Marketers are investing in the customer experience to drive competitive advantage and profitable revenue growth, according to a survey of marketing executives by Gartner Inc. The survey found that on average companies are spending about 10% of their annual 2014 revenue on overall marketing activities, with 50% planning an increase in 2015.

Digital marketing spending averaged one-quarter of the marketing budget in 2014. The survey found that of the 51% of companies that plan to increase their digital marketing budget in 2015, the average increase will be 17%.

The firm’s Digital Marketing Spending report is based on a survey of 315 individuals in the U.S., Canada and the U.K.. conducted in July and August 2014.

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

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,” McLellan said. “Hence, marketers manage a much more balanced and integrated marketing mix than in previous years, which were characterized by online and offline silos.”

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