Lab Notes

4 Digital Marketing Trends to Watch in 2016

In 2016 digital marketers will be tasked with mastering more skills than ever before.

From measurement and automation to brand and content strategy, marketers will need to be a key bridge connecting silos. And as traditional advertising loses its effectiveness, they’ll need to lead the charge for rapid experimentation aimed at discovering faster paths to growth.

This will require investment in experiment-driven marketing and research, either through building internal capabilities or partnering with specialists.

This kind of work will demand executive level acceptance of (small) failures as essential parts of uncovering scalable opportunities. And as modern marketers know, today the big budget ad campaign is only gas on the fire, not the fire itself.

 

silo

Each year we see the once-siloed marketing department become more integrated within enterprise organizations. In 2016 expect a blurring of the lines between marketing/comms and engineering.

More companies are relying on strong “product as marketing” principles to grow their customer base and that means a more coordinated effort between the marketing team and the engineers building the product.

Take, for example, the wild growth of Slack. The company has grown to be worth more than $2.8 billion with a strong focus on making the product market itself.To-date 97% of its new customers coming by way of referral.

Bringing marketing and engineering together make product teams more nimble and consumer-insight driven.

 

adblock

The conversation on adblocking was escalated in mid-2015 when Apple brought adblocking capabilities to mobile. This precedent has launched a new era bringing adblockers to the mainstream.

With several hundred million (and growing) now blocking ads or having ad blindness, the writing is on the wall for the notoriously inflexible advertising industry.

Consumers have more control than ever, and they vote with their attention. The winning brands of the future will invest in creating stronger brand storytelling and experiences focused on the creation of meaning.

In the post-advertising age, attention can still be bought. From native social ads to syndication, bylined articles to sponsored content, there’s no shortage of new ways to distribute.

But the consumer journey that owned, earned, or paid content triggers must be differentiating and self-guided back to the brand story and business value you stand to create.

Note: In 2016, keep an eye on adblock’s effect on video, media revenue, and even the Presidential election.

 

brands

In 2016, brands who’ve been creating educational content for years will get organized and move to the front of the class.

They will gather their how-to articles, their infographics and white papers, their videos, eBooks and everything else, and organize it all to create branded courses that drive meaningful consumer attention.

As budgets move away from increasingly ineffective ads, this trend has already begun exhibited by Bank of America, LevisPixar, and UnitedHealthCare.

We believe in branded courses so much we created the platform to offer them: The Big Know.

 

automation

Marketing automation has been around, but in 2016 it will reach the mainstream marketer.

We are seeing more new tech that’s allowing brands to create custom experiences in a much easier and less expensive way. While marketing automation has previously been the focus of B2B marketers, the trend is moving toward the B2C space.

We expect 2016 to be the year of breakthrough systems that connect more dots along the customer journey, providing better ways for marketers to serve up unique experiences to customers. Automation is quickly moving past site, ads, and email to extend into consumer’s social experiences as well.

 

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