25 Must-Know Trends For Marketing Strategy Development

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25 Must-Know Trends For Marketing Strategy Development

Harry Bartlett

Our clients have asked us time and again "What is the number one thing we should do this year to better our internet marketing performance?" There is no one answer. There are millions of actions that can be done to help organizations grow and increase lead/sales generation.

Our response to this question usually boils down to aligning your marketing strategy with the coming year's trends. The internet marketing landscape changes almost on a weekly basis. If you are still executing a strategy from 3 years ago then you are falling behind.

We have run through a collection of top trends to keep in mind and their potential implications when developing a marketing strategy. It is essential to have expert knowledge of the online marketing landscape's present and future in order to build a plan that not only helps today but remains relevant as the internet changes and adapts over time.

The Future of Marketing Strategy


1.  The top 5 of 11 areas that will see increases in marketing spend is online

Marketing Budget Distribution Inforgraphic
Source: Marketing Charts

The above illustrates that in 2016 your marketing budget should be focused online as more companies move away from print, radio, TV, etc.

2. How far behind am I in building an integrated marketing front? Closer than you think!

How integrated are your digital and traditional marketing activities?
Source: Smart Insights

You are not left in the dust yet, 76% of respondents claim they are actively trying to or have yet to integrate traditional marketing with digital marketing. Get ahead of the herd, now is the time to start the integration process.

3. Marketing leaders need the most support with digital marketing and data analytics

Marketing Leaders Strengths and weaknesses survey
Source: Marketing Charts

This knowledge will help you build a strategy to include a team of people who have strengths in the areas where you are weak. 

4. Hiring the right digital team is no easy task

Assessment of Digital Skills Across the Marketing Team

Ease of Digital Skills required Infographic
Source: Smart Insights

Studies show hiring the right people is very challenging. 63% claiming recruiting for digital skills to be challenging to very challenging. The current talent level only sees 31% of teams to be strong in most or all digital marketing activities. The current talent level of teams varies and will remain difficult to predict and staff until we are able to teach and acquire skills at all levels.

5. 73% of millennials are somewhat involved in purchasing decisions at their company

Level of involvement in Purchasing new products & services graph
Source: Sacuans

Millennials are joining us at the table. These numbers will only grow over time so seek to target your B2B company towards a millennial marketing strategy.

6. What outside focus could be disrupting your marketing efforts?

Disruptive forces affecting marketing actions infographic
Source: Marketing Charts

There are many advances, happening on a daily basis, that could directly affect your marketing tasks. Consider the pace of new technology, complexity, and fragmentation of marketing, and customer expectations for personalized and relevant experiences. Those might be the 3 biggest forces to consider but keep an eye out for the competition! Threats from existing competitors who are more agile/nimble and rising innovative start-ups saw significant growth from 2014.

7. The most exciting opportunity projects for 2021 is data-driven marketing focusing on the individual

Most exciting opportunity in 2016 Marketing infographic
Source: Marketing Charts

The top 2 results are a great focus to start working on now, optimize the customer experience and keep them engaged with great website content. If you want to gear up for the future, start investing in data analysis. Backing up your actions on an individual level is the most exciting opportunity in five years. 


Mobile Marketing


8. Want your website to rank better in search results?

SERP rankings of Mobile Friendliness of the top 10 rankings in search results graph
Source: Moovweb

Go responsive. Responsive websites rank better in search results. Google has already come out with algorithm updates directly pointing to mobile friendliness (Mobilegeddon). The updates have revolved around helping rankings for mobile friendly sites and decreasing or penalizing sites that are not responsive or mobile friendly.

9. Time spent on mobile grew 51% in 2015 as desktop traffic decreased

Growth in Digital Media time spent in Minutes graph
Source: comScore

Each day we see more stats on how mobile search growth is far outweighing desktop. What might this mean for your business? If you do not have a mobile friendly/responsive website get one now! Even if you do have a responsive website it is ideal to make sure you are optimizing the mobile experience and not just implementing breakpoints for screen size. If a user on mobile has a hard time navigating your website they will bounce off and your rankings will decrease over time.

10. 29% of view time on screens was spent on a vertical screen when just 5 years ago it was only 5%

Time Spent on Screens by Orientation (hours/days)
Source: KPCB

I can go all day providing stats that back the need for a mobile-focused website and its importance with rankings.

11. With the rise of mobile comes the rise of micro-moments, consumers addressing their needs instantly

"I want to moments" marketing graph
Source: Search Engine Land

If you run an e-commerce business you want to make sure your team is optimizing for want-to-buy micro-moments. Mobile conversion rates increased 29% in the past year (article posted in 2016). Users are searching while they are already in a store. If you are not able to optimize your mobile marketing, customers will miss out on your product while shopping in stores.

