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Businesses to boost digital marketing budgets in 2015: Gartner

Gartner's latest survey suggests that 51 percent of companies plan to up their digital marketing budgets by an average of 17 percent for the upcoming year.

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Organizations are set to spend more on digital marketing in 2015, according to new figures released by Gartner as part of its Digital Marketing Spending report.

The survey suggests that 51 percent of companies plan to up their digital marketing budgets by an average of 17 percent. For comparison, digital marketing spending averaged one quarter of marketing spend in 2014.

Fueling the digital marketing trend is a focus on customer experience technology, specifically the type that allows advertisers to target their audiences with more relevant ads.

"The amount of the marketing expense budget spent on customer experience in 2014 is remarkably consistent across all key survey demographics, averaging 18 percent," said 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."

Of course, Gartner's prognosticating comes at a time of year when these types of spending predictions are commonplace. But the survey points out an important shift occurring within organizations both large and small: the power struggle between the CIO and the CMO.

With the rise of connected mobile devices, the Internet of Things and IT consumerization, businesses are now blending many aspects of IT and marketing, resulting in more decision-making power landing on the shoulders of the CMO. In fact, Gartner's 2014 CEO survey found that digital marketing was the No. 1-ranked CEO priority for technology-enabled business capability for investment during the next five years.

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