Whats hot in marketing in 2016?

It’s the end of the year, and while as we’re about to embark on an influx of holiday cheer and overeating, it’s exactly the time we start thinking about the year ahead.

At the Canadian Association of Marketing Professionals (CAMP), marketing is our favourite topic. There’s nothing we love more than to sit back and reflect about the year gone by and mull over what’s upcoming. 2015 was a year of Inbound Marketing, where topics like Content, Big Data, and Integration dominated the marketing waves. And while we may not have necessarily added all of these topics to our tactics, we certainly paid attention to them.

As 2016 emerges, it’s time to start looking at what’s hot in marketing for the New Year. Here are our predictions:

1. It is still about the customer. Hardly groundbreaking, we know. 2016 promises to focus the marketer on fully integrated marketing experiences – using comprehensive marketing automation tools. While not all marketers may be ready for this significant investment, we can all rest assured that putting the customer first is still paramount in the marketer’s eyes. That means listening to the client, engaging, and finding inventive ways that clients can interact with you and your brand.

2. A new wave of social media. No, we’re not talking the new Instagram, but a new way of understanding social media. Marketers will begin to embrace social media as an integral piece of all marketing plans, but not as a stand-alone process. Marketing Generalists have understood this for years: social media will not replace other channels, but enhance them. All marketing strategies must include the appropriate social media channels, but without the constant question on ‘What’s the return on investment?” To paraphrase Canadian social media guru and author Scott Stratten, asking the ROI of social media is like asking the ROI of your phone. 2016 is the year we finally get this.

3. Wearables are coming. Heck, they’re already here, but 2016 will see a much more widespread adoption. Innovators and early adopters have been walking around with Android watches and FitBits for at least the last year, but wearables have yet to fully break through to the mainstream. The “Internet of Things” will become much more widespread, as retail companies start to introduce technology that makes integration with our smartphones and our homes no longer a thing of the future. And once wearables take hold, it’s a whole new world for marketers. Are you ready?

4. The rise of brand advocates. Relationship Marketing will be a hot topic for 2016. By focusing on building long term relationships with clients rather than quick acquisitions, by regularly engaging, and you’ll find what results isn’t just loyalty – it’s advocacy. In fact, there’s a whole science to advocacy marketing, and companies like Influitive (influitive.com) have developed marketing software that can empower and engage your brand advocates. While you may not be quite ready to ignite your enthusiasts, focusing your attention on those loyalists can mean big things for your company.

5. Keep the content coming. If 2015 was the year of Inbound, than 2016 will be the year that content becomes more strategic. Marketing content is not news, and it will continue to be an essential part of your marketing strategy this year. For the record, marketing content is so much more than blogging. The Content Marketing Institute defines Marketing Content as:

Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

Content continues to be king, but focused content with the purposes of growing your business and increasing market share is the end goal. 2016 will see the continuation of content, but with the understanding of what content marketing really means and how beneficial it can be for marketers who invest in it.

And there you have it. CAMP’s predictions for a successful and innovative year in marketing. We’ll check back in this time next year to see how our predictions fared (for the record, we do not have a crystal ball. Last year, for example, we predicted “The Internet of Things” would become a household term – we were wrong). Until then, you’ll find us focusing our Marketing Content strategy, thinking of interesting dialogue with our customers, and adjusting our FitBit.