As I sat last week working up communication plans for lifeguard recruitment, Bike Month, a cemetery photography contest and a 200+ summer intern program, I stared at the finite list of delivery vehicles we typically use and I got bored. Bored, because I was trying to put a fresh spin on the same annual information, but I was still using the same, and what felt like tired, channels we always use. Don’t get me wrong, they work for the purpose, but it motivated me to investigate what new options might be out there.
So at the end of each calendar year we are inundated with lists – Top Celebrity Diets That Are Blue, Popular Holiday Gifts for Dogs, Top Ten New Ghizmos and Thing-a-ma-bobs. With those so recently in my memory, combined with the uninspired feelings while crafting those aforementioned plans, I decided to see what the hot new trends in marketing were for 2016. As you might imagine, those lists weren’t hard to find. It seemed like anyone with any marketing interest was creating such a list, as broad as “Marketing Trends for 2016” (Chaffey, 2016), and smaller niches like “5 Visual Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2016” (DeMers, 2015).
“Dominate,” you say? Let’s see what some others have to say about it. Below are nine lists I found in just one Google search – chances are pretty strong there are many, many more posted online as well. Here are some trends these predictions have in common:
- Relationship Marketing – This is related to ‘know your audience’ and ‘meet your audience where they are,’ hence the emphasis on Snapchat by several lists as a place where younger generations “are flocking” (Sareen, 2015). Snapchat is a platform that enables the marketer to reach the consumer in real time, increasing the ability to develop a relationship with them. And with the bombardment of marketing only increasing, a personalized experience leading to a strong relationship will stand a brand in good stead. I’ve personally avoided the platform (it’s all I can do to manage the ones I already use), but after seeing this mentioned repeatedly, I have accepted my fate.
- Virtual Reality (VR) – With the release of Oculus Rift (a highly anticipated VR device) expected sometime this quarter (Forbes, 2015), marketing prognosticators are expecting VR to rapidly move way beyond video games and real estate tours. Start setting funding aside now for FY17 to experiment with this.
- Internet of Things – Beyond Fitbit, wearable technology is on the cusp of providing marketers with more data than they may have dreamed possible. And with an anticipated user rate of 28% in 2016 (Moraes, 2015), we need to start planning now to anticipate the accuracy of behavior-driven data. Bye-bye assumptions!
- Digital & Mobile – While nothing new, the user rate over other devices continues to grow, and for the first time, Google saw that mobile use outpaced desktop use in 2015, which makes sense, since 68% of American own a smartphone (Entrepreneur, 2015). But laptops and desktops aren’t going away anytime soon, so emails, websites, and other communication vehicles you own need must to be optimized for both to compete.
- Content Rules Them All – Consumers continue to become more savvy, and they are ever-more adept and recognizing (and calling out) insincerity or shaky rationale. Brand trust is valuable and it takes marketers considerable to time and effort to strengthen that, even in the best of conditions. Quality and relevant content continue to increase in importance, so sharpen those writing skills.
In an environment where everyone has an opinion, and the platform to express them, it’s important to take the time to review and assess multiple sources. Because while no one can be 100% certain that orange really is the new black, the data behind these predictions can help point us in the right direction.
May your 2016 database grow and prosper.
Chaffey, D. (2016). Marketing trends for 2016 – Will we be in a post-digital era? Smart Insights. Retrieved from http://www.smartinsights.com/managing-digital-marketing/marketing-innovation/marketing-trends-2016/.
DeMers, J. (2015, December 29). 5 Visual marketing trends that will dominate 2016. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2015/12/29/5-visual-marketing-trends-that-will-dominate-2016/2/#69c9009cf1dd.
DeMers, J. (2015, September 29). The top 7 online marketing trends that will dominate 2016. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2015/09/29/the-top-7-online-marketing-trends-that-will-dominate-2016/#35a3ae964c04.
Hall, J. (2015, November 23). 7 Marketing trends you need to know for 2016. Inc. Retrieved from http://www.inc.com/john-hall/7-marketing-trends-you-need-to-know-for-2016.html.
Impress. (2015). Top 3 digital marketing trends for 2016 (which you should be starting in 2015). Retrieved from http://impress1.com/connect/blog/entry/top-3-digital-marketing-trends-for-2016-which-you-should-be-starting-in-2015.html.
Lucas, J. (2015, December 31). 4 Trends that will shape marketing in 2016. Entrepreneur. Retrieved from http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/254502.
Moraes, M. (2015, September 25). 7 Game-changing marketing trends to tackle in 2016. HubSpot. Retrieved from http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/7-game-changing-marketing-trends-to-tackle-in-2016.
Newman, D. (2015, November 3). The top 10 marketing trends that will define 2016. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/danielnewman/2015/11/03/the-top-10-marketing-trends-that-will-define-2016/#4d46ce517d58.
Sareen, H. (2015, August 03). 4 Marketing trends to watch for in 2016. ClickZ. Retrieved from https://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/2419469/4-marketing-trends-to-watch-for-in-2016.