LONDON: The vast majority of UK brand owners are finding it hard to prove the business effects of their marketing activities, a study has suggested.

Sky IQ, the research unit of broadcaster BSkyB, surveyed 100 marketers, and reported the average company now uses six communications channels, and 50% employ seven or more.

The internet was the most commonly-used platform, on 76%, ahead of print ads with 71%, direct mail's score of 61% and exhibitions and conference on 56%, the same total as promotions.

Another 45% of businesses are leveraging social media, while outdoor advertising generated 39%, sponsorship 37% and television commercials 36%.

However, although a 97% majority of the panel agreed tracking the sales resulting from marketing was important, 75% lacked the appropriate means allowing them to do so.

More specifically, 88% of firms found it hard to show which channel prompted purchase decisions. The reasons for this included not knowing the influence of individual media, and using a large number of different mediums, on 50% and 46% in turn.

Given this, while 90% of organisations montiored the revenues derived from at least one marketing platform, just 25% cover all appropriate parts of the marketing mix.

The internet received such an assessment from 73% of enterprises, with mobile marketing on 49%, social media logging 48%, the same rating as PR. Outdoor followed on 42%.

Exactly 50% of executives stated TV ads were the hardest area to obtain accurate results data, a metric on which outdoor delivered 47%, matching PR, and email tied with social media on 42%.

Currently, 66% of marketers track ROI to justify expenditure choices for their own teams, but only 47% provide this evidence at the company-wide level.

For 56% of communications specialists, such information is used for budgeting, 54% draw on these statistics when planning and forecasting, and 41% deploy them to improve the customer experience.

In all, 95% of participants identified obstacles to proving ROI, with 64% citing the absence of appropriate technology. At present, the main sources of insight are tracking digital behaviour on 57%, and qualitative research on 54%.

Data sourced from Sky IQ; additional content by Warc staff