At the start of every year, many inbound marketers like to take a glimpse into what the future holds. It’s exciting to see what new software, hardware, and strategies are at the forefront, and make predictions about what will become the next best thing … and what will fizzle out.
The marketing trends for this year will not disappoint, so here’s a look at what to expect and how to plan for what’s ahead.
Video and images are essential.
Much like the last two years, imagery will continue to drive traffic, generate leads, and convert sales. However, some marketers are still getting on board to use video and images, so you’ll be competing with many more companies for customer attention. Plus, Google is now incorporating in-SERP video ads, giving your content much more exposure.
Virtual reality and 3D are the next major shift.
Video and images will continue to be essential–even more so as developers launch products enabling virtual reality and 3D technology for marketing. While the market will generally focus on gaming, there are opportunities marketers must seize. Integration with social media and video channels will lead to more direct messaging for users.
Make sure you’re optimized for mobile.
Users of portable devices will become even more reliant on mobile usage as compared to desktops, so your pages must be developed accordingly. Use responsive design techniques or create a separate app for users to ensure smooth, glitch-free navigation.
Marketers must embrace the omnichannel approach.
Marketing has always been about reaching your potential customers in the places they’re hanging out. In 2016, they’ll be all over and expect you to be there with them. An integrated approach to the customer experience is important–one that blends interactions for a seamless encounter, instead of a series of connections through your website, social media, and app separately.
This is especially important for businesses with a brick-and-mortar location in addition to online marketplace. If there’s a disconnect between the two experiences, there will be a disruption in your messaging.
Social media is a channel, not a strategy.
For years, marketers have used social media as a strategy for reaching customers. However, these platforms aren’t an approach on their own; rather, your social media profile is a part of your comprehensive marketing strategy–it’s a channel for messaging, not a separate tactic. Think of it as a microphone that supplements and amplifies your content.
Wearables and the Internet of Things (IoT) will dominate.
Wearable technology means your customers are never without their smart device; the IoT is turning everyday objects into network connections. These solutions gained some traction in 2015 and you can expect them to boom in the coming months. The landscape of local marketing will see the most impact as the lines between online and traditional marketing become blurred.
The 2016 Outlook
If there’s one common theme tying together all of these sales and marketing trends, it’s that marketers must focus on the customer experience in their efforts. Your content must meet the desires of demanding customers, delivering relevance and context through the channels they want. They have high expectations and limited patience, so your strategies must meet their needs and expectations to get a leg up over the competition.