12. 62% of digital ad spend and 21% of total media ad spend is projected to go to mobile in 2016

Ad spend already makes up for more than half of digital ad spend and is projected to reach 70% by 2019. This backs up our previous statement: now is the time to have a mobile optimized website. If you are going to spend money on digital ads then make sure they point to a mobile optimized page.


Content Marketing


13. Content marketing is king as revenues are expected to reach $54 billion in 2019

Content Marketing Revenues & growth timeline
Source: Marketing Mag

Content is one of the most important aspects of the web, from social posting to blogging. Make sure your content marketing targets the right people for your business.

14. Blogging is the most popular content marketing format

Positive ratings for different Content Marketing Formats infographic
Source: Smart Insights

We have had clients question the wording and usefulness of blogging and time and again we explain how useful and relevant blogging is in today's world. It allows your company to express your expertise, build relationships with other brands, grow your email list, and draw customers down the sales funnel.

15. Customer reviews and online searching provide the best support for buyers

Advertisement engagement & effectiveness infographic
Source: Moz

Buyers are much more likely to purchase after viewing/hearing customer reviews and performing an online search. Press releases and company social media provide the least likeliness.

16. 37% of businesses only inconsistently embraced content marketing in 2015

How has your organization embraced content marketing graph
Source: Smart Insights

Another 30% had basic or no embracement of content marketing. As trends show content marketing's importance now is the time to embrace.


Paid Advertisements


17. People dislike advertisements

Lower opinion of company most influential factors graph
Source: Hubspot Research

This proves you cannot rely on paid advertisements in order to create a positive opinion of your company. You need to build your strategy around organic traffic to make it easier for potential customers to find you on their own.

18. High paid ad awareness but low engagement

Advertisement view rate by advertisement type graph

Advertisement click-thru rate graph
Source: Moz

While 50%+ were aware of the different types of ads polled, the majority did not engage/click. Another reason why you cannot rely solely on paid media.

19. 1 in 10 people block ads in the US and UK, global usage grew 41% in 2014

Ad Blocking Rates by Country infographic
Source: Business Insider

Global Ad Block Growth chart
Source: PageFair

Don't focus entirely only on paid advertisements. As these numbers continue to increase, build a strong organic strategy.

20. Traditional paid advertising provides better results than online ads

Marketing tactic effectiveness graph
Source: Moz

Online paid media is still not influencing the buyer's decision as much as traditional advertising.


Other Marketing Trends


21. What can  $10,000 get you?

The Reach of a $10,000 Marketing Spend
Source: Moz

Keep in mind this chart does not take into account industry fluctuations and the engagement of the mediums. Facebook advertisement might have a bigger reach but investing towards a large-scale content marketing campaign can include added benefits. For example, long-term visibility, increased keyword rankings, greater in-depth brand awareness, etc.

22. Stop thinking about lead quantity and focus on lead quality

All too often I hear clients state their key performance indicator is to increase their leads. However, increased leads mean nothing if they are not quality leads. In total, increasing the quality of leads drives the next top 4 priorities. Gaining quality leads improves campaign results with a higher ROI, improves the sales/marketing alignment by developing more targeted leads for the sales team, helps expand content, and eliminates the need to increase lead volume if you are increasing average lead worth.

23. Understanding ROI leads to a larger marketing budget

2015 Budget by ROI graph
Source: State of Inbound

Of course, if ROI is greater than the previous year you are more likely to see an increased budget but when ROI is seen as lower than last year 32% still received a higher budget. You might ask why when the numbers are not backing up the current budget? The reason it is justified is due to the ever-changing landscape of the internet, needing to keep up with trends, as well as there are endless possibilities of online marketing actions that can be implemented every day. You cannot simply defund because you are not seeing a greater ROI. You need to then invest more in order to see ROI change year over year.

24. The percent of adults using social media has reached a saturation point

Percentage of Adults on Social Media chart
Source: Smart Insights

In no way does this mean it's time to cut back. Nearly 90% of American adults already are using social media. The biggest age range growth will be 65+ which will over time change social media marketing's message to be more age inclusive.

25. Social news sources are on the rise

News Source Graph
Source: Hubspot Research

Social is a huge part of the present and future of online marketing as more users look to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to catch up on news. Facebook up 57%, Twitter up 25%, and LinkedIn up 21% since 2 years ago.

Now that you know all the top marketing trends for the coming years take a look back at your marketing strategy. Are you aligned with the future trends? Do you have a mobile friendly site? Are you building an organic and paid search strategy? If you can align your strategy with the current and future landscape of the marketing industry then your organization is heading in the right direction.

If you are looking to update or develop your marketing strategy then reach out to us and let's plan your future.

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About the author

Harry started BI in 1998 and focuses on integrating best practices in branding, user experience design, Internet marketing, and technology to increase the value of an online presence.
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Traffic, Leads, + Engagement

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