NEW YORK: The vast majority of marketers are still having difficulties in delivering a coherent message in their global campaigns, a new study has found.

Buddy Media partnered with Harris Interactive to survey 105 senior executives, in order to find out how they approached marketing products in several countries.

Overall, 93% of the panel said that reaching customers across the world with a "unified brand message" was either very or somewhat challenging.

Elsewhere, 89% regarded identifying cost-effective tactics as problematic, a figure that fell to 88% for managing overall outlay and 81% for determining which channels to employ.

Some 70% of contributors afforded such a status to tracking return on investment, leveraging social media and finding appropriate local partners.

A majority also thought customising messages in individual countries and developing content for individual markets was a meaningful obstacle.

When asked to choose which marketing tools were typically the most effective, 81% of the brand managers polled selected websites tailored to the local market.

Print advertising claimed second spot on 72%, with television on 60%, radio and social media fan pages on 54%, and paid-for exposure on sites like Facebook on 51%.

Looking to social networking more specifically, 72% of contributors agreed that this medium would be an effective tool to reach consumers.

Some 57% of participants were active on Facebook, although uptake has higher among the larger companies featured.

The primary obstacles included proving the payback on this activity on 48%, managing and maintaining information on 45% and effectively engaging audiences on 42%.

"In order for bands to effectively reach consumers across the globe, they need to heed the traditional marketing/PR maxim of thinking global and acting local," said Michael Lazerow, ceo of Buddy Media.

"Cost, scale, segmented audiences, inconsistent design and incomplete analytics are all local branding dilemmas that companies have faced in the past when it comes to social marketing."

In May, Forrester, the research firm, released a report which argued that 2010 "will be the year in which marketers get their house in order by forging internal consensus around a global strategy."

Vodafone, Coca-Cola and Anheuser-Busch InBev were some of the companies mentioned as having started to make substantial in-roads in this area.

Data sourced from Buddy Media; additional content by Warc staff