An April 2015 Forrester Research report: The Year Of The Big Digital Shift, shared that nearly half of marketers plan to increase digital budgets in 2015. While the survey focused on B2C marketers, we believe this trend is emerging in all industries. The question then becomes, where will (and where should) this extra budget be spent and what impact will that have on advancing your digital marketing strategy? I thought it would be interesting to talk about a few emerging trends and how those trends may impact future digital marketing investments.

The three trends that I find most pertinent today are:

1. The CMO’s sphere of influence over technology spend is expanding.

With increasing digital marketing budgets as a percentage of overall marketing spend and a greater say in marketing IT spend, the CMO is in the driver’s seat when it comes to key purchasing decisions related to marketing technology. Sure, the CIO is still a pivotal player, but the increasing pace of technology acquisition will put greater pressure on marketers to get a better return on this investment.

Why this trend matters to digital marketing advancement: The impact is significant. Marketers need to invest in Big Data innovations to connect the dots across the complex customer journey, apply predictive analytics to turn this cross-channel data into customer intelligence, and implement automation to apply these insights to satisfy customer expectations.

2. The customer experience is emerging as the marketer’s next battlefield.

With the customer experience becoming the new differentiator for brands, marketing is taking ownership of the end-to-end customer relationship, expanding beyond initial acquisition to loyalty and retention. Therefore, 3rd party and “anonymous” data are no longer enough to drive personalised experiences. Data makes the difference and the ability to use digital intelligence effectively will set marketers apart in their quests for creating better customer experiences.

Why this trend matters to digital marketing advancement: This trend will force marketers to evolve their digital marketing strategy from a “campaign execution” paradigm to a “customer engagement” paradigm. This means an increased emphasis on customer lifecycle measurement, audience segmentation and advanced targeting to ensure a more meaningful and continuous conversation occurs between a brand and its customers at every touch point.

3. The evolution from “digital marketing” to “marketing in a digital world.”

With the lines between traditional and digital marketing blurring, marketing organisations are starting to break down the silos and look to marketing processes and programs that span both disciplines. A successful transition to this next generation of marketing will be dependent on people and process, not just the technology.

Why this trend matters to digital marketing advancement: This trend introduces some challenges and indicates that marketing organisations will need help making this transition. The companies that advance to an integrated marketing organisation will have a competitive advantage, but they need help combining the online and offline marketing worlds.

Based on our recent survey, we know that an increasing number of companies want to personalise experiences for their digital customers. They are making progress toward personalisation in unique ways, but the trends influencing those paths impact everyone. Finding the right (next) place to invest your marketing budget is challenging, but having a framework to aid in making those critical decisions can be helpful.