The beckoning of a post about the latest marketing trends can be hard to resist. This year kicked off with a flood of insights and advice that business owners, executives and marketing professionals can take advantage of. Encouraged by the consistency among industry experts about the top marketing trends, I have pulled together a take-away summary from a few of my favourites. For those immersed in B2B, you will want to reach for B2B-relevant “wearable” shades. Relevance, as you will see, is key to the top marketing trends across all sectors. Tech products such as wearables, on the other hand, may or may not be up there for B2B.
1. Relevant Content Marketing
Growth of content marketing served as the prime trending topic to start-off the recent 2016 Marketing Trends panel discussion organized by the Canadian Association of Marketing Professionals (CAMP) and facilitated by Sarah O’Conner, Editor of Direct Marketing Magazine. Panelist included Treefrog CEO Sean Stephens, Walmart Director of Marketing Jon Rosemberg, Hardboot CEO Jeff Potvin and Uberflip COO Randy Frisch.
The consensus at the CAMP event and among key industry sources (see source links below) pointed toward dominance of content marketing, particularly as it hones-in on relevant content and uses integrated tools. Marketers are waking up to the importance of aligning content marketing to various stages of the buyer journey and for being in the right place at the right time.
- The value of content marketing improves as it moves beyond content creation into thought-leadership.
- Thinking through the relevance of content extends to suitable context for varied platforms where buyers will be seeing or viewing the content including visuals and videos as well as small and large pieces of information posted.
- All in all, marketers will get more mileage (a.k.a. ROI) by focusing on the customer experience, keeping it rich and relevant.
- The Microsoft infographic link included in the MarketingProfs article Hot Marketing Trends for 2016 has some great stats in favour of interactive (visual) stories, desired episodic content, and use of influencer-based programs.
2. More Marketing Analytics
The ability to deliver relevant content is closely tied to the deployment of automation tools and dedicated marketing analytics to determine what is actually working.
Big data is not just for big business anymore. B2B marketers have flexibility to drill down to reveal preferences and segments with the obvious Google Analytics and built-in data when running social medial campaigns. Tools such as Insight Squared as well as other apps and website sales conversion tools e.g., Spring Metrics, Woopra, Clicky, and KISSmetrics add to the ease of gathering data.
Daniel Newman said it best in his article about marketing trends in the Forbes publication.
“Big data, which includes social and unstructured data, is a goldmine for marketers. Until recently, many marketers shied away from big data because they lacked the skills—or the big budget resources—to translate it into something meaningful. Now, tools are coming to the marketplace that make mining and managing data easier than ever. 2016 will be a banner year for incorporating big data and perhaps more importantly, analytics into marketing decisions.”
3. Focus on Marketing ROI
Relevant content and good analytics make for a powerful combination to produce results, specifically for Return on Investment. At the end of the day, it is all about bringing money through the door. It seems perplexing to see ROI on a trend list. Is it not always at the top of the list, ever important as opposed to a topic of increasing importance?
The ease of measurement certainly improves upon the ability to deliver ROI to owners and investors as marketers track prospects through the sales funnel. In that sense, marketing ROI is gaining strength as a by-product of the first two trends.
4. Integration of Tech Products
What would a list of the latest Marketing Trends be without the mention of tech products? Virtual reality and wearable technology edge closer to mainstream. B2B and other businesses with core values rooted in being up with trends will be looking for ways to integrate marketing efforts with tech products. Relevance to target audiences and way to amplify the excitement of customer experience will weigh-in as it does for content marketing.
For many B2B enterprises, exploring applications of tech products are likely to remain as lofty ambitions. At the very least, B2B will be setting their sights on finally jumping onto the mobile bandwagon.
5. Advent of Ad Blockers
The presence of ad blockers will have marketers thinking hard about where to spend their advertising dollars. Advice from CAMP panelists was to lean toward advertorial-style promotion. Keep it engaging.
By the way, if you want to read the Forbes article without a subscription, you will be asked to turn off your ad blocker. Every business needs to make money.
Take-Away In Summary
Marketers can take comfort in knowing they are on the right track seeing repeated mentions of relevant content at the right time and place, if that is the foundation of their marketing objectives and analysis. Tactically speaking, two of the three sources supplementing the CAMP Marketing Trend discussion provides quantitative figures on the budget spending and mix of B2B content marketing. These may prove useful for any priority quandaries still lingering as you apply marketing resources for this year.
Do tell if any of all of the blog was relevant to you! Scroll to the end to add thoughts, comments or questions.
Bonus Source on subject of More Marketing Analytics: LunaMetrics – What’s Premium About Google Analytics Custom Funnels