Customer Experience, The Future of Digital Marketing: 8 TrendsThe success of today's marketing organizations is largely driven by their adoption of digital technologies to transform the business. As a result, the CMO and CIO need to work hand in glove to ensure marketing is enabled with the IT tools and processes to further engage with customers in an increasingly connected world. Whether it is with mobile, cloud or social technologies, marketers must embrace digital if they want to be relevant to today's customers. But this can only be achieved by working closely with IT to fulfill the goals of the business.

As we move towards 2014, the digital transformation of today’s organizations will only accelerate, with several trends driving this forward.

1. Online Communities Fuel the Social Engine

The companies that will thrive in today’s connected world recognize that customers are their most important asset. Customers today have higher expectations than ever before, and communities can provide the perfect platform for them to share their opinions and needs.

The community serves as the central hub for all social interactions. Communities can help companies determine the content that makes the most significant impact on the market, adding a new level of intelligence that can then successfully drive sales. According to an IBM study, 85 percent of users say social networks influence their purchasing decisions. Moreover, the community serves as the “ultimate social network,” facilitating meaningful relationships between customers and companies to bolster customer satisfaction and, ultimately, sales.

2. Ignore the Cloud at Your Own Peril

More and more organizations are utilizing cloud-based tools and applications to advance their businesses. IDC predicts that by 2015, one of every seven dollars spent on packaged software, server and storage offerings will be done so through the public cloud model. Furthermore, SaaS models can help organizations enhance collaboration and share information in near real-time.

We use Salesforce Chatter to communicate critical updates throughout the company and to foster an open, unified environment. We also use predictive social analytics to enable our customer service team to evaluate existing customer temperature. Such real-time interactions and data will drive the most innovative companies forward in the year ahead.

3. Gamification Accelerates Productivity

Communities can also serve as a sufficient medium for companies that want to adopt new models for driving productivity and gamification technologies.

Many companies, such as Accenture, have recently experienced technology adoption growth through the implementation of gamification technology. The company promotes an interactive environment at its global leadership council, made up of the top 150 leaders at Accenture, displaying statistics on blogging activity, video and audio minutes, and more. The top participants are also rewarded and ranked in comparison to their peers, encouraging a fun competition throughout the council.

We have also enjoyed the benefits of gamification in the enterprise through an award-winning Sales 2.0 approach, which gamifies the sales process and tracks employees’ sales progress during a given time period. This has resulted in a 30 percent boost in sales productivity from our inside sales team. 

4. The Rise of the Chief Digital Officer

It’s predicted that there will be a 40 percent projected growth in global data generated per year versus only a five percent growth in global IT spending, per McKinsey. As data analytics and the world of big data explode, the relationship between the CIO and CMO will take on an even greater meaning.