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Gartner Survey Reveals Digital Marketing Budgets Will Increase By 10 Percent in 2014

Digital Marketing Budget Increase Reflects Focus on Customer Experience

Digital marketing budgets will rise by 10 percent in 2014, following a double-digit percentage increase in 2013, according to a survey of marketing executives by Gartner, Inc. The survey found that, on average, companies spent 10.7 percent of their annual 2013 revenue on overall marketing activities, with digital marketing spending averaging 3.1 percent of revenue.

These findings are included in Gartner's Digital Marketing Spending report that is based on a survey of 285 individuals located in the U.S., but answering mainly for their entire organization (only 21 percent reported U.S.-only data). Respondents represent organizations with more than $500 million in annual revenue (average revenue $4.4 billion) across eight industries: financial services and insurance, high-tech, communications, manufacturing, media, retail, government and healthcare. The survey took place from July through September 2013. The report examines how marketers are allocating their budgets, what activities are contributing to marketing success and other factors.

"Marketing leaders are securing bigger budgets to define markets, develop offerings, and attract, acquire and retain customers," said Yvonne Genovese, managing vice president at Gartner. "Digital marketing is taking an increasing share of the marketing budget with annual digital marketing operating budgets totaling 3.1 percent of a company's revenue in 2013, as compared with 2.6 percent in 2012, representing a 20 percent increase."

Eleven percent of respondents said they spent more than half of their marketing budgets on digital activities in 2013 compared with only 3.0 percent in 2012. Digital marketing represented an average of 28.5 percent of the total marketing budget in 2013, as compared with 25.5 percent in 2012.

A further survey finding was that 77 percent of companies have a chief customer officer (CCO) or the equivalent.

"Customer experiences with a brand or organization span so many channels — both online and off — that customers have come to expect consistent experiences, no matter where an interaction initially takes place," said Laura McLellan, research vice president at Gartner. "Customer touchpoints include websites, mobile apps, social profiles, directory listings, on-site search, email interactions, communities, call center and more; hence, the increasing popularity of the role of the chief customer officer to help guide the customer right through the buying cycle and beyond."

Eighty-one percent of organizations were also found to have a chief marketing technologist in 2013, up from 70 percent in 2012.

"Tracking and responding to audience intent and delivering contextually relevant experiences to influence a complex purchase path is among the great challenges faced by digital marketers today," said Jake Sorofman, research director at Gartner. "This requires a marketing technology leader who understands the requirements and issues associated with joining together disparate data sources and technologies, and who has a vision for future marketing requirements."

When it comes to budget allocation, marketing leaders support a diverse, and increasingly complex, marketing mix. The survey found that 12.2 percent — the biggest share of their digital marketing budget — was allocated to digital advertising in 2013, just as in 2012. However, marketers continue to wrestle with digital advertising's effectiveness. Industry associations, advertising agencies, media, technology, and metrics providers and brand advertisers are all working to address this concern by improving attribution models and cracking down on phony Web traffic.

Design, development and maintenance of the corporate website account for the second-largest share of digital marketing budgets as the increase of inbound marketing channels such as social networks, customer forums and the blogosphere creates more traffic on the corporate website. Digital commerce, social marketing and mobile marketing — three activities that increasingly overlap — are closely tied for the third-largest share of digital marketing budgets.

In 2014, marketers plan to make long overdue expenditures for mobile marketing tools and techniques.

"Until now, many marketers have taken a cautious approach to mobile because it involves so many variables such as different operating systems, devices and carriers," said Michael McGuire, research vice president at Gartner. "Now that more than 50 percent of American adults are smartphone owners, marketers are compelled to develop mobile strategies that ensure their products and services can be found, and purchased, by consumers on the go."

More detailed analysis and additional survey results are available in the free report "Digital Marketing Budgets Increase, Reflecting Focus on Customer Experience." The report is available on Gartner's website at http://www.gartner.com/dmspend.

This research is part of the Gartner for Marketing Leaders program. This program provides real-time, personalized digital marketing guidance, from vision through execution. Gartner for Marketing Leaders is focused on helping digital marketers succeed in eight key areas: emerging digital marketing trends and techniques, social marketing, mobile marketing, monetizing digital marketing through commerce, multichannel marketing, data-driven marketing, digital marketing essentials and digital marketing programs. Additional information is available at http://www.gartner.com/digitalmarketing. For additional details, email GML@gartner.com.

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Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world's leading information technology research and advisory company. We deliver the technology-related insight necessary for our clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, we are the valuable partner to clients in over 9,000 distinct enterprises worldwide. Through the resources of Gartner Research, Gartner Executive Programs, Gartner Consulting and Gartner Events, Gartner works with every client to research, analyze and interpret the business of IT within the context of their individual role. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, USA, and has 6,400 associates, including more than 1,480 research analysts and consultants, and clients in 85 countries. For more information, visit www.gartner.com.

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