Mo Elnadi
Mo Elnadi 5 April 2016

10 Digital Marketing Trends in 2016 CMOs Can’t Ignore

The digital revolution has created a tsunami of change to the customer experience and to what consumers now take for granted from their favorite brands.

Mobile devices and digital marketing trends

The digital revolution has created a tsunami of change to the customer experience and to what consumers now take for granted from their favorite brands. In this age of the customer, we no longer “go online”; we live online in an always-on, always-connected networked society where we expect needs and wants to be satisfied instantly. Mobile devices have made it even easier to find, do, watch, and buy what we want when we want. As brands adapt and change with consumer habits, CMOs must constantly explore, pivot, and shift to new digitized strategies that will enhance their customer experiences, retain customer engagement, and compliment their market positions.

Here are 10 rapidly evolving digital marketing trends that CMOs should not ignore in 2016:

1. Mobile-first media-rich environment

In the past three years alone, cash-rich, time-poor consumers have increased their multi-screen media consumption by 500%. Around 90% of online users admit moving between devices to complete a task on the go as they look for inspiration and discover new rich media to make decisions. Providing value through relevant, consistent rich content and video could be the deciding factor for consumers.

Today there are 8,000 years worth of video footage consumed on YouTube every day in the U.S. alone. Facebook is also taking big steps toward creating a new video experience, including a 360-degree video capability, as it believes the “site will be mostly about video within a year or two”.

2. Connected devices and things

While social, mobile, analytics, and cloud continue to shape digital journeys, the Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly transitioning from a buzzword to mainstream, enabling marketers to better understand consumer behaviour when mobile in order to reach customers in new ways. As a result, many brands are experimenting heavily with IoT in 2016, and some are piloting beacon technology and wearables to create immersive experiences and stimulate impulse purchases in stores.

3. Click-and-collect lockers

Retailers like Amazon and Argos had already introduced a number of smart lockers. Similarly, Waitrose lockers are now temperature-controlled to store chilled and frozen products. Click-and-collect lockers are quickly became a convenient channel that allows consumers to pick up whatever they need at times and places that fit around their busy schedules.

4. Rise of performance marketing and ad tech

As marketing activity continues to become more measurable, omnichannel personalization is high on CMOs’ priority lists, including performance marketing and data-driven retargeting campaigns. Use of social and messaging applications made up 28% of all time spent on mobile. Predicting intent provides marketers the best possible return on investment by delivering customised offers and messages at the right time on the right channel to the right customer.

Retargeting and behavioural marketing on mobile and connected devices help marketers build a bridge between the web and on-the-go experiences for multi-device consumers. Savvy marketers are already increasing revenue and gaining actionable insights into their customers’ interests and behaviours through this booming trend.

5. Tactile communication

Although still an emerging technology, haptics could be a game changer in the next few years. Tactile communication harnesses force, vibration, and motion to deliver a tactile experience to users. Imagine being able to feel the texture of jeans before you purchase online for example. Future devices may also open new possibilities for visually impaired users who could feel objects while manipulating them virtually. Some brands are also considering augmented reality once the technology becomes an integral element of mainstream media, advertising, and mobile devices. No wonder Facebook has already bought virtual-reality startup Oculus Rift for a staggering $2 billion.

6. Culinary printing

A whole new world of edible delights is just around the corner through “culinary printing”. Hershey is testing an innovative 3D-printing solutionthat provides bakers and chocolatiers with endless possibilities to personalize their bakeries and candies. Food printers provide users with libraries of 3D designs and can print custom-made delicious dark, milk, or white-chocolate designs and even pizza or burgers.

7. Robotic personal assistants

Jibo is the world’s first social robot for the family and is due to launch in early 2016. He is friendly, helpful, and intelligent, and he can sense, respond, and learn as you engage with him in natural language and with normal facial expressions. The potential extends far beyond engaging in casual conversations with kids and completing daily tasks. If adoption of this open-source platform continues, it could be the future of customer service and in-store personal shoppers.

8. Convenience over price

Recent reports confirm that in the right circumstances, 43% of customers are not just influenced by cheaper prices. Instead, customers choose convenience and quality. However, they expect a seamless omnichannel experience throughout all stages of their buying journeys. To retain their attention and loyalty, these journeys need to be compelling and consistent across all devices as well as in stores and ideally need to predict customers’ intentions to provide relevant content and recommendations.

9. Creating a great customer experience

Customer-obsessed marketers are trying to create great customer experiences through differentiation and convenience during the critical moments when consumers make purchasing decisions and form preferences. Many CMOs are also experimenting with new technologies that can change how customers live, work, and spend.

10. Getting the multi-device consumer experience right

The customer experience is the basis of all enabling technologies and approaches to successful marketing campaigns. Many brands are discovering that consumers are willing to sacrifice some privacy in exchange for convenient and valuable experiences. If you get the customer experience right, everything else falls into place, and personalisation suddenly makes sense to consumers and the business.

To master the art of knowing which customers will pay more and for what, brands are continuing to innovate and introduce new technologies to improve the online and in-store customer experience through analysing behaviours and understanding shoppers’ preferences. But it’s not a case of jumping on the latest digital-marketing-trend bandwagon. Brands need to set up an insights-driven innovation programme to evaluate new technologies and concepts tailored around what’s right for their sectors, customer behaviours, and needs. Winning brands will be the ones that can identify the right behavioural cues and deploy the right digital solutions to create engaging and more personalised shopping experiences.

In closing, which digital marketing trend do you plan to explore? Let me know.

Opinions expressed in this blog are of the author and may not represent Cognizant’s point of view.

Originally published at on March 4, 2016.

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