Many have been discussed for a while, talked about in general terms as real changes on the horizon for marketers. But these “hot trends” are no longer mere expectations—they’re here now, some experts contend, and will only solidify as practice in 2016. So what are the hottest marketing trends right now, the ones that will only get hotter in 2016? The ones CMOs had better pay attention to, lest they forfeit competitive advantage?
Jim Lecinski, VP Americas Customer Solutions at Google, curated a list of the five top trends he is seeing from his vantage point, trends that will strengthen next year and beyond. He presented them to a room full of students, professors and fellow alumni of the University of Notre Dame at the recent 2015 Notre Dame Marketing Collaboration Fall Summit–a networking event to identify collaborative projects and bridge the academic and practical worlds of marketing.
Lecinski identified the trends based on these important criteria: They assist CMOs in their mission of driving growth; they are trends that are now big enough to matter; they are relevant across all industries; they are relevant not just in the United States but globally; and they are actionable—trends CMOs shouldn’t just be watching but acting on now.
Underpinning the five trends is the reality that mobile has fully transformed consumer behavior and the consumer journey. “No longer is there a single long session where you ‘log on;’ rather, with mobile there are now many ‘micro moments’ happening throughout the day—short bursts when you complete micro tasks on your phone toward a bigger goal like buying a new car,” he explained, a topic Google has owned.
Here are the five trends:
Product Digitization, IoT
Nearly everything can be digitized. From Monopoly to thermometers to tennis racquets, everyday products can find new life and connection in smart versions and upgrades. Connectivity will become the new currency for competitiveness. Smart homes, smart cars, smart lightbulbs—they all present unprecedented brand-engagement opportunities from many angles. That means a whole new data deluge for marketers. And according to recent reports, companies like SAP are partnering to fortify IoT security as market reports show the IoT market experiencing “steady growth momentum with an expected CAGR of 31.7% during 2014–2019. A surge in the use of smart applications including navigation devices, media players and imaging devices continue to fuel demand for improved IoT infrastructure.”
It’s been the buzzword for a few years now, but the deadline was yesterday. According to Nielsen, more than 50% of U.S. households have a tablet and 79% have a smartphone. And according to eMarketer, by 2017, when U.S. digital display ad expenditure will reach $37.36 billion, Facebook and Twitter together will account for 33.7% of the market, up from 30.2% this year. By next year, mobile ad spending will account for nearly a quarter of total media ad spending. With mobile-dependent Millennials and younger generations the fastest-growing consumer segment, brands can no longer tack on mobile strategy secondarily. More than ever, brand engagement must start, not end, with the mobile platform.
VR and 360 Are Real
That thud you heard on your doorstep earlier this month, of course, was The New York Times packaged with a Google Cardboard headset. Expect similar thuds soon. By 2020, virtual reality will represent a $30 billion market, while augmented reality will be a $120 billion market, according to DigiCapital. Virtual reality, in fact, was tops on the minds of and common in conversations among CMOs attending the recent Forbes CMO Summit: how to use it, what its impact will be, what opportunities exist. CMOs like Harman’s Ralph Santana, GM’s Tim Mahoney and Cree’s Betty Noonan provided an overview of what marketers can expect in this area in the near future, and what they’re doing now to prepare.
New Disruptive Competition
This is all about the small taking on the big. Feisty Davids taking down Goliaths. Think Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s cutting into Gillette. And in today’s “collaborative economy,” competition comes from sharing services: Uber. Airbnb. Handy. Postmates. According to Crowd Companies Founder Jeremiah Owyang, “participation in the Collaborative Economy has grown by 25 percent in the past year alone. More than half of North Americans now get the products and services they need from each other, peer to peer, instead of buying from established corporations.”
Rise of AdTech
According to eMarketer, next year in the United States programmatic will account for 2/3 of all digital display ad spending, or more than $21 billion. That’s up two times from 2014. In 2014, eMarketer analyst Lauren Fisher was quoted as saying, “Programmatic advertising has gotten a lot of hype in the last 12 to 24 months, but it’s finally fair to say that today, holdouts on participation are proving the exception, not the norm. 2014 has proven a pivotal year, and with the majority of infrastructure now laid and testing well in progress, we’ll see programmatic ad spending explode from 2015 into 2016.” Welcome to the future.
Many CMOs are in the process of finalizing 2016 marketing plans, and as such, they need to be asking themselves the following questions, according to Lecinski: Are we digitizing our products? Thinking mobile first? Experimenting with virtual reality? Disrupting our category? Making use of advertising technology?
“It’s not too late to be early,” he said. “Brands that master these [trends] stand to gain a competitive advantage over those that do not.”
This article was written by Jennifer Rooney from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.