NEW YORK: Marketers must overcome a diverse range of obstacles in the digital space if they are to take on the "expanded role" this medium promises them, IBM has argued.

The firm polled 350 executives, 66% of which had taken “ownership” of one-to-one marketing across various channels, standing at 57% for serving such messages during purchase, and 47% for offers and customer care.

Another 43% made suggestions regarding supply networks based on consumer demand, all indicating an “extended role” for marketers beyond the traditional "4Ps" of product, price, place and promotion.

Some 41% of those questioned asserted that the growth of channel and device choice was among the top three challenges they now faced, coming in at 33% for increasing customer collaboration and influence.

A further 28% stated financial restraints and proving ROI were particularly problematic. The "data explosion", on 26%, and decreasing brand loyalty and effectively leveraging social media, both on 22%, also featured here.

"CMOs and CIOs, an 'odd couple' in some respects, will be the catalysts in … enabling the types of personalized multichannel brand relationships that today's customers demand," said Yuchun Lee, vice president, IBM Enterprise Marketing Management Group.

Exactly 25% of firms use mobile ads, and 48% plan to. Elsewhere, 46% boast mobile sites and 43% expect to soon, matching the scores for apps, while 27% had deployed location-based targeting and 43% will in the future.

The uptake for brand pages on social networks was pegged to hit 91% by the end of 2012, reaching 88% for microblogs, 87% for blogs, 82% for social media ads and 77% for utilising user-generated content.

However, to date, just 21% of operators develop mobile marketing tactics as part of integrated campaigns, versus 79% doing so discretely or an "ad hoc" basis.

These figures stood at 22% and 79% respectively when discussing social media. A 51% share of respondents also exploited the data sourced from social platforms to inform decisions about offers and messaging.

An additional 85% of participants concurred that marketing required an integrated suite of tools to manage multiple channels, but 58% saw existing systems as “too disparate”, and 57% lacked a budget to improve this situation.

Currently, 76% of marketers drive or are involved in the purchase decisions for relevant software, but 60% believed a lack of co-ordination with IT teams is hampering tech adoption.

A 58% majority agreed measuring effectiveness and managing numerous systems and data sources was a “significant challenge”, as did 51% for complex business rules and 45% for the amount of offers distributed.

Equally, 65% of respondents are "doing the basics" in terms of analysing and reporting visitor data, but only a third use it to target one-to-one offers or syndicate display advertising.

Data sourced from IBM; additional content by Warc staff