There goes 2015… what’s in store for B2B marketing in 2016? Check out our 7 predictions for the industry – spanning strategy, advertising, and new technologies.
Robots writing content sounds like sci-fi. But it’s already here. Forbes, using Narrative Science, uses artificial intelligence-based algorithms to write some of its news stories. Admittedly this is currently limited to straight-up financial reports (eg Company A reported profit of X amount). But software like this is only going to become more widespread. That means writers will be freed up to focus on creating more sophisticated content.
Customer experience will be the key battleground in 2016. With so many channels for engagement, today’s customer expects a unified experience across devices. Get it right, and customers become advocates for your brand. That means it’s up to marketers to ensure they supply the right content, at the right time, at the right stage of the buyer’s journey.
Remember when the web was labelled “new media” and newspapers and TV were seen as “media”? After a few years, these two entities converged to become… media. The same is happening with digital marketing. Online and offline marketing are part of the same marketing mix, and no longer seen as separate entities. And so the definition of a marketing manager will also automatically include digital marketing management.
Global demand for cloud services continue to rise, offering companies new ways to scale and compete. And for B2B marketers, this means increased opportunities for anywhere and anytime working. Campaigns can become more dynamic, with real-time updates. Apps like Periscope, where users can broadcast live from their mobiles, offer new ways to deliver content. Hybrid tablet/laptop devices will further evolve to meet the needs of the B2B market.
CRMs enable marketers to crunch unprecedented volumes of data. Social media provides a stream of real-time customer insight. But the Internet of Things promises to take this onto a new level. An estimated 50 million “things” will be connected by 2020, ranging from home lighting to smart cars. That means marketers will be able to tap into a stream of data 24/7… in theory. In practice? This amount of data will need specialists to process it all. And it means data science will become an integral part of the marketing landscape in 2016.
This isn’t another “SEO is dead” clickbait headline. But SEO is evolving. Search engines are no longer fooled by dodgy SEO tactics that get websites up the rankings (temporarily, before they’re caught and demoted). Open source options like WordPress make it easy for non-technical people to build websites that rank in Google. Of course, there’s always room for dedicated SEO specialists. But with the availability of optimisation tools such as Optimizely and Hotjar, expect to see marketing strategies increasingly focus on converting existing traffic.
Apple’s iOS update, in September 2015, was a watershed moment. Its Safari browser now blocks ads by default, instead of expecting users to manually install ad-blockers. What does this mean for websites which rely on advertising for income? They could ask users to pay for content and services… a route where many have tried and failed. Instead, the answer lies in native advertising. Because most users understand advertising helps to keep content free. That means websites developing ads that add to – not interfere with – the online user experience. After all, product placement works in TV shows and movies, so there’s no reason why it won’t work online.