More than six in ten UK firms are looking to increase spending on direct internet marketing this year, new research from Alterian has revealed.

The analytics firm said that 62 per cent of the 1,500 marketers and agencies it polled intended to invest more in online marketing in 2009, with overall spending to rise for the sixth year in a row.

However, the company pointed out that one-fifth of respondents appeared to place little importance on their websites, which could mean that some businesses are overlooking a vital part of their internet marketing operations, Alterian chief executive David Eldridge commented.

"Marketers must not forget that their own website is the destination that many of their activities drive customers and prospects to, and they need to be extracting the maximum value from this cornerstone of any forward-thinking company’s marketing activity," he said.

About 43 per cent of small businesses that use their websites to advertise themselves and link to suppliers have experienced an increase in turnover as a result, according to a 2008 survey by the Federation of Small Businesses.

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