Lauren Bates

Hello 2016 – nice to see you! Now that the reflection phase of the year is over, let’s talk about what to focus on this year! #trending

We already touched on our favorite trends, but the following trends are worth recognizing too. So let’s get to it. First up, customer experience! If you aren’t focusing on the customer experience, you should be. Customer experience builds brand loyalty and advocacy. Your current customers are your biggest cheerleaders, so why not foster that connection?

A website customer experience can get lost in translation though, so it’s important to focus on how a customer experiences your site. From browsing to checkout, what does that journey look like? Does it reflect your brand and is it easy to navigate? The value has to be mutually beneficial. The tricky part is that experience means different things to different people.

Which leads us to the next point – personalization! Highly personalized campaigns have been shown to drive better results. According to a 2015 CMO Council survey, 43% of marketers said personalization led to more conversions. Customers need to see a tangible benefit to giving out their information. So make sure they know what they will receive in the exchange, and make it fun!

One thing that will keep your customers loyal is a well-thought-out content marketing strategy. According to a Content Marketing Institute study, research showed that 53% of the most effective marketers have a strategy devoted entirely to content marketing.

You see, content marketing is able to cut through the noise of traditional marketing, as well as foster an emotional connection with your customers. However, don’t focus solely on branding. A little here and there is okay because after all, you want to keep your customers aware of what you’re up to. But content marketing needs to provide value to your customers. Make sure that messaging is as natural and personalized as possible. And curate content and experiences that are meaningful.

By now, we have heard that data is vitally important to marketing efforts, but the data that is being collected needs to be relevant. So look at data that will give insight on what consumers are really looking for such as, landing pages, time spent on the site, where they are bouncing, etc.

At its heart (and not surprisingly), data gives marketers valid information to make better decisions by tailoring marketing efforts to target audiences. But collecting the right data can be tricky. That is why, according to research done by the CMO Council and Ebiquity, close to three-fourths of marketers plan to seek outside help for their data needs.

Which brings us to revenue attribution. Revenue attribution is changing the way marketing dollars are spent. There are so many ways that customers can make a purchase online, and so many channels can be influencers. That is why traditional media dollars are shifting more and more to digital, and more brands are adding revenue attribution technology. Why? Well, revenue attribution delivers insight into which channels (display, paid social, search, etc.) and tactics (placement, creative, size, etc.) are most effective in driving new visitors and sales.

So the previous five trends all kind of feed off of each other, and made sense in an overall marketing strategy. But this last trend doesn’t go with the others… but stay with me… The final trend for this year is augmented/virtual reality. Now, this isn’t to say that marketers should run out and invest large amounts of money into AR and VR (augmented reality and virtual reality respectively), but it is definitely something to keep an eye on.

According to a Gartner report, an estimated 25 million virtual and augmented reality headsets will be sold to consumers by 2018. In addition, Digi-Capital suggests that AR/VR could generate $150 billion in revenue by 2020, with AR attributing $120 billion of the whole. Like we mentioned, widespread use of AR and VR tech is still a few years out, but it is worth keeping up with.

That rounds out the rest of our favorite trends in the coming year! Hope this year brings you success, creativity, and all the KPI achievements of your dreams. And if you ever need any help, drop us a line. We are always here if you need us.