marketing trends
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By Trevor Sumner

Modern marketing is rapidly changing in the face of accelerated technology development and changing consumer habits in mobile and social media. In this fast-paced world, the modern marketer needs to keep ahead of key trends to differentiate from the competition and lay the groundwork for future success as an early adopter.

Here are 10 Marketing Trends that are redefining marketing in 2016.

  1. Facebook is Eating the Internet. With 1.5 billion users spending tens of hours per month, Facebook strategy is to bring the entire Internet experience within its confines. Recent launches such as Facebook Live, Instant Articles, Lead Gen Ads, Local Search, Instagram and Oculus Rift all show that Facebook wants to capture your consumers interaction with you in their ecosystem.  Given their success you must invest in getting Facebook right.
  2. Mobile Goes from Explosion to Supernova. Although an existing trend, mobile continues to see explosive growth that is now upending multi-billion dollar industries, in as short as a year or two. Uber for transportation, Tinder for dating,  Instagram for photo sharing.  Convenience, touch interactivity and real-time availability are changing consumer habits.  If you don’t have mobile responsive website and email templates, you are already 2 years behind.  Next up, you need to reimagine the customer journey in a mobile-convenient world and consider taking over more of the value chain.
  3. Messaging Will Emerge as an Important Business Channel. Messaging is the fastest growing online user behavior, surpassing social networks for the first time this year. Facebook is opening Messenger for business apps and purposes. Slack has gone from internal-only productivity, to comprehensive messaging platform. SMS marketing platforms are growing exponentially. promises to change the way we schedule meetings.  Messaging looks to be a new platform for intelligently interacting with customers, making their lives easier and automating common business functions.  As Deep Learning continues to evolve, increasingly we won’t know if the other end of that chat is a human or a robot.
  4. Lifecycle Messaging is the New Sales. It’s 6x more cost effective to get an existing customer back than get a new customer. 90% of people who download a mobile app never adopt it, and so a new lifecycle messaging industry powered by predictive analytics emerged – and it has now bled into traditional software systems. Sending the right message at the right time to the right customer to reactivate them is becoming easier and more cost effective and will be the next generation of customer relationship management.
  5. Enhanced Customer Data Will Be Leveraged at Scale. Easily available data scraping libraries, open source data marketplaces, diminishing costs of enhanced data and a diminished social stigma of privacy are all creating new opportunities to get enhanced data about your customers, including the ability to target “look-alike” audiences on major ad networks at scale. More data is being collected at every step of the customer and business process and in 10 years we will look back and be shocked at how uninformed our business decisions had been.
  6. Prepare for the New Role of Data Architect. Of course, to power that data revolution, someone needs to make sure that it is being collected in a format that can be correlated across multiple business systems. The data architect role will be crucial early on to make sure business systems and processes are built for visibility and insight from the start.
  7. Predictive Analytics Will Evolve to Auto-optimization. Machine learning is making astounding progress with new open source tools enabling a host of software providers. These will be applied to existing enterprise data to give new insights on how to optimize customer acquisition and lifecycle marketing. The next generation will combine this intelligence with optimization software to auto-optimize interactions through intelligent multivariate testing.   Less time designing tests, more time enjoying better results.
  8. Omnichannel Customer Journeys will Replace Channel Specific Strategies. Customers will continue to interact with businesses on a variety of physical, online and mobile channels. Successful marketers will have to step back from optimizing each channel separately and truly think through the holistic journey across the channels, and in the process better leverage their investments in each.  The in-store purchasing experience will be reimagined powered by augmented reality and data connected customer service reps.
  9. Content will Evolve into Content Applications. Esther Dyson posited that the Internet is a giant copy machine. We are rapidly approaching a content shock: a point where we produce more content than we can consume.  Copy machine blog content that used to help with SEO will go by the wayside.  Truly differentiated content will evolve into marketing content applications that understand your exact needs and personalize to your experience, in the process driving a much better customer experience and 10x content value.
  10. Online Video Usage Will Continue Its Exponential Growth. Video will continue to be the largest media consumption activity, currently at over 6 hours per day. Periscope. Facebook Live. With more channels for video distribution than ever, companies must continue to invest in video content to engage their customers.   Moz’s Whiteboard Friday shows how cost-effective a smart video strategy can be in generating awareness and providing differentiated marketing.

One of Bill Gates’ more famous quotes is that “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.”  These 2016 marketing trends will redefine how we interact with our customers throughout the buyer journey.  Some require immediate investment and all require your immediate attention.   Technology innovation is accelerating us forward faster than ever.  Understanding these trends can help you outmaneuver your competition for the future and ensure your success.

Trevor Sumner is the chief technology officer of LocalVox, a local social and mobile marketing platform for local businesses. Follow Trevor on Twitter @Trevorsumner.