Marketing is a field that is constantly evolving, shifting with changes in consumer preferences and other factors. Internet marketing, in particular, has drastically transformed over the past few years, with technological advancements fuelling most of the changes.
As a marketer moving closer to 2016, it’s important to begin strategizing early for the New Year in order to ensure that your clients remain on top of the changes, rather than being overtaken by them. Below are four significant trends that you may leverage for growth in 2016:
1. Relationship Marketing
With the growth of the smartphone-owning population, brands have a better chance to closely engage and connect with existing and prospective clients. Relationship marketing helps brands to focus on customer engagement and strong brand loyalty over the longer term, rather than individual sales and customer acquisition strategies. Companies have a unique opportunity to develop meaningful emotional engagement and conversations with the customers, which in turn drives referrals and lead generation.
So, how does it work? The answer is simple: data. Marketers now have access to a lot more data about their prospective audiences and in a number of formats. This data can enable you to develop stronger relationship-based campaigns with consumers by leveraging personalized, data-informed strategies, which will be important in 2016 and even beyond.
2. Marketing Automation
Content strategy is taking up the bulk of marketing budgets – at least 50% – leading to the proliferation of automated tools for content creation, amplification, and marketing. Today, the marketing automation industry’s net worth is $5.5Billion and growing. Automated platforms enable the following:
- Easier email marketing through email list management and seamless personalization
- Automated social posting and content management
- Customer lifecycle tracking to drive more leads to conversions
- … and more
The idea of marketing software is to drive streamlined, focused and profitable strategies without affecting quality. Amid mounting pressure for strategies that drive results, CMOs and marketing teams can leverage automation for prospect engagement, lead qualification and reduction of the sales cycle.
3. Virtual Reality
Marketer-consumer engagement in 2016 will no doubt be impacted by VR technologies like Oculus Rift. One of the main marketing strong-points is personalization and virtual reality that provides a unique opportunity to engage audiences with stories in 360 degrees. Companies that aren’t looking into leveraging VR in their outreach programs may suffer drops in lead generation and sales. Those who are greatly advantaged, as always, are the first movers, particularly with a game-changing technology such as this.
4. Search beyond search engines
Facebook is already working on their own search engine, and at this rate, the future of search is likely to extend far beyond Google, Bing, Yahoo and other like engines. Search capabilities within social media will be greatly improved, giving brands an automatic boost. What’s more, the manifestation of payment messaging and buy buttons on social media come 2016 will give an all-inclusive platform that many businesses can leverage for their social media marketing.
Consumers will be able to make purchases right from their social accounts and simultaneously chat with friends about recent purchases, which could be revolutionary for brand awareness. However, businesses will in turn have to work extra hard to make their social platforms extra-easy, so that consumers have a hassle-free, rewarding experience and only good things to say about you to their networks.