LONDON: More than a fifth of marketers in the UK think advertising, excluding that carried out on the internet, delivers the worst overall return on investment among the various tools at their disposal, a study by the Chartered Institute of Marketing says.

The onset of the economic downturn has led to an increased emphasis on advertising accountability, although it has been argued that a rigid ROI-centric approach can have negative consequences for brands, even in the current adverse climate.

Based on a survey of 1,233 marketing professionals by Ipsos MORI, the CiM found that 24% of this group believed customer relationship management offered the best return on investment.

This perception reached a high of 31% among respondents in the financial and other services industries, with 30% their counterparts in the telecoms sector also agreeing with the statement.

PR was mentioned as providing the strongest payback by 12% of the panel, the second-highest score of the channels assessed.

By contrast, offline advertising was seen as offering the least impressive performance on this measure, with 23% of the sample ranking it as the lowest-scoring medium.

More specifically, 38% of contributors from the technology and telecoms sectors held this view, while 11% of all industry specialists polled said the same in relation to sponsorship.

David Thorp, the CiM's director of research and professional development, said: "As belts tighten it is clear that marketing spend on advertising is under pressure but it's refreshing to see that investment in "knowing your customer", through CRM systems, marketers are able to wisely concentrate their spend in the most effective activities."

Data sourced from Brand Republic; additional content by WARC staff