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Gartner survey shows companies turning to digital marketing

A Gartner survey shows digital marketing budgets will increase by eight percent in 2015 as this enables companies to better connect with customers.

In order to drive business advantage and profitable revenue growth, marketers are investing in the online customer experience, the Gartner survey suggests.

Marketing budgets on a whole were robust this year. On average, 10.2 percent of the annual budget of a company is spent on marketing, and 50 percent are planning to increase the budget next year.

Of the marketing budget, about 25 percent was spent on digital advertising this year and this is set to increase. Next year, 51 percent of companies plan to increase their digital marketing budget by an average of 17 percent.

"The amount of the marketing expense budget spent on customer experience in 2014 is remarkably consistent across all key survey demographics, averaging 18 percent," says Jake Sorofman, research director at Gartner.

"The survey also found that the highest marketing technology investment in 2014 is for customer experience. Customer experience is also considered by many companies to be the top innovation project, just edging out product innovation."

As companies invest in ways to deliver relevant advertising to customers, digital marketing will continue to grow. A notable trend is the use of programmatic media – this helps marketers to target a specific audience and automate bidding roles for ads based on their business values. Mobile marketing is another top advertising trend.

Laura McLellan, research vice president at Gartner says, “The line between digital and traditional marketing continues to blur."

“For marketers in 2014, it's less about digital marketing than marketing in a digital world. Hence, marketers manage a much more balanced and integrated marketing mix than in previous years, which were characterized by online and offline silos. The resulting digital experience moves customers toward a more self-service buying model, allowing reductions in sales budgets that were designed around older, physical models,” she says.

Those surveyed were primarily in North America, across a number of sectors including financial services, high-tech, manufacturing, media, retail, transportation and hospitality.