Marketing Trends That Defined 2016

Forbes magazine posted a story back in November, 2015 on the needs and expectations of your marketing department going into 2016.

Of course business need to keep a clear focus of their customers – to stay competitive and remain visible, which is not an easy task.

Here are 7 marketing trends that drove conversations and conversions for 2016.

1. Embrace the Customer Experience Model. It’s been a slow grind for some, but marketing departments are moving from a silo of advertising and non-interactive communication toward becoming a natural part of the sales cycle and an extension of customer service. Marketers, using integrated tools, can engage with customers online, track the buyer’s journey, measure sentiment and loyalty, and match behavior with outreach tailored to meet their audience’s needs and interests. But for customers already bombarded with information, a great customer experience is becoming baseline. 

2. Will Ad Blockers Change the Game? Consumers are sick of in-your-face marketing. As marketers and builders engage in a healthy debate about the presence of ad blockers, the truth is that if advertising isn’t relevant it’s annoying—and consumers have little patience for anything annoying. How can a good brand get noticed? Many companies continued to create advertisements that seamlessly blend with—rather than interrupt—the browsing experience, as well as to use those customer-centric insights to drive content and social engagement.

3. Marketers Will (Finally) Recognize Social Media as a Channel, Not a Strategy. Social media isn’t marketing, and it doesn’t work as a “strategy” on its own—something that seems to have finally sunk into the collective marketing consciousness. Social media is one platform of many, a tactic that does a great job of supporting broad campaigns but flounders by itself. In 2016 this distinction was apparent and shaped marketing strategies and budgetary considerations this year.

4. Omnichannel Will be Inspiring to Retail’s. It’s one thing to discuss the theory and practice of omni-channel user experience. But it’s something else entirely to see brilliant companies that are already implementing it in their strategies. Tweet for Pizza! Dominos has one of the catchiest omnichannel campaigns right now, but brands across the board will quickly learn that an integrated customer experience is essential—one that creates one smooth interaction, rather than multiple micro events. From addressing the causes behind abandoned shopping carts to creating an easy transition between online and bricks-and-mortar locations, omnichannel much improved the bottom line for both retailers and B2B this past year.

5-Big Data IS for Marketers. Big data, which includes social and unstructured data, is a goldmine for marketers. Until recently, many marketers shied away from big data because they lacked the skills—or the big budget resources—to translate it into something meaningful. Now, tools are coming to the marketplace that make mining and managing data easier than ever. 2016 became a banner year for incorporating big data and perhaps more importantly, analytics into marketing decisions.

6.  Mobile, Mobile, Mobile. Marketers who’ve been lazy about pursuing mobile are about to miss the train altogether; the number of people who do their browsing on devices passed desktop users a while ago.  Many companies in 2016, decided on a mobile-optimized and responsive website, which included the cost of custom apps in some cases. Mobile can’t be put off much longer.

7. Video Use Explodes While Live Streaming Finds a Purpose This year  video continued to shine and streaming move to the forefront of marketing, with innovative new campaigns that allowed customer engagement. If you want to engage with millennials, video is a must-have marketing tactic; they prefer to find entertainment and education on YouTube over conventional channels like television. Snapchat, YouTube, gifs, Vine, and more are being consumed at a rapid rate. Streaming video takes this to the next level, and platforms like Periscope and Blab have put interactive live video into the hands of anyone with a smartphone.