2016 Marketing Predictions

The mar­ket­ing indus­try is going through a mas­sive trans­for­ma­tion with tech­nol­o­gy chang­ing the game as we know it. Here’s my round-up of the biggest mar­ket­ing trends set to define 2016:

It’s all about experiences

Mar­ket­ing in 2016 is all about expe­ri­ence. In this dig­i­tal age, your brand is now the sum of your customer’s expe­ri­ence. Yes, it’s about giv­ing what your cus­tomers want, but it’s also about stand­ing out from the crowd and get­ting noticed by being enter­tain­ing. Cre­at­ing com­pelling expe­ri­ences in what­ev­er envi­ron­ment con­sumers are in, be it phys­i­cal or dig­i­tal, is the key to suc­cess in 2016 as the qual­i­ty and orig­i­nal­i­ty of mar­ket­ing con­tent becomes as impor­tant as how it is deliv­ered. The tech­nol­o­gy to tar­get cus­tomers any­where, any­time, any­place is now wide­ly used, so what else can brands do to stand out from the crowd? Expect to see more fun­ny, shock­ing and emo­tion­al con­tent from brands in 2016 as they all vie for our attention.

Auto­mat­ed tech­nol­o­gy used for real-time insight

The val­ue of data to build more per­son­al rela­tion­ships with cus­tomers is undis­put­ed. But if you think about the pro­lif­er­a­tion of devices there is an increas­ing­ly over­whelm­ing amount of infor­ma­tion to process. In 2016, more brands will realise that test­ing new con­tent and cam­paigns with live con­sumer traf­fic will be near impos­si­ble to man­age. Grow­ing use of auto­mat­ed tech­nol­o­gy will make this process con­tin­u­ous and con­sis­tent, allow­ing mar­keters to apply insight and buy and sell dig­i­tal ads in real-time. For busi­ness­es to gain com­pet­i­tive advan­tage, tools need to be agile yet pow­er­ful enough to deal with the com­plex­i­ty and breadth of the data.

Pre­dic­tive ana­lyt­ics will be the #1 skill in demand

We are reach­ing a point where most organ­i­sa­tions have moved out of diag­nos­tic ana­lyt­ics and into the pre­dic­tive realm. We’re past the point of not col­lect­ing enough data – it’s now about gain­ing insights and tak­ing action. We have already seen the num­ber of per­ma­nent IT jobs look­ing for ‘pre­dic­tive ana­lyt­ics’ skills jump 241% in the past two years, accord­ing to ITJob­sWatch, and I expect this skill to be in even big­ger demand in 2016 as com­pa­nies take this capa­bil­i­ty to the next lev­el. It’s the new com­pet­i­tive advantage.

Per­son­al­i­sa­tion breaks away from tra­di­tion­al platforms

Dig­i­tal mar­keters have been refin­ing their approach­es to per­son­al­i­sa­tion for years, and now tra­di­tion­al media mar­keters want a slice of the action. Con­sumers are weary of mass adver­tis­ing so TV, video, radio and sig­nage plat­forms must now tai­lor con­tent for each indi­vid­ual con­sumer. This means adapt­ing their mod­el to incor­po­rate per­son­al­i­sa­tion best prac­tices with much of the gran­u­lar­i­ty that dig­i­tal mar­keters have prac­ticed for years. The bound­aries of tra­di­tion­al adver­tis­ing will be pushed fur­ther than they ever have been in the year ahead.

Email mar­ket­ing gets a makeover

Brands are com­ing to the real­i­sa­tion that unless they re-invig­o­rate their email oper­a­tions in 2016 they will lose a pow­er­ful mar­ket­ing chan­nel. Email still has the abil­i­ty to dri­ve sales and secure cus­tomer loy­al­ty and, ear­li­er this year, con­sumers told us it is still their pre­ferred way to receive mar­ket­ing offers. But the days of batch and blast-style mes­sages are over. To keep con­sumers engaged mar­keters need to pri­ori­tise qual­i­ty over quan­ti­ty and deliv­er con­tex­tu­al­ly rel­e­vant offers and promotions.

Dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing will still be a valid term

The phrase “dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing” will not be around for­ev­er, but its time is not over yet and com­pa­nies will still be talk­ing about it in 2016. We’ve seen in recent years the bar­ri­ers between our phys­i­cal and online worlds becom­ing weak­er, and the grow­ing use of in-store tech­nolo­gies (such as iBea­cons and inter­ac­tive dis­plays) is a good exam­ple of how dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing has bro­ken away from the con­fines of our com­put­ers and mobile devices. Even­tu­al­ly, just like cloud com­put­ing is becom­ing sim­ply “com­put­ing”, we’ll see the same hap­pen for mar­ket­ing. How­ev­er, until all mar­keters are cross-plat­form experts, organ­i­sa­tions need ded­i­cat­ed dig­i­tal spe­cial­ists to lead the charge.

The rapid­ly chang­ing pace of tech­nol­o­gy means 2016 will bring a few sur­pris­es too and I’m opti­mistic about the year ahead. My top advice for suc­cess in the New Year is to be brave, exper­i­ment and con­tin­ue to trust in your mar­ket­ing instincts.