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Marketers will continue to shift dollars from traditional to digital media in 2010, but simply including online ad campaigns and social media efforts is not enough for an effective marketing mix. According to the Alterian “Annual Survey 2009” report, the maturity of digital and social media requires integration of marketing strategies. Marketers must move from a focus on siloed campaigns to an emphasis on listening to and communicating with consumers across channels.

More than one-half of marketers worldwide reported directing at least “a fair amount” of effort toward integrating their communication strategies to emphasize multichannel consumer engagement.

“The age of sending out silo campaigns is long gone,” according to the report. “The only communications tolerated by consumers are those that are appropriate, timely and relevant—regardless of channel.”

The majority of marketers surveyed recognized social media as increasingly important to the marketing mix, while 14% went as far as to call it critical for success. It is yet another channel to be incorporated into an integrated communication strategy, rather than addressed on its own. And it can provide unique insights into the consumers who can now use earned media to build brands alongside marketers.

Most marketers say they are at least “prepared enough” to take advantage of new techniques in digital and social media, but more than one-third felt minimally prepared. Staff education and training was a substantial concern.

The largest group of respondents said some of their marketing staff had the skills to implement new customer engagement strategies, but that knowledge was generally restricted to personnel in digital roles. Only 17% said most or all of their staff was prepared, although 37% planned further investments in the area.

“Engaging with customers is becoming paramount and the yardstick by which we measure those brands that survive and those that don’t,” said David Eldridge, CEO of Alterian, in a statement. “Marketers now need to appeal to the individual and engage with customers on a one-to-one basis.”

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