One constant will remain in the marketing world during 2016 – everything will change. What was new and exciting this year will already be old, tired and ignored. Sure-fire ways to engage with customers will fail and you’ll have to sit down and figure it out all over again. The best way to prepare for this is to get out your Marketing crystal ball and try and predict the ways in which your marketing plans will be thrown out the window.
Put Some Time Into the Relationship
Relationship marketing has been tipped as a buzzword for 2016. Relationship marketing focuses on creating personal relationships with customers, in order to foster loyalty and long-term engagement. This will take the place of short-term, mass-target engagement initiatives as companies that focus on the person, not the customer-base will be rewarded. The increase of mobile interaction has been a key driver in the rise of relationship marketing.
Nothing Wrong with a bit of Customer Location-Tracking
Sounds disturbing and as little Orwellian but like it or not, location-based marketing is here and it’s going to rear its head in even bigger ways next year. The rise of location technology, such as iBeacons will allow you to target customers right at your location. iBeacons work off Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology. These tiny transmitters can be set up in a bricks and mortar store, when a customer walks in you will be alerted and you can send location-specific information on sales straight to their smartphone.
The Future is Here
Virtual reality is, well, a marketing reality. Virtual reality gives marketers the story to provide immersive experiences to customers all over the world, 40 hours a day 7 days a week. You can give them a 360-degree tour of a car; take them through a beach-side villa in the Maldives or take them on a ride in the business-class section of an airline carrier. Technologies, like Occulus Rift, are providing this technology and if customer-engagement is the game, the game is about to be blown wide open. Integration with social media will make immersion even more accessible and ever-present. There are analysts suggesting that it could be nothing more than smoke and mirrors, but there are many billions of dollars on the line that would suggest otherwise.
Say Your Piece and Leave
A lot of these marketing techniques are being developed specifically for the millennial market. What millennials love more than anything else is ephemeral marketing. Short, sharp bursts of information that don’t hang around. Snapchat is the perfect platform for ephemeral marketing and companies are already taking advantage of this. The beauty of Snapchat is that the video disappears, so you get the opportunity to deliver marketing that truly engages on a personal level without being obtrusive.
Nothing is More Ephemeral than a Video
Following on from the previous point, video marketing is going to stake a big claim next year as the king of all marketing content. Video marketing is a great example of ephemeral marketing because it has an expiry date, it has a set duration and then it’s gone. Millenials, with their short-attention span and thirst for image over text love it. YouTube is a monster and will continue to grow and now even Google has decided it can’t ignore the moving picture any longer. In-SERP video advertising will be introduced and who knows, before too long the whole SERP will be made up of videos. It’s worth remembering that Google owns YouTube, the next step in video ads is a complete unknown because the variety of possibilities is terrifying.
The Internet is Going to be Everywhere
Well it already is, but know its going to be everywhere in a physical sense. The Internet of Things (IoT) is happening, 28 per cent of people will have adopted wearable technology by next year. This means that all the creepy marketers and analysts out there will be able to track our every move. This wont only have an affect on the way we market, it will also have an effect on the data we collect, which will now be based far more heavily on customer behaviour.
Stop Denying the Inevitable
Some would argue this has already happened, those with their heads in the sand would like to downplay it’s importance but let’s get one thing clear. Next year, mobile will have been unanimously declared, the undisputed heavyweight champion of internet traffic. The Google algorithm change was made in a response to this and mobile traffic has outstripped PC traffic in 10 countries already. Expect that number to climb sharply and stay PC-focused at your own peril.
Does SIRI Know Who You Are?
Currently, people turn to SEO and pay-per-click advertising when they are trying to increase their visibility. But, could 2016 usher in another way of getting your name out there? More and more people are getting their information through digital assistants like Siri and Cortana. These assistants only turn to Google and other search engines if they don’t already have the answer themselves. The key to optimising your company so that you’re visible to Siri and Cortana is to make your information easily accessible, as opposed to trying to push them specifically towards your site.
Does Anyone Read Anymore?
Of course they do, but all the signs are pointing to a diminishing importance of articles and an increase in the importance of interactive content. Interactive content, like surveys and quizzes, is far more engaging and can be consumed on the go. If you’ve got a five-minute coffee break your far more likely to spend it watching a video or filling out a quick survey than reading a blog post or scanning an article. Taking into account the irony that this warning is written in an article, it may be time for marketers to spend a little less energy on crafting their prose and put a little bit more time into brushing up on their video editing skills. There will always be a place for the article but when there are so many articles to compete against widening your skill set isn’t such a bad idea.
Last year our predictions were pretty spot on—if you want to see for yourself, check out our article on Marketing Predictions for 2015 or Three Actionable Digital Marketing Predictions For 2020.
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