As we enter the 2nd quarter of 2016 some are still wondering what this year will bring. What can we, for example, expect in the area of B2B marketing? What are the most important trends and evolutions? We have evaluated and assessed the most important predictions. The result is something between a trend list and a wish list. Therefore, Twends.
1. Mobile marketing will become the focal point
There are more mobile devices today than there are people, ranging from smartphones to tablets to so-called “wearables”. The result of this evolution is that smaller screens are gaining importance in regard to larger screens. For some brands they are the ideal medium to communicate with their clients. Especially because mobile internet connection rises exponentially and the distribution of personalised, contextual content becomes easier.
2. Brands should become more honest and credible
Occasional TV viewers could have missed it, but the era in which brands could sell any BS is actually long gone. Consumers are more critical towards brands and evaluate the relevance for them personally or for the society they live in. Those who pass the test are rewarded with shares and recommendations of their branded content. Advocate marketing is a term that will become more common and those who really want to engage with their clients, should dare to take a look in the mirror.
3. The importance of good content is continually growing
Content, and in particular visual content, is still king. That is beneficial for creative brands who are able to adapt quickly and can count on specialised partners for this. Classical advertising agencies should retrain and become content providers as the traditional media model is also continually under pressure. On top of this, clients create and spread more content themselves (user generated content). It can be in the form of presentations, social media posts, blogs. As a result brands have to accept that they no longer have all the power. Smart brands don’t resist, but are looking for ways to “work together” with their clients.
4. Marketing automation will finally be used how it is supposed to
Up until now we’ve associated marketing automation too often with unsolicited mails and pop-ups because certain data and behaviours are unilaterally interpreted. When advertisers take their time to filter this information and match it to the real needs of their clients, they have a powerful tool that will change their way of communicating forever. The dream of every marketer to communicate “one-to-one” with his clients is within reach. Companies are best to turn to a reliable partner who can show them the way through the wilderness of marketing software.
5. Analysis and reporting are gaining importance
Measurement is knowledge. This definitely is the motto for online campaigns. There is no lack of tools, but there is a significant one of time and knowledge. Here again, advertising agencies are there to help their clients determine the right KPIs and interpret the results. Clear reporting is a service on demand that allows the advertisers to adjust the campaigns in real time.
6. The internet of things is maturing
Houses, televisions, cars, appliances, almost all devices can communicate with each other nowadays. Up until now most of the applications are considered “fun gadgets”, but as brands start to use these functions more intelligently, this can quickly change.
The internet of things can be implemented in many domains to reward clients, generate feedback, elaborate or facilitate services and create touch points with the target audience. The number of mobile applications and apps that make use of this will grow immensely.
7. The modern marketer is an expert again
Similar to advertisers who can no longer tell whatever they want, the era of the shady sales person is over. The image of the smooth, not always reliable sales boy is up for adjustment because modern marketers know what they are doing. The number of channels, the technological possibilities, the data available and the speed we have to deal with, clearly has nothing to do with the Mad Men era anymore. On top of this, everything evolves so quickly, that you always have to remain up-to-date. Bad news for the bunglers, good news for the experts.
8. The client is no longer king, but emperor
With the rising popularity of ad blockers, the reign of pushy advertisers is coming to its end. Brands should realize that they cannot oblige anyone to listen to their story. They should make an effort to make their story interesting and relevant and win the client over. Old techniques should be re-evaluated and the measurability of digital channels seriously questions the reliability and efficiency of traditional media. More than ever the client determines how and when he will be approached. Smart advertisers will use this to their benefit.
9. CX point of view
In accordance with the previous point, customer experience will increasingly be used as a point of view when determining a communication strategy.
It is no longer about what message the brand would like to convey, but rather about how the consumer would like to experience the brand. This is entirely in line with the general evolution towards inbound marketing and the need for content and context.
10. More companies are reorganising
Digital marketing is a term that is more often used nowadays, simply because it has become the standard. Life is digital, therefore, marketing is too.
Still, this is not immediately reflected in the structure of most companies. People keep holding on to departments or silos with separate budgets, platforms, objectives and strategies. IT, sales, marketing and customer services should continually collaborate and there is a need for a structural cooperation. One client, one strategy, a whole lot of data and many possibilities! Companies who will use this to their advantage in 2016 will work more efficiently, decrease costs, and take a solid head start with regard to their competitors.
- Traditional strategies, techniques and models are increasingly under pressure.
- Advertising agencies as well as advertisers should reorganise.
- Measurable ROI is the new standard.
- The need of the client transcends that of the brand.
- Content and context gain importance in a mobile environment.
In conclusion: The digital, mobile market is maturing and this will change the way brands communicate with their clients forever. Those who ignore this important change will lose relevance and modern marketers will reap the harvest. Trend or wish? Only the future will tell!