As a project manager, you've seen a rotating door of trends come through creative departments. In the late 1990s, blinking text on pixelated Web banners was all the rage, according to Creative Market. In the 2000s, adding music to a webpage was considered "hip" and "fun," said HubSpot. Today, online and offline marketing trends continue to change and mature. From an increase in content to the revival of direct mail marketing and print distribution, there are many trends predicted to change the face of marketing campaigns in 2016.
Expect to see these six exciting trends on budgets this year:
1. Location-based marketing technologies
You walk into a store and your phone pings. You look down and see a push notification telling you about a great new sale or that you've received loyalty points for just walking in the door. No, someone isn't hacking your phone: The store is simply using a technology called an iBeacon or Radio Frequency Identification to make location-based marketing happen. According to HubSpot, iBeacons are small, cost-efficient transmitters that produce a Bluetooth low energy signal. They detect nearby phones or similar devices and send a push notification or message via transmitter. iBeacons are discreet and easy enough to be implemented into store designs, just like in this video. RFIDs and iBeacons have many features, such as immediate news updates, event coordination and sale notifications.
2. Smarter digital content
According to Adweek, developing personal and relevant content will prove useful for marketers everywhere. Video content is expected to continue its massive growth, as will marketing on video social media platforms like Snapchat. Content must be relevant and useful to the viewer without sounding like a textbook. Consider the brand of an IT consulting firm. Which would perform better: simple blog posts about IT solutions or video how-tos on quick computer fixes? Implementing cross-channel strategies such as these will prove useful for marketers. Look for social media agencies with combined experience working on many different platforms to help lower your costs by taking bulk work.
3. Trackable direct mail marketing
Direct mail marketing isn't going away anytime soon. In fact, it's expected to grow in 2016 for a particularly unexpected reason. According to C.TRAC, direct mail campaigns will help marketers find better leads in 2016 thanks to Intelligent Mail Barcode technology. In sum, companies and direct mail marketers can now track exactly where a piece of mail has previously been. For retailers, this means having insight into where a piece has been delivered and if that coupon or offer was used in store or online.
4. Virtual reality
Many virtual reality devices exist on the market currently. However, these devices are advertised primarily as video game consoles and not as effective business tools. In 2016, expect to see the Oculus Rift and other virtual reality devices entering your marketing strategies and homes. According to Entrepreneur, virtual reality headsets have the potential to create a brand new species of online marketing. For example, a vacation planner may use the Oculus Rift to show customers what walking on the beach in Cabo San Lucas looks and sounds like. For liquor distributors, it could mean a guided virtual reality tour through one of their many distilleries. This year, expect to see virtual reality in your experimental marketing budgets.
5. Siri-optimized advertising
Many companies utilize SEO and pay-per-click advertising practices. However, most mobile users are not clicking on mobile ads and queries can be difficult to find in the woodwork of Google searches. Instead, consumers are asking their phones specific questions and expecting more detailed answers. In 2016, optimize your current mobile advertisements to make them easy for Siri to find. By changing keywords, a business can go from virtually unknown to recognized by everyone's favorite computerized voice.
6. Brand management
Corporate branding is going beyond simple logos, images and website designs. In 2016, consumers will define your brand by how you communicate with your target audience. Forbes said that branding in the modern age should be holistic and include topics such as crisis management and reputation. This means that companies need to watch what they say closely in case something private or personal is released. Organizations can prevent PR mishaps by hiring a public relations manager or implementing non-disclosure agreements with clauses that survive after employment.