12 Ruthless Marketing Trends in 2016

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Strong Ecommerce Growth & Integration in Social Media Networks

Ecommerce will continue its strong growth. Internet and social media usage will also keep growing. The growth of bandwidth offers additional opportunities for ecommerce, social media and apps. Networks like Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat will offer new commercial features through social commerce integration allowing direct purchase on their network. Digital skills will become ever more important and the skills gap will continue to grow for both organizations and individuals. Having digital assets will become a differentiator.

How will your organization seize the online opportunities in 2016? 


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Customer-Obsessed: More (Human) Conversations, Interactions & Personalization

Just being customer-centric is not going to cut it in 2016. Your business has to be customer-obsessed focusing on dialogues (preferably individual conversations with customers), relationship marketing and personalization. Focus on the long-term customer interaction and not just on the short-term sale. Develop strong relations and nurture ambassadors for your brand. Collaborate closely with the key communities (communities as the new compartmentalization based on shared interests). Humanize your brand and let consumers co-market your brand.

How customer-obsessed is your organization?


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Does marketing transcend other business disciplines in your organization? 

Discipline Transcending Marketing in a Digital World

All business disciplines have a role in marketing in a digital world. Sales, HR, Finance, Logistics – they all have customer contacts and embody the corporate culture, values and brand. Every business discipline can benefit from a marketing mindset. Consider for instance employer branding by HR and social selling by Sales. Involving all disciplines in your product development and major campaigns increases the chance of success exponentially.


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Is mobile already your first screen?

Mobile Magic: Mobile Will Dominate Desktop (First Screen)

Mobile will dominate desktop and surpass desktop as the first screen. This trend is powered by the time that consumers spend on mobile, all mobile payments and the possibilities for mobile marketing automation: the desktop is quickly being outflanked. Within mobile campaigns content can easily be personalized (based on location and user profile) and well timed. Mobile (video) advertisements become increasingly popular. At the same time mobile users become more demanding. Fast loading speeds, excellent User Interaction (UI) and User Experience (UX) are crucial for success.


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How relevant and distinguishing is your content?

Content Marketing: Offer Multiple Experiences based on Content Interaction

For content ‘Go Big or Go Home’ applies. Average or even good content is insufficient to have real impact. Furthermore the marketing of your content must be excellent. It’s all about offering multiple experiences depending on how people interact with your content (not necessarily ‘mobile first’). Offer relevant content at the right moment. Work with influencers or create branded content. Think about republishing and repurposing content, offering content in episodes, and about remarketing. Visual content is increasingly popular as witnessed by the rise of live streaming video (Periscope, Meerkat, Snapchat, YouTube) and cinemagraphs (static elements in the photo move like in a GIF on Facebook). In the US acquisitions of successful (video) blogs, podcasts etc. are expected in order to increase the digital assets.


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Are your customer journeys omni-channel?

Seamless Omni-Channel Customer Journeys through Marketing Automation

A seamless experience for customers is essential. The rise of new tools is making it easier to create flexible customer journeys where customers get relevant information per step or phase. Make the most of measuring customer behavior for the continuous improvement of the omni-channel customer journey. Put customers first instead of campaigns – often your own campaigns compete with one another and keep retargeting customers that have already bought your product or service in another campaign. Use marketing automation to manage and improve your customer journeys (make sure you have great content in place before you automate!).


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How well is your business aware of the coming chances regarding search?

Search Becomes a Social Experience from Search to Buying & Sharing

Search is evolving now that for instance Facebook is testing its own search engine. It will no longer be the exclusive domain of Google, Bing and Yahoo. The social experience from search to buying and sharing experiences is becoming more integrated (also see Trend #1 about Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat). SEO is moving further toward content marketing (see Trend #5). App indexing is becoming of interest as apps will become much more important in Google search. Apps will be key tools for organizations. Google is also experimenting with video ads in the search results. And for search this keeps applying: ‘a picture is worth a thousand words…’.


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What are your experiences with advertising and ad-blockers?

Advertising: The Battle Between Relevance and Ad-blockers

Native advertising* will dominate mobile marketing. A huge challenge for advertising is the rise of ad-blockers – people are tired of irrelevant, disturbing or annoying ads and are blocking ads more frequently. Just like for content in general the same applies here: the more relevant your ad, the better the results. Also check Trend #9 about ephemeral marketing. Advertising is expected to become more expensive in 2016.

* Advertising integrated in a platform in a way that customers use it; like Promoted Tweets on Twitter or Sponsored Stories on Facebook.


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Are you already using ‘ephemeral’ marketing techniques? 

Ephemeral Marketing – Exclusivity and Temporality

Ephemeral marketing is all about less standard, less long lasting, and less one-size-fits-all marketing campaigns. Location-based ads with exclusive content (with a short-term deadline in order to increase the urgency of the Call-to-Action) become more important. Also the targeting is becoming more precise using personal information of users. Snapchat is heavily betting on ephemeral marketing. Meanwhile, don’t underestimate the role that sms and email (can) still play in (ephemeral) marketing.


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How data-driven is your marketing?

Data Chain: Breakthrough of Big Data and smart CRM

Big data tools and CRM tools are becoming more sophisticated and easier in terms of analysis, usage and applications. This enables faster, smarter and better marketing actions. From data-analysis to CRM campaigns you can get much more out of data, manage it actively, and influence your results (almost) real-time. Marketing automation tools have 2-way syncs with most of the popular CRM tools. Expertise (in-house or vendors) in the area of data will be an important success factor. Good Data Scientists/Artists will be in high demand and will therefore become scarce. Modern CRM tools are now also attainable for small businesses (affordable, easier to deploy) and will grow very strongly.


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How important will wearables and Virtual Reality be for your business?

The Rise of Wearables & Virtual Reality (VR)?

Already for several years wearables and virtual reality seem to be on the verge of a breakthrough. So far however the results of Google Glass-type of products were somewhat disappointing. Now in-your-face-concepts are literally arising and big companies with a lot of marketing power are betting on this (e.g. Oculus Rift from Facebook and the HoloLens from Microsoft). Timing is key and it seems that the traction will quickly increase and that the applications will be marketed in more scalable volumes.



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How transparent and accountable is your marketing?

Transparency and Accountability: Focus on the Return on Marketing Investment

The return on (online) marketing is becoming evermore transparent. Positively influencing your return on marketing will be the key success factor to prove your added value as a marketing team. Also additional marketing investments can be secured based on proven results. It’s not as much about the so-called vanity metrics (e.g. Likes) but about things like conversion rates in your customer journey, acquisition costs per customer.


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Want to discuss the marketing opportunities for your business?

Contact us:

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Twitter: @GuidoKerkhof / @2igniteNL