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Top 3 Digital Marketing Trends for 2016

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Over the last few years, we've seen a dramatic shift in marketing efforts as traditional purchasing moves from the brick and mortar world into the digital space. This transition has made it increasingly important for businesses to stay on top of the latest digital marketing trends. Whether you've transformed to inbound strategies, continue to focus on outbound marketing, or you’re finding a balance between the two, knowing what's happening online is key for your business to remain successful.

Listed below are three digital marketing trends that we believe will impact the way we do business in 2016.

1. Smarter Marketing Automation and Personalization

As the internet continues to generate more and more data for us to sift through, the information is becoming granular to the point that it can be overwhelming to use it effectively.

Companies are not only concerned with getting leads, but they can also look at the pages those leads navigated through before they filled out that form or downloaded the e-book. They can look at purchases and at other sites visited to learn more about the customer.

We already know the stories about companies like Target and Kroger and how they track customer purchases to customize their offers. The marketplace is changing, and consumers are starting to expect a level of individualization.

Marketers need to spend the majority of their time focusing on creating highly engaging content. It goes without saying that a computer program can analyze that data more efficiently than a person can, and marketing automation platforms can now take care of most of the administrative tasks leaving marketers to work on the content. Scheduling emails, segmenting lists, managing content, even monitoring the sales funnel; all of those tasks can be done through a marketing automation platform.

2. Mobile Trends Continue, Connecting with More Wearables and “Things”

You're already aware of the ubiquity of smartphones and how they are changing the marketing landscape. With information literally at the buyer's fingertips, marketing efforts are working to become more relevant to that space. Last May, Google announced that mobile traffic overtook desktop traffic in ten different countries. They even updated their algorithm in favor of sites that are optimized for mobile traffic.

Add to the mobile traffic the adoption of things like wearable technology and the Internet of Things (IoT), and marketing teams could see an explosion of data points in 2016. Bringing this new data into existing platforms could mean once again adapting the strategies. Fortunately, the last few years have taught marketing teams how to be flexible.

3. Relationship Marketing and Engaging Content

The rise of social media has changed the relationship between consumers and their purchases. It's hard to know what the next change will be, so you have to be prepared for whatever does happen. Businesses already know that they have to check off the boxes for mainstream social media. Facebook, check. Twitter, check. Instagram, check. Now companies like ESPN, Vice, and Comedy Central have started using Snapchat as well.

Using these evolving platforms to build those relationships will become even more important. In a world where the consumer has come to expect a relationship with a company, new channels allow brands to build and nurture that relationship.

This trend isn’t just for consumer brands though. B2B marketers will also need to adapt to todays buying behaviors and put forth more effort to produce great content that feels personal and tailored to their prospects and customers in order to earn sales.

At the end of the day, the only constant in digital marketing is change.
It’s difficult to know what the next social media unicorn or game changing technology will be, but we remain confident that (short of a zombie apocalypse) the internet isn't going anywhere. Partnering with your favorite digital marketing agency can help you capitalize on emerging digital marketing trends so you can reach your business goals for 2016 and beyond.