So, what can one expect from 2016? There are several predictions that can help you prepare for the upcoming year. Nothing is more important to success than planning ahead. As they say, “if you aren’t riding the wave of change, you’ll find yourself beneath it.”
Forbes magazine has identified five marketing trends that they believe will have a significant impact on the business world. Understanding them and how they apply to your business will help you stay ahead of the game, especially if you are a new and emerging business.
Embrace the Customer Experience Model
Engaging the customer on a personal level has become more and more important in the business world. The emergence of social media has made it possible to interact on a one-to-one basis with customers from all over the world. The importance of such interactions will play an even greater role in 2016.
“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,”
explained Forbes contributor Daniel Newman. Unfortunately, providing a great customer experience is becoming the norm for many industries. To be successful in the coming year, companies are going to have to go above and beyond what is now considered baseline.
Ad Blockers are Changing the Game
The rise of the internet led to an even faster rise of online advertising. However, customers are now able to utilize programs that block this type of marketing. Online ads are now considered trivial and annoying. Companies that want to utilize the online environment are going to have to think outside the box in order to capture the attention of their target audience.
“Watch for companies to continue 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. - Daniel Newman
Dream and Market in 3D
3D technology has changed the way consumers interact with the physical world. Customers can now engage with the outside world without ever leaving the comfort of their home. Never before have companies been able to engage their target markets with real-time and comprehensive models. What used to be a primary component of the gaming industry is now utilized in industries across the board. 2016 will see 3D technology move from novelty to mainstream.
“As the technology to create and consume becomes more accessible, smart marketers will look for ways to bring the products to virtual life.” - Daniel Newman
Marketers Will Recognize Social Media as a Channel, Not a Strategy
The acknowledgement that social media should be part of a company’s marketing plan and not its sole strategy will begin to infiltrate mainstream marketing. According to Newman, “Social media is one platform of many, a tactic that does a great job of supporting broad campaigns but flounders by itself.” Watch for this distinction to become a mainstay of marketing strategies in all corners of business.
Omnichannel Will be Retail’s Best Friend
What is omnichannel? According to TechTarget, omnichannel is a multichannel approach to sales that seeks to provide the customer with a seamless shopping experience whether the customer is shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone or in a bricks and mortar store. Need a real-life example? Think Domino’s Pizza. Their new “Tweet for Pizza” campaign is one of the hottest advertisements on television today. According to marketing executives, that omnichannel campaign is just the beginning. “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,” Newman explained.
Another trend that will become a prominent issue in 2016 is the use of high quality, start-of-the-art graphic design. According to top marketing firm Brafton, digital graphic design will become more influential in the upcoming year than ever before. “As a marketing tool, high quality graphic design defines your brand, differentiates it from others, and elicits responses more effectively than text.” The company backs up its claim with the following Twitter statistics. Specifically, tweets with images receive:
- 18% more clicks
- 89% more favorites
- 150% more retweets
With such statistics, the future of digital graphic design and the importance of incorporating such strategies into your marketing plan appear clear.
To keep up with graphic design changes, it may be necessary to adjust the make-up of your team. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for graphic designers are expected to grow by 7 percent in the next five years. Why the need for additional employees? The Content Marketing Industry has found that:
- B2B (business-to-business) use of illustrations in content marketing is up from 69% to 76% in the past year
- B2C (business-to-consumer) graphic usage went from 75% to 87%
- 62% of B2C marketers use infographics, in particular – up from 45%
As you can see, graphics are going to play an even bigger part in marketing in 2016 and beyond. As a result, companies are going to have to adjust their marketing plans and personnel accordingly.
It is one thing to reach the top of the industry; it is another thing altogether to stay there. Only by staying abreast of market trends and evolving industry standards can one expect to maintain a certain level of success. Are you ready for 2016?