel marketing, such as cross-functional teams and measurement of success.

Disappointingly, our survey data shows that there is no sign that companies are getting better in these areas, and the percentages are lower than last year for measurement of both the financial results and the customer retention benefits of cross-channel marketing.

Strategy and planning are given the most amount of time in digital marketing campaigns

The area that marketers spend the most time on during the typical digital marketing campaign is ‘strategy and planning’, way ahead of ‘content’ and ‘testing’.

Almost two-thirds of respondents (64%) listed this area as their first choice.

Given that lack of planning is often cited as a barrier to cross-channel marketing, this is certainly a positive development. It seems likely that companies have realised the importance of good digital practice and are allocating more resources to planning.

Email is most valuable channel in terms of time spent

The website, email and SEO are viewed by marketers as the channels that provide the greatest perceived value.

Email was placed first by 30% of respondents, followed by website (22%), and SEO (12%).

Effective cross-channel marketing involves getting a good balance across different channels, whilst keeping the consumer journey in mind.

However some channels are likely to remain the responsibility of specialist technology agencies or technology departments for the foreseeable future. That being said, other channels can and should be exploited more fully by marketers.

To learn more, download our full Cross-Channel Marketing Report 2015.