Kimberly A. Whitler | Forbes| November 7, 2015
What are the top predictions for marketers heading into 2016? To find out, I turned to some of the leading experts, including CEOs, Presidents/GMs, CMOs, authors and executive recruiters.
Prediction #1: The Era of Cognitive Commerce has Begun
From Deepak Advani, General Manager for IBM Commerce
At a time when consumers demand instant gratification, marketers must more deeply engage each customer to build advocacy. According to Advani, a former Chief Marketing Officer, the key is cognitive commerce. This will enable marketers to gain insights into a vast collection of information and possibilities, understand what individuals really want and what they are saying, get a line of sight into their unique personalities, how they respond to different messages and much more. With this deeper level of insight marketers can identify patterns and make unlikely connections that allow them to engage consumers in highly personalized in context conversations. This is exactly what we want from brands today and cognition is the key to making it all happen.
Prediction # 2: Real-Time Marketing Analytics will Unite Online and Offline Behavior for Richer Lead Scoring and Nurturing in 2016
From Brian Kardon, CMO, ThinkingPhones
Marketers have great analytics on all their digital marketing programs, including emails, video views, website visits, webinar attendance and many others. But there was never any visibility with the key channel used by the sales team — the telephone. We relied on sales people to enter their calls into the CRM for tracking. Of course, that never really happened. Today, telephone call logs are being integrated with other behavioral data to better understand where the customer is on their buying journey. Perhaps that prospect who never came to your website or opened an email is actually engaged with a rep. An additional benefit is visibility into SLAs (service level agreements) for your sales team. If they agreed to call an “A” lead in 1 hour, you’ll actually know if that was done. Analytics that (finally) include phone connections will lead to better sales/marketing alignment and greater productivity.
Prediction #3: Companies will Reimagine their Branding Efforts to Brand from the Inside Out
From Mark Burgess, President, Blue Focus Marketing, a leading Employee Experience (EX) services consultancy & co-author of The Social Employee.
Studies have shown that only 14% of people trust traditional advertising, and yet 78% of us trust our peers for recommendations. According to Edelman Trust Barometer, employees’ voices have more power than CEOs in the digital bazaar. Leading brands are investing resources to create a workforce of engaged brand ambassadors. The result is a win/win. The company benefits from more authentic communication, and employees build personal brands. At the core of this approach is trust, authenticity, and transparency—the cultural pillars essential for activating the workforce around social business best practices. The net result: “Branding from the inside out.”
Prediction #4: Digital Marketing will Cease (as Marketers Shift to Marketing in a Digital World)
From Michael Schinelli, CMO, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School
Digital has become the consumer lens. The customer journey has become tremendously complex and connected. It’s omni-channel and always on, whether it’s a programmatic campaign or a sale in aisle three. Over the past decade marketers have coped by optimizing multiple individual, (mostly digital) platforms. We hear “digital first” and “mobile first” as rallying cries for those in the throes of this sea change. But there’s a bigger picture emerging: it’s not just the new platforms that are digital, it’s the world. Marketers need to shift from sorting tactics and channels as either digital or not. When they do, they’ll catch up with their customers.
Prediction #5. TV as We Know it, will Change Forever Starting in 2016
From Matt Voda, President, OptiMine, a leader in cloud-based omni-channel marketing analytics and optimization
The media and marketing world has gone through an increasing rate of change, with the explosion of new channels, new devices and entirely new formats arriving on a weekly basis to create massive new opportunities, complexity and headaches for marketers. But those changes will be nothing compared to what is about to hit us on the TV landscape. The arrival of VR (virtual reality) in 2016, combined with a major explosion of streaming and the death of old world distribution models will unleash a new age of what we used to call “TV”. The marketers who will win in this new era will be defined by agility, a constant test & measure mindset, and a foundation of data and analytics. The losers: those who cling to past paradigms and are too slow to adapt.
Prediction #6: 2016 will Become a True Indicator of the Success of Personalization in Generating ROI
From Matt Goddard, CEO of R2i, the digital marketing company
In Gartner’s 2015 Hype Cycle for Digital Marketing, they ranked personalization in the slope of enlightenment meaning that it will reach its plateau in two to five years. This means that the CMO will spend 2016 optimizing content, data and technology so that personalization becomes more of a predictive and pre-planned experience for the customer rather than a result of behavioral engagements that trigger personalization. This trend in 2016 of predictive personalization will rely heavily on data integration and customer segmentations. For the CMO to capitalize on this and be able to show ROI on the investments, s/he should ensure they not only have an integrated marketing cloud now but also a clear set of fully defined personas and customer segments to whom they can deliver the right content at the right time.
Prediction #7: Getting Back to Basics will Trump the Sexy, Shiny New Marketing Vehicle
From C. Dave Minifie, CMO and EVP, Corporate Strategy of Centene Corporation, a $20B healthcare services provider
It’s easy to get caught up in the new-fangled tech trends that allow us to connect more seamlessly with our consumers, but to what end? If you don’t have the basics of your brand and business mastered, the best social media campaign in the world won’t save you. First, know what you stand for. Whether your company calls it a Purpose, Point of Difference, Proposition, or Master Equity, know how you’re different from competitors and drive that message home. Second, while content may be king, context is queen. Make sure you marry your message with your medium.
Prediction #8: Being Human Will Return to Marketing
Alan Hart, Founder & CEO, Avid | avidimpact.com
Your consumers don’t care about agile, programmatic, predictive digital, one-to-one native experiences fueled by big data collection. They want to be inspired. The new frontier will move beyond marketing automation and analytics and become old again by focusing on what actually moves people to buy our products and services. Higher margins and loyalty will again take center stage with the winners being those that can form meaningful and personal connections with shoppers vs. engineer their way to win over hearts and minds.
For the remaining predictions, read the whole article on Forbes.com.