Google Search On Apple iPad2Businesses are set to increase their digital marketing budget once again for the coming year. A Digital Marketing Spending report shows that 51% of businesses plan to increase their budgets by an average of 17% – while digital represented a quarter of all marketing spend in 2014.
The report by Gartner also confirms that the biggest investment within digital marketing strategies is the customer experience – just edging ahead of product innovation. Which shows more companies are adopting the key digital marketing principle of putting your target audience first to create a profitable customer experience.

Experience matters

As more customers move online businesses have been forced to adjust their marketing efforts to create a digital experience worth buying into. We’ve moved on from the days of simply optimising content for search engines and pulling in as much traffic as possible. These days it takes a more refined approach to attract the right kind of traffic and convert the highest percentage into paying customers.
From content that offers genuine value to optimising your website for a better conversion rate – it’s all about the customer experience now. Which is where the brands that are making big things happen right now have excelled. Social media has been leveraged to create an online customer service environment for consumers on the go, while email marketing campaigns are constantly trying to bring back happy customers for more.

Big brands are audience made

Gartner’s 2014 CEO survey has also found that digital marketing is the top priority for CEOs of technology-aware businesses and the focal point for investment over the next five years. So you can expect to see digital marketing budgets continue to increase as the new years roll by. And the reason business owners put such an emphasis on digital marketing for the long term is quite simple – ROI.
Big brands are made by their audience so it pays to create the best experience possible for them where they frequent the most – the web. It’s not just about customers either, but every member of your audience that contributes to your online presence, consumes your content and interacts with your brand in some way. The bigger the buzz about your business and what you do, the more potential clients find out about what you have to offer. And with user experience at the top of your digital marketing priorities, the more of these prospects you will turn into happy customers.

Merging the online and offline experience

Some of the key names in online marketing are already talking about a merger between the online and offline shopping experience. Facebook has set its sights on bringing the two together in 2015 with its Atlas platform that will change the way we approach advertising on multiple devices. Combining the online and offline shopping experience and offering personalised content for individual customers isn’t quite a reality yet, but this is the big challenge for marketers in the coming year.
The days of vague marketing strategies designed for the masses are coming to a close and its time to start thinking about how to channel customers at different stages of the buying process. The technology isn’t quite as effective as we would like it yet, but things are moving quickly. And you can expect to see more brands invest in personalised marketing strategies throughout 2015.