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A Quick Overview of 2016 Marketing Trends

Posted on the 23 December 2015 by Shellykramer @ShellyKramer

A Quick Overview of 2016 Marketing TrendsA recent episode of The Marketing Scope’s Marketing Mash—featuring The Marketing Scope’s Eric Vidal, along with Shelly Kramer and Daniel Newman, Co-CEOs of V3B and Broadsuite Media Group, and Brian Fanzo—covered the topic of 2016 marketing trends. There was one clear consensus: In both the B2B and B2C space, customer experience will lead the way when it comes to marketers’ focus for 2016 and beyond. Here’s a recap of that conversation:

Marketing Tools Will Become Customer Experience Tools

Social media channels will start to be viewed more as customer experience tools than just vehicles for brand messaging. This isn’t necessarily new news for forward thinking brands, but we’ll likely see a greater adoption by business on channels like Twitter and Facebook for customer service moving forward. Brands are also realizing that Facebook is a customer service channel that needs attention beyond the 9-5 office hours that we are accustomed to, and putting teams in place to monitor and provide that service is important. Brands must think of social as a customer service channel in 2016.

Video, Video, Video

YouTube is already seen as the go-to place for trouble shooting, and will continue to replace the instruction manual. Video is becoming exponentially more valuable as an education tool, whether it’s simple stuff like how to wear a scarf or jewelry item, all the way to stop motion videos of recipe preparation or building tips. Live-streaming is also starting to play a role here, and there is no end to the creative ways brands can use video and live-streaming to connect with their audiences. Video is so engaging and highly personal, and the adoption of video in both the B2B and B2C sectors is going to continue to rise at a rapid pace. And video is meant to be raw. Getting brands comfortable with less perfect, more real, isn’t easy, but when they find ways to use customers as advocates, they’re finding that’s the sort of content that resonates with the audience they seek.

Fanzo also pointed out that we’re increasingly more capable of measuring results from live-streaming, with things like the number of viewers, comments, and time spent on app available from live-streaming platforms. Everyone agreed that the future is bright for live-streaming and we’ll continue to see more of this as time goes on.

The Value of Employee Advocacy

Discussion turned to employee advocacy and the role it can play within an organization, no matter the size. Great culture equals a happy workplace. Happy employees are often eager to share why they love their jobs, and all of that can equate to tremendously successful employee advocacy programs. In addition to giving a boost to brand messaging and initiatives, these same employees can play a role when it comes to solving minor customer service issues. As Daniel Newman puts it, “It’s hard to be mad at a person. It’s easy to be mad at a brand.”

Are Brands Ready?

The B2B space has been especially slow to adopt the use of social as a customer service channel, but B2C brands are proving that it works. We’ll likely see the adoption of social for customer service/interaction by B2B brands over time, but it won’t be fast. We’re also starting to see a focus on brands developing employee advocacy programs and encouraging employees to use social media channels to help support internal marketing efforts.

Beyond a forward thinking attitude and happy employee advocates, brands also need to budget for customer experience marketing. With social media still being a mystery to many B2B brands, it’s slow going, but we’re moving in the right direction. With the right tools, a proper budget, and the right specialists on their team, customers will hopefully start to see content that informs and educates, social engagement that provide good experiences, websites that are easy and enjoyable to use, and deliver what customers’ seek, e-commerce interactions that are efficient and personalized, and brand experiences that lead to deeper relationships (and of course, sales). At least we hope those things are in marketers’ sights as we move into a new year: They are definitely in ours.

Here’s the full Marketing Mash conversation, mark your calendars and join us on Thursdays at 2pm CST, because the conversations are always lively and informative—and they’ll be even better if you’re there. Also, if there’s something you’d like for us to cover in a Marketing Mash, hit us up with whatever you’re thinking about in the comments.

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