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2016 Marketing Trends: More Data, More Relevancy and More Accountability

Posted by Ron Jacobs on January 5, 2016

It’s not hard to see how marketing is changing. It’s harder to see what parts of marketing are staying the same. 2016 will be a year where marketing will become more relevant and real time. Marketers will find a new use for the voice (and words) of the customer. Content marketing will take on new roles and marketers will learn some new acronyms. Most importantly, in 2016 successful marketers will start to decode the role of behavior in marketing, something that direct and data-driven marketers discovered decades ago.

Intercepting consumers during micro-moments 
To hear most marketers talk about customers, you would think that consumers are on a constant journey to purchase and consume products and services. This is fiction. In fact, consumers are very often thinking about something completely different when they receive a marketer’s message. This is the case for classic interruption marketing. That doesn’t work anymore. Promotions that don’t use data to drive relevant, contextual, insight-rich messaging are often ignored.

Deciphering customer intent during so-called “micro-moments” will be a skill that is necessary for success in 2016. These moments occur when consumers turn to a device such as a smartphone to watch, learn, act or purchase something. Because micro-moments are discoverable, marketers need to reach consumers when they are in the moment and show them how they can fulfill those needs. Geo-targeting and device targeting will be two of the tools that can be used to take advantage of this trend.

Managing the B2B customer lifecycle

As marketers have gotten better at mapping the customer journey, they have made an important discovery: Customers are not ready or willing to engage in purchase discussions at every stage of their customer lifecycle. In 2016, marketers will start to use journey mapping and customer lifecycle management to better match messaging, content, offers and calls to action to each stage of the lifecycle.

When prospects are at an early stage of the customer lifecycle, when they are first learning what’s available in the market, they are not ready to buy. Marketers that provide a purchase offer as an incentive at this stage are missing an opportunity. When they provide the offer of a free demo when the customer is at the purchase stage, they are often surprised that the prospect has already taken a free trial and is now just looking for the best price. Below is an example of three elements of the customer journey with corresponding ideas for content, messaging and offers at each stage.

Ron article 1

BOPIS: A new way for retailers to spell profits

For the last few years, marketers have been excited about omnichannel marketing. This year’s much anticipated Black Friday saw more sales move online and fewer shoppers in stores. According to Adobe, shoppers in 2015 spent $4.45 billion online on Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day, a 25% year-over-year increase from 2014. Shopping via mobile devices accounted for 34% of sales. So how do bricks-and-mortar retailers keep up? One word: BOPIS.

When you look for an online definition of “bopis,” you’ll quickly find that it is a Filipino dish made with the innards and organ meats of pigs. Well, that’s the right definition for “bopis,” but for retailers, “BOPIS” stands for Buy Online, Pick up In-Store. This is a way that some traditional retail marketers are finding a new niche — and new profits — in the growing online marketing world. For some consumers, it’s important to have the convenience of online ordering and in-store merchandise pickup. And with some relevant, smart promotions targeted at BOPIS customers, they may be converted into “BISBO” customers (Buy In-Store; Buy Online). Together, this can open up a path for improved retail margins.

Data-driven creative: Mining words to use in headlines, subheads, copy, calls to action, etc.

For years, smart content and search marketers have identified and used the combination of keywords and offline creative that drives the most qualified traffic to the web. In addition to their own keywords, they researched and used those of their competitors.

Machine learning tools for text mining and content analysis are opening up a new world for copywriting. In 2016, marketers will not only be using search keywords in copy, they’ll be mining social media, reviews, blog posts, articles, online surveys, competitive ads, websites and more. These words will not only be used in search, digital promotions and online but will be integrated into direct mail, print ads, mobile, video and all of a brand’s channels.

To be clear, skilled copywriters will still be needed to craft great marketing copy. In truth, some of the best copy ever written came from the words consumers used in research and were adapted by a copywriter. This new approach will incorporate the very words used by consumers, brands and search for marketers’ products. This promises to revolutionize multichannel marketing effectiveness just as keyword marketing revolutionized search.

Ron article 2

Inbound marketing remains strong

Inbound marketing will remain important for B2B and B2C marketers in 2016. I have become a big proponent of inbound marketing. No, I don’t mean creating one piece of content, putting it on your website and hoping someone will download it. I mean having a real inbound marketing program, with content created or versioned for different customer segments, different stages of the customer lifecycle and different service offerings. This includes using blogging and social media to promote your content, measuring to learn what works and doesn’t, using (dynamic) forms to capture contact information from those who download content, nurturing and tracking downloader behavior and following up with prospects who seem really engaged.

Ask yourself a few questions:

  • Does your content answer your customers’ questions better than your competitors’ content? I have already mentioned how text mining can help with that. There are lots of other ways.
  • Are you wasting money on content that no one reads or downloads? No one is perfect. Learn from your mistakes and try not to make them again.
  • Are you using any visual content (e.g., SlideShare), infographics or videos? This will be huge in 2016.
  • Are you creating 10 to 12 pieces of content annually for each customer segment? No? It could be a reason that your efforts are falling behind.

Topics: Digital Marketing

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