SYDNEY: The top five marketing channels which antipodean marketers regard as over-rated are all offline, new research has said, and though they are currently spending more through offline channels that is set to change.

The Emerging Trends in Digital Marketing report from customer management software company Sitecore was based on a survey of 330 marketers from both clients and agencies in Australia and New Zealand. It found that the two traditional channels were most highly over-rated, print by 38% of respondents followed by TV on 24%. Then came trade shows (16%), direct mail (15%) and radio (13%).

Offline expenditure however, accounted for 61% of marketing budgets, compared to just 39% for online and digital activities.

Sitecore noted that the extent of digital investment varied according to size of organisation, with smaller firms, those earning less than $2m annually, investing 55% of the marketing budget on digital activity, medium firms, earning $2m to $19m, allocating 46%, while the largest, those with revenues over $20m, spent just 33% here.

It expected this situation to change radically in 2014, however, with large and medium firms boosting their investments in online activity and directing roughly three-quarters of the total marketing budget to digital marketing.

"The digital marketing landscape is undergoing a rapid evolution," said Robert Holliday, Sitecore managing director for Australia/New Zealand, and he noted that "while there are still many untapped opportunities, Australian and New Zealand marketers are clearly positive in their outlook and keen to progress their use of digital channels."

Online marketing channels were regarded as offering the greatest growth opportunity for organisations, which were looking to social media, emails to the customer database, mobile and personalisation as their leading options.

Financial resources were a limiting factor for half of marketers (51%) while a third also saw a lack of understanding of digital marketing, and a lack of capabilities in digital software as hampering growth in this area.

B&T highlighted an interesting difference in perception here, as 27% of marketers with 15 years or more of experience rated their digital skills as "excellent", while just 13% of marketers with less than five years – supposedly the digital natives – said the same.

Some 80% of marketers tracked ROI on their digital activities, but the report expressed some surprise that 20% were not doing so. And of those that were, some 14% said they were unsure of how best to use this information.

Data sourced from B&T, Sitecore; additional content by Warc staff