5 Trends That Are Indicators Of Pending Change

We just ended Q1 of 2016, and now we’re into the “Day” promotional spike season centered on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Graduation Day, etc. What we saw over the holiday and in Q1 was a concerted shift in use, practice and engagement across the board — but many of these shifts have upstream and downstream impacts on how we think of marketing today.   Below are five trends that show a glimpse into the future.

1. Social penetration has flattened,but the next wave of advertising on Instagram and Facebook is bridging business advertising in more targeted ways.  With over 72% of adults already using Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram are the only major social platforms to continue growth trends over the last five years.  

2. The battle of messaging apps:    Messaging (or over-the-top) apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, Viber, WeChat sent over 31 billion messages in 2014, but this hasn’t translated into revenue growth and is projected to trend downward.   Free to the consumer does not translate to wild top-line growth for the business, especially in the Asian markets. These apps have continued to struggle to monetize revenue. Factors like commerce have a chance to shift this tide, but it's still too early to assess if consumer adoption of buying things through this service will be sustainable. 



3. Text messaging will shift.   SMS person-to-person messaging is fading, but application-to-person messaging (alerts sent by machines such as confirmation codes, flight updates) is projected to grow.).  The utility value of this messaging will continue to rise as a customer convenience option.

4. Customer engagement and proximity marketing will continue to rise. WiFi, Beacon technology and app strategies will continue to align to create better real-time experiences.  With the increase in enterprise expenditures in mobile apps, IoT and location-based services, the connected world will feature a rich set of opportunities for brands to connect in valuable, timely ways with their customers wherever they are.

5. Data-safe havens don’t solve the data battles brands have with the big platforms (Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon).  With the above four trends and the continued co-opetition for the consumer and their data, brands will have to be much more aggressive in building experiences directly with consumers vs. spending to engage with them on other platforms.  Messaging, apps and real-life experiences were the catalyst to Google, Facebook and Apples’ rise.  But the sweet spot for brands to fight this data battle will be proximity-based conveniences.  Brands will, I believe, invest more heavily in their own platforms vs. episodic brand experiences.

Trends are simply indicators of the inflection points where change can occur.  Much like macroeconomics, it all starts with observations of the ecosystem.  The email marketing, mobile marketing, and messaging space is all morphing, centered on building better bridges for consumers to do things easier, faster and more often.  The world of interruptive advertising and batch marketing by brands hoping 2% conversion will sustain itself will shift, requiring operational changes to the strategy/thinking, budgeting and views on attribution.   

But everything starts with the data, consumer platform and experience, all of which brands can’t afford to source to the big platforms forever.

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