Technology has been driving change in virtually every profession, and marketing is no exception. Last year accurately forecasted a growth in mobile marketing and social advertising, both of which have now become commonplace in modern marketing strategies.
This year, technology will continue to impact how we communicate our brands, however on a deeper level that manages to both encourage personal interaction, while increasing technological automation and integration, within different marketing platforms.
Below are three specific ways technology will change marketing in 2016.
The Decline of Paid Advertising
As learned first-hand by the print industry, relying solely on advertising dollars is fatal in today’s digital age. Publishers who survived the electronic transition learned to adapt their business model to the Web and diversify their revenue, as both print readership and advertising dollars declined.
Now, with the growth of ad-blocking technology, even digital advertising is at risk. In fact, 198 million people throughout the world are now blocking ads, according to Adobe and Pagefair’s 2015 Ad Blocking Report, and that number is growing.
Fortunately, there’s one form of advertising that’s withstood the test of time — word-of-mouth marketing, or in today’s words — referral marketing. In the digital age, this form of marketing includes reviews, social comments, and content amplification as well as traditional referrals. In addition to being inherently authentic, referral marketing can’t be touched by ad-blocking technology, making it vastly more valuable than paid ads.
Successful brands will be the ones that invest heavily to transform their customers into loyal fans who will advertise on their behalf.
Marketing Technology Continues to Mature
Studies show happy customers stay longer, buy more, and are more likely to refer friends and colleagues to the same product or service. In fact, fully-engaged customers represent a 23 percent premium in terms of revenue, profitability, share of wallet, and relationship growth compared to average customers, according to a recent Gallup poll. While marketing leaders realize the value of strong relationships with existing customers, most fail to maximize the benefits of those relationships through casual, manual, patchwork, or otherwise inefficient customer engagement.
This year and beyond, that’s about to change.
Following suit to Hubspot and Salesforce, 2016 will see a new approach in how sales reps and marketers approach their jobs as they transition to technology for post-conversion customer engagement. Instead of tracking post-conversion activities manually, advances in marketing technology now allow marketers to track, measure, and influence customer behavior at scale, saving significant time and costs.
The Rise of Integrated Technology
While more and more marketers are incorporating technology into their work, struggles arise with a lack of integration among multiple technology platforms. In fact, a report by informatica and Dun & Bradstreet found 52 percent of marketing leaders say the complexity of integrating multiple technologies — such as CRM, eCommerce, payments, and content management systems — prevents them from successfully leveraging the full benefits of those technologies. In a time when marketing technology is expected to grow tenfold to $120 billion in the next 10 years, this is a big problem.
As the necessity for integrated marketing technology becomes more and more realized, 2016 will see marketing software companies increasingly respond, as marketers demand more from their software providers. This year, marketers will increasingly enjoy software that will allow platforms such as eCommerce, marketing automation systems, and payment technology to communicate and share data with each other in real-time. This will prevent siloed information, leading to more accurate analytics and an overall greater ROI for each marketing technology.
Jeff Epstein is the founder and CEO of Ambassador, a marketing company in Royal Oak.