Few industries are as fast-paced as marketing, and it can be difficult to judge which directions it will be going in a few months time, let alone a year. That in mind, however, here are eight marketing trends to look out for in 2016, some of which you may be able to apply to your own strategy with success…
SMS Marketing has been undergoing something of a resurgence in recent years, and for good reason. Why should you use it? It’s cost-effective, often with staggered pricing packages based on the number of texts sent; with very high open rates it’s likely to get better results than many other forms of marketing such as email, and by all accounts most recipients don’t seem to find SMS messages from brands intrusive, especially when they’re relevant to them and offer them a good deal or something they need.
The extraordinary growth rate of smartphone ownership makes it easier than ever for brands to establish meaningful two-way relationships with their customers. Marketers are very focused now on using data segmentation to make messages as personalised as possible. Relationship marketing must be built on trust, and it can increase the opportunity of creating brand advocates, so if you believe in the power of word-of-mouth advertising, this could be an area you want to look at closely.
Internet Of Things
The next few years are going to see many more types of device being connected to the internet – ikettles anyone? – and wearable tech is moving in leaps and strides, literally in the case of movement-tracking devices for sports-enthusiasts. As a result, there’s a great deal of useable data becoming available to marketers from all over the place – how much of it will actually serve a valuable purpose is yet to be determined, but there is obviously potential in it. What possibilities does the internet of things hold for your company?
This is one of the most exciting developments yet to emerge from the rise of smartphone use. Just to give one instance of how it can be used – companies can place small electronic beacons around a location such as a store or a conference hall to help them communicate with smartphones in the close vicinity. So if you have someone waiting in line to pay a cashier at a busy period you can offer them the ability to pay online, or remind them of a daily discount. If someone is attending an event you can remind them your brand has a stall, or send them news via LinkedIn. Not everyone will enjoy having their location tracked by marketers of course, but it’s undeniable that there are exciting prospects for this field.
Increased automation in marketing is getting a lot of people excited. Whether it’s timing social media posts, emails or SMS marketing in advance, or segmenting and analysing data, automation is becoming easier and less expensive, and will yield better results in return for less time spent on the tasks. Will we one day have robots writing blog articles? This author hopes not, but technology is disrupting the processes of all industries nowadays and marketing is no exception.
Social Media E-Commerce
Making purchases through social media has been on the cards for years now – in fact some sites such as Pinterest and Instagram have already been experimenting with it for a while. Many experts believe that 2016 will be the year that social media e-commerce truly takes off. You may be able to buy a product you see on a brand’s Facebook page just by clicking a button, and never leaving the platform, before sharing news of your purchase with friends and family. Big and innovative retailers will be following developments on this eagerly.
The path to purchase will become ever more complex, with research often spanning multiple platforms and devices, so it’s important for brands to have a coherent story across the web, and to track where in the pipeline customers are entering, offering payment options throughout. The need for mobile optimisation of websites has never been greater, and the fact that some three-quarters of consumers consult social media before purchasing cannot be ignored. If you’re not socially active, you’re missing out.
This will continue to thrive in 2016 and beyond. Whether it’s blog articles, videos, infographics or podcasts, the number of ways that brands can get their message across is always increasing. Look at your current content strategy – can you mix things up a little? Understand what types of content work best for you, and focus on producing more of it.