Clockwise from top left: Kelsey Meyer, Joel Kelly, Abbi Whitaker, Trevor Sumner, Mike Kapetanovic, Andrew Howlett, Brandon Stapper, Curtis Thornhill. All photos courtesy of individual members.
Forbes recently asked eight agency executives from its Forbes Agency Council, to share what marketing trends they expected to play a huge role for the rest of the year and beyond. We’re bullish on #4 & 5 as we continue to evangelize the importance of the most common denominator – knowing your customer. This is a recommended read.
The proliferation of digital marketing channels has exploded in recent years and is increasingly taking up a larger percentage of brands’ overall marketing spend. Optimizing SEO, launching targeted email campaigns, and measuring the ROI of PPC have all become top-of-mind for brands looking to connect with their customers on a deeper level.
As we get deeper into 2016, expect to see a surge of cutting-edge ways to make digital marketing more personalized, whether that’s through unlocking unique insights through customer data, or tapping into new forms of engagement, such as voice interaction.
Below, eight agency executives from Forbes Agency Council share the digital marketing trends they expect to play a huge role for the rest of this year (and beyond).
- Content Distribution
While we all know quality content is beneficial for our long-term goals, many companies are still underestimating the value of content distribution. When you spend time and resources building out an editorial calendar of content but don’t see positive ROI, your distribution strategy may be to blame. Find niche publications in your industry so you know where your audience is engaging the most. – Kelsey Meyer, Influence & Co.
- Booking and Purchase Enhancements
Expect the “Amazon-ification” of the web. Complicated booking and shopping engines will disappear and be replaced with one-click shopping. If your website features an out-of-date shopping cart that requires the user to jump through hoops, expect a competitor with an easier booking process to steal them away. – Joel Kelly, VERB Interactive
- Multi-Channel Loyalty Marketing
The traditional loyalty programs that involve getting rewarded for spending money are quickly falling by the wayside, and brands are looking to multi-channel programs that allow customers to get rewarded for activities and engagements. The millennial generation isn’t looking for things either — instead, they are looking to give their rewards away to philanthropic causes and events. – Abbi Whitaker, The Abbi Agency
- Predictive Analytics
Many companies are locking down their data architectures to leverage big data analytics that not only better segment data and look for causation in new and interesting ways, but can also predict the outcomes of future scenarios. Mix that with automation to test those scenarios, and you have proactive marketing automation that can tell you which campaigns will be successful before you even run them. – Trevor Sumner, LocalVox
- Customer Insights
Data-driven customer engagement is shifting back to the good, old-fashioned relationship marketing practices of customer grooming, retention and loyalty. An investment in customer modeling will produce not only quantifiable outcomes, but also messages that resonate. In other words, what’s important is the marketer’s skill at mining the meaningful and actionable opportunities that data reveals. – Curtis Thornhill, Apt Marketing Solutions
- Website Responsiveness
In April 2015, when Google started rewarding mobile-friendly websites, the stage was set for the biggest digital marketing trend of 2016. Responsive websites are no longer an option but now are truly a necessity. In 2016, we are going to see every well-managed company with a desktop-only website make the conversion to a responsive, mobile-friendly service. – Brandon Stapper, 858 Graphics
- Voice Interaction
One of the big stories of 2015 was the official launch of the Amazon Echo and Alexa Voice Service platform. Amazon democratized the voice experience and early brands, such as Campbell’s, have jumped onto the platform with enthusiasm. Voice is a basic interaction people feel comfortable with, and marketers need to find useful ways to interact with consumers on these platforms. – Andrew Howlett, Rain
- Marketing Automation
While marketing automation has been on the scene for a few years, adoption is exponentially climbing. By year-end, approximately 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies will be leveraging a marketing automation platform (versus 25 percent of Fortune 500 companies in 2013). With a competitive ecosystem of 200-plus platforms, each is rapidly evolving offering more sophisticated solutions for companies and organizations. – Mike Kapetanovic, LMO Advertising