Almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of companies now have an e-marketing strategy in place, according to a survey by NewWorld Commerce backed by Marketing Week.
Websites are seen as the most important element of an e-marketing campaign, while sponsorship of third-party sites is the least popular online option.
Early adopters of technology, such as the telecommunications, IT and services industries, are leading the pack in terms of e-marketing activity, with 76 per cent of telecoms marketers claiming an e-strategy, followed by 75 per cent in the service sector and 60 per cent in IT.
Some 73 per cent of companies surveyed include e-mail marketing within their strategy, and 58 per cent plan to use wider e-marketing.
Marketers say there are four factors that encourage them to use more e-marketing: interactivity; cost-effectiveness; efficiency as a means of regular contact; and speed.
Means of customer acquisition revealed varying results, with websites – a medium that barely existed five years ago – now viewed as the fourth most effective method, while banner advertising was rated “top dog” by only three per cent.
But despite this e-enthusiasm, the majority of marketers are still wedded to good-old-fashioned above-the-line advertising. Some 85 per cent of respondents regard it as an essential part of a campaign, slightly ahead of direct marketing, at 84 per cent. About half of those who responded to the survey admitted their current website did not integrate well with offline marketing activity.
Value-added services, such as newsletters, loyalty programmes and surveys are growing, with 63 per cent of respondents offering a newsletter. However, these are only being moved online slowly, with 24 per cent of respondents offering an online version of their newsletter in addition to the hard copy.
“The overriding message from this survey,” says Donal Daly, chief executive of NewWorld Commerce, “is that the Internet is viewed as an essential part of any marketing campaign. However, the benefits that bring value to the users, such as real-time communication and two-way interactivity, are yet to be realised by the majority of respondents.
“More visionary marketers see the Internet as a dynamic, interactive tool for building customer relationships – not just a means of cheaper outbound messages and a repository for static information.”
– The survey, run in conjunction with Marketing Week’s eMarketing Conference, invited comments from 4,000 marketing personnel. More than ten per cent responded and 60 per cent were at marketing manager level or above, with 14 per cent at marketing director level.