It’s been a wild year for marketers. 100 million people use Snapchat daily, Google sprang a major rebrand with the reveal of a holding company called Alphabet, adblocking technology hit mobile, and the ROI for direct mail campaigns is on par with social media ads.
Digital marketing has undergone a substantial transformation. The technology that enabled the changes is advancing at a pace few brands can keep up with.
So, what does this mean for marketers? Here are six marketing trends we expect to see in 2016. Brands that anticipate the changes will win.
TREND #1: MOBILE DOMINATES.
2015 has been a big year for mobile. Mobile traffic overtook desktop traffic in 10 countries. The tech world named April 21, 2015 “Mobilegeddon” since it was the day that Google implemented its algorithm to reward mobile-friendly web pages.
What does this mean for your business? A mobile version of your website is no longer optional. In fact, today a mobile-only site with no desktop counterpart is perfectly acceptable. Did I mention that people are checking their smartphones an average of 150 times a day?
TREND #2: MARKETING DEPARTMENTS ARE OBSOLETE.
Separating your organization from the competition is no longer only about price and features. It’s about delivering a customer experience that seamlessly crosses functional areas. For example, a sales experience that ties to an email campaign that ties to a message on an invoice, and so on.
What does this mean for your business? Marketing, sales and customer service departments that operate in silos are ineffective. Your 2016 marketing plan needs to cross functional areas to deliver an exceptional customer experience.
TREND #3: NICE IS THE NEW COOL.
Giving Tuesday and Small Business Saturday gained traction this year while Black Friday and Cyber Monday lost a bit of their sheen. Why? Consumers seek out brands they believe in. Cause differentiates brands. In a 2014 Nielsen “Doing Well by Doing Good” study, 42% of North American respondents reported they would pay extra for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact.
What does this mean for your business? “Doing good” gets noticed by customers. However, the causes you pick must resonate with both you AND your customers. Authenticity is key.
TREND #4: OLD STRATEGIES ARE HISTORY.
Think Weight Watchers. Earlier this week, Weight Watchers revamped its program to move away from weight loss as the ultimate goal. Yes, you read that sentence correctly. THE diet brand is pivoting. Its new program, “Beyond the Scale,” is in response to both changing science about nutrition and consumer sentiments. The word “diet” has been removed from the leading weight loss brand’s advertising. To flourish, the company understands that it has to remain relevant to its audience and focus on lifestyle changes.
What does this mean for your business? Ask yourself if it’s time to revisit your brand strategy. Have your customers’ needs, behaviors or preferences changed?
TREND #5: VIDEO RULES.
YouTube, the 2nd most popular website, recently reported these incredible statistics:
What does this mean for your business? Create authentic, short videos. Say no to expensive, high production value, long films. Embrace hand-held, one to two minute stories about your products, services and people. Create a YouTube channel.
TREND #6: MARKETING AUTOMATION IS MANDATORY.
Content and data will continue to rule in 2016. And the only way to manage the growing volume and variety of content and data is to use marketing automation. While a relatively new concept, its efficacy with business-to-business (B2B) companies has proven that it’s here to stay. Companies that used marketing automation last year grew 11 times faster than those that didn’t. Whether causal or correlated, the numbers can’t be ignored.
What do we mean by marketing automation? Companies from salesforce.com (Pardot) to Marketo and Hubspot are selling software that streamlines, automates, measures and reports marketing tasks and workflows so that businesses can increase operational efficiency, improve the customer experience and better predict customer behavior.
What does this mean for your business? Conduct an audit of how you’re repurposing marketing content, and collecting and reporting customer data. Then conduct a search to find the right marketing automation solution. Sure, it’s an investment but the right package can help you achieve greater efficiencies, customer loyalty and sales.
Anticipate these changes and you’ll be rewarded with long-lasting and profitable customer relationships.
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