Companies are in the early stages of taking an integrated approach to their marketing, according to new research published by Econsultancy in association with Responsys. This article is copyright 2012 The Best Customer Guide.

The first Cross-Channel Marketing Report highlights the wide range of different channels or disciplines used for marketing, including websites, email, search engine optimisation and social. In addition to offline channels such as television and direct mail, significant numbers of companies are also utilising display advertising, paid search, affiliate marketing and mobile-related channels.

However, less than a third of companies (32%) rate themselves as "excellent" or "good" at driving marketing campaigns which are co-ordinated across different channels, highlighting the challenges of adopting an effective multichannel approach to marketing.

A lack of strategy, poor organisational structure and disparate technologies are the main barriers preventing companies from driving effective cross-channel campaigns.

A quarter of companies (25%) report that a lack of a clearly defined strategy is the greatest barrier to success. The fragmentation of departments and poor organisational structures is seen as the next greatest obstacle, cited by 23% of responding companies. Meanwhile, 14% of marketers said the most significant barrier to effective cross-channel campaigns is technology and systems which aren't joined up.

The research also found that there is a discernible positive impact on conversion rates when companies integrate different channels with display advertising, Some 59% of companies say integrating display advertising with social media has had a positive impact on conversions, while 55% say integration with mobile has resulted in an uplift.

Linus Gregoriadis, Research Director for Econsultancy, said: "It is encouraging that companies are beginning to integrate a wealth of different online and offline channels, but as this survey has shown, there is still a long way to go. Mobile and email are two areas where companies are still only undertaking basic integration, but as the survey findings show, there are clear benefits to employing an integrated approach, with significant impact on conversions."

Simon Robinson, Senior Marketing and Alliances Director (EMEA), added: "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 co-ordinated 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 survive 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."

The full report is available for purchase (US$400) directly from Econsultancy - click here.