What’s Next for Digital Marketing in 2016

Expectations are a funny concept. There are as many quotes promoting expectation as there are suggestions to avoid expectation altogether.

“If you expect nothing, you’ll never be disappointed.”

“An attitude of positive expectation is the mark of the superior personality.”

“There are two ways to be happy: improve your reality, or lower your expectations.”

My opinion on the optimal level of expectation is it isn’t a black or white situation, and most of the time depends on the who, what and why of a given expectation. For example, expecting somebody or something to change when they’ve shown a prolonged inability or unwillingness to do so is a recipe for disappointment. However, nobody would argue an expectation of success or happiness as a negative thing.

When it comes to marketing, there’s no doubt that expecting results is a healthy attribute for any campaign. But at the same time knowing things won’t go perfectly and will need tweaking and optimizing is just as vital to success. In other words, realize that success comes from staying positive and working hard to achieve goals, not just closing your eyes and expecting everything to go to plan.

On a larger scale, there are a couple types of expectations that could help your business as the calendar turns to 2016. The first is to set expectations by making (or at least reading) predictions for your market or industry. Even if it’s as simple as creating a list of things you thought would happen last year but didn’t quite come to fruition, knowing what to expect is half the battle in many industries, especially if they move as fast as the marketing world.

The second kind of expectation you should always have in your pocket is to expect and embrace the unexpected. Your market or industry shifting in a totally unexpected way; a prized and integral employee leaving for a better job; a disruptive new competitor bursting onto the scene and changing the game. Any of these things would be difficult for your business to deal with, but you’ll be much better off if you’re able to recognize that something unexpected is likely to happen in 2016.

With the marketing industry in mind, we came up with five potential things you can expect to see happen in the coming year. So without further ado, here’s our What’s Next For Digital Marketing In 2016 infographic:

 

 

We’ve talked about the importance of looking to the future to help dictate your current marketing strategy, so that’s exactly what we’re doing in our latest infographic. With special focus on content marketing, wearable tech and increasingly awesome mobile payment developments, here are some trends to watch out for in 2016:

 

 

This isn’t to say we need to stop saying “digital marketing” (we didn’t even do that for this infographic!). And it also doesn’t mean we think “everybody” understands how important marketing in the digital space is in 2016. There are still countless businesses and industries that are lagging behind the curve with their digital game, so there’s no shortage of opportunities for marketers looking to help more brands with their digital campaigns.

We do feel the need, however, to call a spade a spade: marketing is now based in the digital world. But referring to it as “digital marketing” is actually a disservice, because it’s all just helping brands better connect with, and in turn provide value, to their audience. Marketing is still an all-encompassing term, of which “digital” is one component. But there’s no such thing as a “digital marketer” and a “traditional marketer” anymore – we’re all just marketers who use any channel that works to get our messages to the right people.

 

 

Have you ever decided not to purchase something because of how difficult it was to actually complete the transaction? On the flip side, have you ever bought something you didn’t really need simply due to how easy it was to complete the sale? I’ve been on both sides of the transaction coin, so it’s no surprise mobile payment processors and technologies are kicking things into high gear. Getting on board on board with mobile payment as an early adopter has the power to make or break businesses in the coming year. As a marketer or a brand selling products, you’d do well to keep an eye on mobile payment adoption in 2016. Not that you needed the proof, but a recent study found almost 80% of Apple Watch users have tried Apple Pay.

 

 

Given the rate at which it’s grown over the past couple years, it seems impossible content marketing could still get bigger, yet that’s exactly what we’re predicting for 2016. It’s not just that content marketing is growing – it’s also expanding and adapting, to new channels and of course, the always-changing rules of search engines. If you focus on creating, improving or amplifying content in 2016, it’s a good bet you’re on the path to marketing success.

 

 

We’ve talked about a few examples of pervasive advertising in the movies; first it was Her in our mobile marketing whitepaper, and then our co-founder Dan Monaghan touched on it again in his discussion of Minority Report on our podcast. While these films may initially appear to be “way out there” in terms of predicting our future, a little analysis reveals the marketing in the movies to be starkly accurate. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that you are already unaware of some of the ways you are being marketed to (which, when you think about it, is really friggin’ good marketing). Ads will continue to infiltrate our lives in 2016, but since targeting is so accurate and content so excellent, consumers don’t mind as much as they used to.

 

 

Back in May, we explored a predictive content tool called Inbound Writer. As a content marketing geek, I thought the technology was cool at the time (and you should really read the post, because it’s worthwhile for other reasons too). But in 2016, I expect predictive content tools to take a giant leap forward, which means there will be awesome opportunities for those of us inclined to use such tools (hint, hint, nudge, nudge: me and you!). Be on the lookout and take advantage before your competitors do!

 

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That’s all we’ve got for the latest edition of our monthly infographic, but be sure to check back to see what we have in store for January. And remember, keep an eye on the future and expect the unexpected! Here’s the full infographic, in case you want to share or blog about it:

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