Marketing has undergone a major transformation in the last few years, responding to new technologies and changes in consumer behaviors and attitudes.
Digital marketing and automation are just some of the new skills and technologies successful marketers need to learn today to better understand and help their consumers.
So what do marketers need to know to stay ahead of their competition in 2016 and beyond? Here are 16 marketing trends you can’t ignore. Respond to them now or risk extinction.
1. Relationship marketing
It is estimated that 2 billion consumers worldwide will own a smartphone by 2016. The opportunity and need to stay connected with customers and prospects on the go is more important now than ever.
Relationship marketing has shifted away from short-term customer engagement and individual sales to building longer-term engagement and stronger loyalty, to drive more meaningful customer connections, word-of-mouth promotions, lead generation, and ultimately sales.
Krispy Kreme has succeeded with this approach to improve customer engagement and loyalty. Through Krispy Kreme’s Red Light app, consumers can search for the nearest location and receive notifications on their smartphones whenever a batch of fresh donuts becomes available. Without spending a cent on marketing or advertising, Krispy Kreme saw nearly 7% boost in sales after the app launched.
2. Crowdsourced brand content
Creating and scaling content can be costly, time-consuming, and hard to do. Many brands are starting to realize the untapped opportunity in crowdsourcing free brand content as they see how effective it is in engaging their consumers and amplifying their marketing.
In recent research, Onalytica reported that of all the content on YouTube in which a brand is mentioned, 99% is created by brand fans. And that is just YouTube alone. Imagine all the free attention you can earn if you can get your consumers and fans to create and share content about your brand.
Minecraft is a great example of a brand that is doing this right. At the annual Minecraft conferences, attendees are offered free workshops on video-making rather than just on how to play the video game. Why? When these Minecraft fans go home, the first thing they do is create videos about Minecraft and start sharing them on YouTube.
These videos generate 2.5 billion views a month on YouTube for Minecraft, and Minecraft didn’t need to spend a dime on content marketing or advertising, other than providing their fans a few video-making workshops.
3. Location-based marketing technology
Today’s marketers are able to create interactive experiences and connect with customers at the point of engagement, thanks to new technologies like iBeacons and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID).
iBeacons are inexpensive transmitters that can detect nearby devices and can be used in merchandising areas, point-of sale-displays, and at retail stores. RFIDs are small electronic devices that provide a unique identifier for a specific tag, such as a wristband, card, or app. These location-based technologies allow marketers and event organizers to connect with customers in real time, helping attendees interact and engage with the event and with other attendees in ways never before possible.
4. Marketing automation
Marketing automation platforms make it easier for marketers to manage content, schedule posts, segment contacts, and track customers through the sales funnel, helping them get more done without compromising on quality and effectiveness.
With greater pressure and focus on delivering results, marketing leaders will need to train their teams so they have the knowledge needed to use these automation tools and improve sales.
While marketing automation is nothing new, recent research indicates only 50% of companies are using it today.
5. Virtual reality and wearable technology
With big players like Google and Facebook investing in virtual reality, and with the upcoming release of Oculus Rift, marketers will have the ability to tell 360-degree brand stories and engage consumers through immersive marketing like never before.
Regardless of adoption rates, you can definitely expect leading marketers to take advantage of virtual reality technology to create even more interactive and personalized experiences for consumers.
Similarly, wearable technology, like the Apple Watch, will provide marketers with opportunities to experiment with exciting new ways of communicating with customers.
6. Ephemeral marketing
With more than 100 million users every day, Snapchat is becoming a standard marketing platform for many brands. Snapchat is no longer just a platform to experiment with fun marketing campaigns, but a place where consumers are flocking for content in real time.
In order to reach consumers, particularly the younger generation whose time is often split between multiple channels, Snapchat is one of the hottest marketing channels.
Ephemeral marketing is all about shorter, to-the-point communication that takes up a small segment of an audience’s time. With Snapchat, each piece of content lasts for only a few seconds, and once viewed, it disappears from the user’s stream. This fast pace is especially important to engage and connect with consumers who are pressed for time.
