GLOBAL: Customer experience is now the next battlefield for brands, according to a new study, which highlights how marketer's priorities are shifting with implications for business structures and investment in technology.

For its fourth annual State of Marketing report, Salesforce Research surveyed 3,500 marketing leaders around the world and reported that a focus on customer experience is reshaping mindsets across B2C, B2B and B2B2C markets.

Two thirds (68%) of these marketers said their company is increasingly competing on the basis of customer experience, while a similar proportion reported that their marketing teams are leading relevant initiatives.

The shift in priorities towards delivering a superior customer experience is having knock-on effects in terms of organisational change, while technology – and especially artificial intelligence – is raising the bar as regards efficiency and personalisation.

The need to change gear was evident in the results of an earlier Salesforce survey which found that 52% of consumers worldwide were likely to switch brands if a company didn't personalise communications to them; for business buyers that proportion rose to 65%.

These customer expectations have led marketers to concentrate on providing a consistent experience across every channel, a task that is being hampered by data difficulties and budget constraints.

Marketers continue to face problems leveraging data from different sources to create a shared single view of the customer. Only 23% of marketers in the latest survey indicated they were 'extremely satisfied' with their ability to use customer data to create a relevant experience.

Further, they said that 34% of their current budget was spent on channels they didn't know existed five years ago – a proportion expected to rise to 40% by 2019.

Nonetheless, 51% of marketers had the identical message broadcasted from one channel to the next.

"In a hyper-connected, knowledge-sharing economy, where each engagement must deliver unique value, the 'spray and pray' approach of content sharing and message will no longer be tolerated by consumers or business buyers," stated Vala Afshar, Chief Digital Evangelist for Salesforce.

Data sourced from Salesforce, Huffington Post; additional content by WARC staff