LONDON: Many companies in Europe are struggling to implement an integrated approach to marketing and customer communications across different media channels, a study has found.

Pitney Bowes Software surveyed 250 marketers in France, Germany and the UK, and found 90% of respondents agreed it was becoming essential to integrate communications across different mediums.

The organisation also stated that the overwhelming majority of companies which were not placing an emphasis on this matter – some 23 out of the 25 laggards – were based in the UK.

"Barriers to achieving channel integration include the recent explosion in channel growth, a lack of strategy, concern over channel security, inability to be consistent across channels and fear of confusing customers," the study said.

More specifically, 32% of featured companies had experienced problems due to the diverse nature of their customer base, making unified messaging a challenge. Scores here reached 38% for France, versus 26% in Germany.

For another 38% of French corporations, one of their biggest shortcomings was related to a considerably more basic issue, in that they failed to adequately follow up communications with customers.

Elsewhere, 31% of their British counterparts had issues with precise targeting, exemplified by failings such as sending out offers and promotions that did not meet the needs of recipients.

Moreover, adequately implementing mass targeting campaigns was an obstacle for 33% of French firms, falling to 27% in the UK and 19% in Germany.

Overall, 94% of respondents thought multichannel marketing was a strategy with considerable potential, especially in terms of saving them time and money.

However, 74% of French companies still utilised just one channel in at least some of their campaigns, measured against 60% of their German rivals and 49% of British operators.

"In this information age, customers expect to be understood by their suppliers," said Gary Roberts, EVP, EMEA at Pitney Bowes Software.

"Unless companies develop consistent cross-channel communications, their ability to develop profitable, long-term relationships will be seriously impacted."

Data sourced from Pitney Bowes Software; additional content by Warc staff