Looking for how to get started on Snapchat? Check out this advice from MarketingLand.
7. Social and digital content assets
In the new age of digital, the importance of creating quality content optimized for search engines will only increase. Digital content you create today, including your website, blog, and videos, will still be found on the web and in Google searches years from now. Digital content assets are an investment in your brand’s future success.
Another digital asset is your brand fans and advocates on social media. They are the ones who will help distribute and promote your content. If you’re not already investing in and growing your social network following, you need to start now.
8. Search past search engines
With Facebook already testing its own search engine, search capabilities are expected expand in 2016 and beyond, which will give brands an automatic boost. Coupled with the introduction of buy buttons and payment messaging on social, both marketers and consumers can expect an all-in-one-type platform in 2016.
These advanced capabilities will bring a more integrated social experience and buying process, as consumers will be able to purchase, share with friends, and post social proof of their purchases all in one place. Marketers who leverage this integrated social media search trend as part of their marketing efforts will clearly see a boost in their returns.
9. Paid social distribution
Social media may have been free five years ago, but things have changed. If you want to reach your Facebook audience, you will likely need to pay to access users’ attention and eyeballs. And if you choose to pay, you need to measure the results to make sure you are getting the most out of your investment.
This is why analytics and digital marketing automation software should be your best friend in 2016. The web provides us with the data we need to find out what’s working and what’s not. Instead of relying on guesswork and intuition, data-driven decisions will help marketers achieve the results they want.
Mobile has now become the primary screen for most people. Look at Facebook: 75% of its revenue comes from mobile advertising, so it’s clear that mobile should be a key focus for marketers.
Since you cannot do everything you do on desktop with the limited screen space of mobile, you need to focus on what matters the most: easy-to-read content, easy-to-use calls to action, easy-to-find contact details, and the ability to capture email leads via mobile.
The same goes for mobile apps. They are no longer an option but a necessity for businesses, as more and more consumers go mobile with their research and purchases.
Personalization is here, and it won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. Relevance is key to capturing consumer attention and eyeballs. Effective marketers will leverage all the digital marketing technologies available today to deliver personalized marketing and content that engages and sells.
12. Return on marketing investment
For the last 7 years, marketers have been talking about vanity metrics like Facebook likes, traffic, and social sharing. In 2016 and beyond, effective marketers will need to focus on what really matters: the metrics that will show your execs the sales and return on investment.
That’s why Liz Bedor and I wrote the Content Formula. If you haven’t read it yet, get it now!
13. Advertising industry will experience a market correction
I shared this in my content marketing prediction for 2016: The leading marketing trend of 2016 will be the maturing of the age of ad blocking. I think we’ll see a massive correction in the advertising market.
As more and more consumers download ad blockers on their computers and cell phones, opt out of telemarketing lists, and cut their cable subscription cords, marketers will start to see the futility of spending so much of their budgets on ads no one wants; ads we are willing to pay an ad blocker to avoid.
This will drive an increase in content marketing budgets. It will force more marketers to consider how to create and publish content their customers actually want. And it will require content marketers to get pretty damn good at showing ROI.
14. Visual content will continue to explode
15. Entertaining and funny content
Just check out my favorite new example of content marketing, mattress company Casper’s VanWinkles.com. This is a content brand from a company that understands a very tight niche of their market that was underserved. They use an amazing design, fresh content (literally), and a strong call-to-action (subscribe) to generate a list of consumers who might be interested to buy their stuff at some point.
16. Podcasting, media brand M&A, or ?
I asked my friends across the content marketing industry for their top predictions. An explosion in podcasting was predicted by Jay Acunzo. Joe Pulizzi thinks a major brand will buy a media company.
What do you think? Which trends have you adopted already or will be adding to your 2016 marketing strategy? Please share your ideas below!
Are you interested in engaging and converting new customer for your business? Contact me here and let’s talk about how we can help.Comments