Driven by more intense competition, most businesses are expecting to increase their investment in mobile marketing over the next few years, according to a study by digital offers marketplace operator RetailMeNot. This article is copyright 2015 The Best Customer Guide.

The company's research, conducted by WBR Research in the UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands, found that more than half of senior business decision makers feel that their investment in digital marketing is not sufficient, with 87% of respondents planning to increase their investments in mobile marketing.

In response to marketers' most important expressed objectives to drive sales (74%), acquire new customers (72%) and increase website traffic (37%), marketers are continuing to increase their investment in digital marketing. Of the businesses surveyed, 92% plan to increase digital spend in the next 3 to 5 years. The majority of brands are now investing in some form of digital marketing activity, with 66% of marketers currently investing more than 50% of their budget on digital.

While marketers surveyed use on average 8 different marketing channels, there is a clearly a shift from traditional advertising strategies to more targeted, digital marketing tactics to attract consumers.

The most popular digital channel for marketers is email, which is touted as the killer outbound channel for marketers in the digital age. The popularity of email as a digital marketing tactic is closely followed by social media and paid search. The study reveals that 8 out of 10 marketers are seeing much higher ROI for digital marketing channels, compared to traditional channels. Only 25% of the surveyed companies are investing in radio and only 30% in billboard advertising.

The study also confirmed the growing importance of mobile, with 87% of respondents planning to increase their spent in this area. While the vast majority of the respondents (71%) aim to drive ecommerce sales directly on these devices, they also acknowledge that the final conversion may happen on a different channel (63%). Nevertheless, it is also noteworthy that nearly 1 out of 10 of the retailers surveyed (9%) still don't have a mobile strategy at all.

Despite the general excitement about mobile marketing, many surveyed retailers appear little confident about their mobile own offering. While most businesses are satisfied with their desktop service and 2 out of 3 even feel that they're ahead of their competitors, they are doubting their mobile apps and websites. This is particularly true in the UK, where more than half of respondents (56%) feel that they're behind the curve with regards to their mobile website and 7 out of 10 (70%) feel that their mobile app is not as competitive those from other businesses in their industry.

In a competitive market, many of the marketers surveyed admitted to having concerns over their use of digital marketing channels compared to competitors, and 63% of respondents feel they could be taking more advantage of digital marketing. As a result, these marketers are looking to harness new technologies in order to fight for market space. When asked, 52% of respondents said they were willing to invest in new technologies before they had been tested for ROI in an attempt to maintain a position ahead of their competitors on the mobile channel.

"European retail has been characterised by strong growth in online and mobile shopping in recent years. As a result, marketers are racing to discover the most efficient means to attract and satisfy new customers in the digital environment, all the while enriching and personalising the customer experience across all channels," concluded RetailMeNot senior vice president, Giulio Montemagno. "This confirms marketers' enthusiasm for the potential of current and future digital marketing opportunities, despite the fact that almost two thirds of the respondents feel that they're not yet using these technique to their full potential. Targeting consumers with offers on their mobile device, which can be redeemed in store or online, can help drive sales and differentiation in a way that is highly relevant to the target audience."