In part one of this series, we took a look at the first five predictions for changes to marketing trends in 2016. Many of our first half of the list focused on changes in tone of voice and public perception approach, let’s check out some other angles in the next five:
6) Managing your entire marketing cycle will be cheaper and simpler
As so many new companies have sprung up on online, the demand for awesome business to business software as a service (B2B SaaS) products has skyrocketed. Platforms like Hubspot, Kissmetrics, Intercom, and more have sprouted up to help manage campaigns, test conversions, schedule content, and more.
This innovation will only get more competitive and result in better platforms and tools for brands. More than a few brands in 2015 likely saved themselves a boatload of money by using such tools to bring their marketing efforts in-house.
7) Advertising and branding agencies will change
Let’s be honest, this one has been happening for a few years, but we’re really going to start seeing the dinosaurs die out in 2016. Agencies who are still only working with legacy brands, betting on them not bringing in fresh blood who want to expand beyond traditional advertising, or who want to simply ‘service’ social media and new communication platforms to appease clients rather than to actually innovate, are going to have trouble.
8) Consultants will have to get more clever
In the same way that agencies will have to adapt or die, those proclaiming to be experts or gurus who can do branding on a freelance basis will have to expand their skillset. For the most part, such people are driven to stay up to date and won’t have a problem with this.
That said, there will no doubt be those who struggle to adapt and want to keep on writing the same types of sales pages and pitching the same type of creative to their clients. As these wane in effectiveness, so will their businesses.
9) Wearable format
In 2016, wearable devices like the Apple Watch (and whatever gets rolled out in the next few months) will probably move from fringe and toward mainstream. With mass adoption comes mass opportunity, so brands will need to look into how they can get themselves in front of users of these devices in a native format.
Native means working within screen size restrictions, limited app offerings, and forming partnerships with companies who have some hold in relevant markets.
10) Smart automation
As time saving and automation tools become more prevalent, brands will develop best practices for automating their marketing process. Please note: this does not necessarily mean automating everything you can.
In fact, some of the strongest brands are able to pick out situations where automation can still be genuine while saving time, and then also hone in on areas where interaction should be kept more authentic and manual. Perhaps even a new meta market of products who help brands identify which parts of their process they should automate will even arise.
Much like the rest of the world, marketing as an industry has seen massive year over year changes over the past half decade or so. As technology and communication take mega-leaps in shorter amounts of time than ever imagined, we have to adapt quickly to stay ahead of the effective marketing curve.
To help facilitate that, here are some of the biggest ways in which marketing will likely change in 2016.
1) Content marketing will eclipse paid acquisition
Already a prominent trend, content marketing is something smart brands have latched onto over the past year or two (and some even longer). The basic premise is that content, in the form of writing, video, audio, etc., should be put out by brands.
This content veers from traditional paid advertising by making sure that it actually delivers some value or utility to the reader, rather than just being an extension of an advertisement. Brands that practice content marketing are continually seen as in-touch and willing to help prospects, even before they hand over their money.
If you’re not already on Periscope or Facebook’s live video streaming platform, look into it. It is now easier than ever to incorporate live streaming events into your marketing wheelhouse, and these can be excellent ways to stay connected with customers and come across as more authentic and human as a brand.
For example, many popular figures host Q&A’s. Consider bringing on well known figures or celebrities in your market as guests for live interviews, or starting a daily series to keep followers updated on what your office is cooking up, etc.
3) The “I” will die
Simply put: communication has long been two-way, and is now all but consumer controlled. That means that switching to another brand is as easy as a couple of taps on a screen, and that leaving a hilariously tarnishing review of a company that gets retweeted 13,000 times is a reality of the landscape we live in.
For this reason, brands who aren’t on board yet will need to catch up by getting comfortable with talking with their prospects, not at them. It’s a concept that some from the old school have trouble grasping, but it will have a huge impact on how relevant your brand is perceived as.
4) Tone of voice will experience a shift
As an extension of number 3, you’ll likely witness many brands trying to come across as more ‘fun’ or ‘playful’ in their social media and public communications. Some will miss the mark awkwardly, while others will score big wins through their community interactions.
In any event, look out for a shift in what is considered appropriate for
a corporate voice.
5) Advertising costs will fall
Alright, to be honest, this still might be a year or two away, but think about this: Ad networks like Google Adwords have hit a critical mass of competition, or are approaching it in many markets, where prohibitively expensive bids of $10+ per click are a reality in many industries. As such, people are getting more creative: They’re taking their dollars to social, or to content.
Eventually, older networks that have fallen out of favor will have lower bids, and those clever enough to use them and not look desperate might have an opportunity.