Top 5 Marketing Tech Predictions for 2014Technology adoption has become a competitive differentiator for CMOs who strive to out-innovate their competitors. There is so much opportunity for brands to strengthen consumer engagement through their digital channels. So, with 2014 upon us, it’s time to look at how websites and digital experiences will change in the year to come. What is the future of the branded website? How will technology change customers’ online shopping experience?

Here are my top marketing tech predictions for 2014.

1. CMOs Will Take Back Control

Over the core components of the digital customer experience that is. Many of these digital customer channels, like websites, mobile devices and social networks, were offloaded to IT in the past. But in 2014, CMOs will take back the control over this content to ensure the brand image is accurately portrayed on the customer facing end.

2. Evolve or Die

Ok, this might be a bit of an overused statement, but it does hold some truth. Stemming from taking back control from the IT teams, CMOs will put a greater value on agility and integration over single vendor solutions in 2014. In today’s digital age, CMOs must embrace the shift to digital or risk being phased out in favor of digital natives who understand how business and technology meet.

An entirely new job title --Chief Digital Officer -- has emerged because marketing leaders, to date, have not fully embraced the disruptive nature of digital. CMOs who don't evolve will face the harsh reality of marketing in a world where digital experiences are customer experiences.

3. Content Meets Commerce

Recent data from Forrester Research shows that Web Content Management and e-commerce are the top two priorities for digital executives. Next year, I believe the lines between these two priorities will blur. Customers want the opportunity to review great content while shopping online, and visa versa.

Companies will strive to blend content and commerce so customers can learn more about a product, read reviews and interact with other customers or customer service representatives before making a purchasing decision.

4. The Store-Like Website

It’s no secret that brick-and-mortar stores are evolving, and stores as we know them are becoming a thing of the past. But as brands boost up their web experiences, we’ll see web developers and marketing teams start to replicate the most successful elements of an in-store experience on the web.

These new “store-like” websites will enable customers to do more than just buy a product -- they’ll be able to chat with customer service representatives, view video and other visual demonstrations, and easily find reviews and similar products from that brand. Ultimately, the experience will be much more personalized and easy to navigate.

5. Taking Back the Brand

CMOs that learn how to be agile to drive toward an integrated customer experience across content, community and commerce are the ones who will succeed in 2014. Delivering an integrated digital experience requires the ability to integrate social business into the customer journey across websites, mobile devices and customer communities. When done effectively, this integration allows the brand to own their story and the customer experience, from the information gathering phase through to the purchase decision.

Title image reworked from original by Sampien (Shutterstock)

Editor's Note: Read more from Tom in Think Customers, Not Channels