Putting together your business and marketing plans for 2016? Hope so! Here are four major trends in marketing to keep in mind for the coming year when making your plans:
1. Marketing automation
With the ability to reach and connect with customers through more marketing channels than ever before, businesses are looking for additional ways to simplify, organise and automate their marketing campaigns.
Software platforms designed to help businesses market on multiple channels at once (including email, social media, websites, etc., and connecting to CRMs, as well), while also automating repetitive tasks and producing high-quality reports, are already widely available. In fact, experts suggest that this quickly-growing software field will grow to $5.5 billion by 2019.
HubSpot, Marketo and Pardot are three of the biggest names for all-encompassing software, but programs like MailChimp can also help you automate email campaigns and combine efforts across platforms.
2. An increase in video ads
We’ve already seen huge growth in the use of video for advertising, education and branding (YouTube alone has 4 billion visits per day), but marketing experts suggest that the use of video ads will continue to increase in 2016. This is due in no small part to the rumour that Google will include video ads (or at least thumbnails) in addition to text in their search results next year.
As usual, Google is not providing too much information about this change yet, but since they own YouTube, it’s likely to happen.
3. Customer experience will dominate
Customers can learn a lot about your business, products, prices, services AND reputation online before choosing to make a purchase. With a bit of research, the internet makes almost everything available – and having the lowest price isn’t everything. So what makes a customer choose one business over another today? Their experience with you.
According to Gartner, Inc., customer-centric organisations will gain a huge advantage through customer experience strategies, marketing integration, social media and leveraging customer data and information. Research indicates that within just a few years, 89% of businesses will be competing primarily on customer experience – and by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their business relationships without interacting with other humans.
What does that mean for you? If customers have trouble using your website, engaging with you, or your customer experience is poor, the word will get out and you’re going to start losing business fast.
4. Apps and more apps
With the continued rise of mobile devices (numbers should climb to 2 billion smartphone users worldwide in 2016), connected customers are beginning to spend more time using apps than websites. About half of all mobile phone users have apps downloaded – and mobile app users tend to be better educated and have a higher income than other mobile phone users. Plus, research indicates that loyal customers who download free mobile apps from their favourite businesses spend twice as much time on them as on mobile websites.
As long as they can find the information they need and have a good experience (see #3 above), customers are likely to use an app that’s available even when they don’t have internet access – so depending on your business’ goals and priorities, an app may be worth considering if you don’t already have one.
Need help developing your 2016 marketing plans?
If you need assistance in any of these areas, contact Breathe Marketing today.