This article originally appeared on Adotas’ website
An impressive group of experts have offered their insights into where the vast world of digital marketing, advertising, and technology is headed: Andy Monfried, CEO and founder of Lotame and Doron Wesly, SVP Marketing, Lotame; Tom O’Regan, CEO, Madison Logic, Tom Koletas, SVP Global Media, Madison Logic, Vin Turk, Co-Founder SVP Audience Dev., Madison Logic, Dennis Syracuse, CMO & GM, Madison Logic, Sonjoy Ganguly, SVP Product Management, Madison Logic; David Cooperstein, Interim CMO, PebblePost; Erik Matlick, CEO, Bombora.
Q: What are the key trends in technology you see shifting for marketers in 2016?
A: Over the last year, the number of vendors in the marketing technology landscape has nearly doubled. According to Scott Brinker’s marketing tech supergraphic, there are now 1,876 vendors spread across 43 categories. This expansion has gone hand in hand with the growth of marketing technology stacks. The average number of tools is now 17. I believe that we’ve reached supersaturation. 2016 will see the marketing technology landscape contract. Acquisitions and attrition will reduce the number of vendors on the landscape. Along with this, it is likely number of tools in the marketing tech stack will decline as technologies increasingly do double-duty, making redundant what was once cutting-edge technology.
Q: What do you see shifting in the way marketers look at/treat data in 2016?
A: Just as marketers are overwhelmed with tech options, so are they overwhelmed with data. In 2016 marketers will become more adept at discerning between the data that is a “nice-to-have” and the data that actually drives business. Data that can anticipate when prospects are in-market, or that understands the topics they are researching, will become essential for b2b marketers looking to get an edge on their competitors.
Q: With increased millennial usage of adblockers, what should publishers keep top of mind moving into 2016?
A: Ad-blocking has become quite the hot button issue, especially over the past six months. By no means is the concept new, in fact it has been happening for quite some time but the conversation about how it is affecting the livelihood of publishers and the quality of future content has been the forefront of the discussion. With 63% of millennials using it and the numbers growing for all other age ranges, 2016 is the year that publishers need to take action. There are several methods that have gained some popularity: gating your content or putting technology in places that will bar people using ad-blockers from your site until it is disabled. However, one of the most effective and one that does not affect publishers’ revenues is native advertising. By utilizing this new form of advertising you are able to embed your message within an article, avoiding the ad-blocking that has currently been frustrating the marketplace.
Q: What three marketing tools do you see taking center stage in 2016?
A: The three that I see are:
● Account Based Marketing: In 2016, B2B marketers of all sizes will introduce some version of ABM into their marketing plans. Programmatic enables marketers to target prospects at scale with display advertising. This tactic is so effective, we see it essentially becoming “table stakes” within B2B marketing organizations by year’s end. Data gives B2B marketers the fuel to grow their account-based campaigns exponentially, but more importantly, it gives them the power to accurately target those key prospects at every stage of the buying cycle.
● Intent Data: With enough data to create a full-spectrum view of their target audiences, marketers will understand buyer behavior well enough to stay a step ahead of the customer journey. Marketers will be empowered to see who from their target account lists is actually in market – or when they’re likely to be in market – by gauging the peaks and valleys of interest. As result, predictive marketing will be a strategy leveraged by more B2B marketers in the year ahead.
● Redesigning the Sales Funnel: There has been a lot of talk about how the sales/marketing funnel is dead and no longer relevant. However, this could not be farther from the truth. It is true that the funnel has changed. In fact, you can argue that it is no longer a funnel. In recent months, it has been referred to as the “sales funnel cake” (Forrester Research) and “sales pretzel” (LinkedIn) and these may not be the right phrasing, but it is a step in the right direction. The sales process is no longer the linear process it used to be, but has become a cyclical process that loops through several times before an organization is ready to buy. This reshaping of the funnel is due to the buying process being expanded and more decision makers being included in the process. 2016 will definitely be the year where B2B marketers realize that the ecosystem has changed and will need to rethink their sales strategies in order to properly reach their target audience.
Q: What are three predictions about what will happen in the brand marketing space and how will it impact CMOs & their marketing teams?
A: In the digital world, we reference the three V’s of DATA: Volume, Velocity and Variability. The world of marketing has three V’s as well and I predict:
● VIDEO: the continued rise of video communication. Short, pithy, info rich digestible chunks of data are essential to success. Multitasking on multi-devices has created an opportunity to impact your message to be seen as a partner and trusted resource.
● VELOCITY: how fast you can recognize research signals and how soon you respond to hand raisers will differentiate the best in class from the “so-so”. Learning how to use Data that provides intent signals will be the key to success.
● VALUE: marketers must provide value to their organization and their clients and prospects. Listening skills are paramount; aligning with the sales team to develop a combined effort; what do your target accounts need/ how fast can you provide real value; there will be a refined approach here – streamline the communication so the key points are easily absorbed.
A: It seems inevitable that the use of ad blockers will increase in the coming year. According to an eMarketer study, 63% of the millennials they surveyed are using ad blockers, a daunting number for publishers and marketers alike. As more millennials move into researching and purchasing roles, it is incumbent upon b2b marketers to create experiences that will resonate (and not irritate) these prospects. While some of these users will remain dedicated to ad blockers, b2b marketers will have to employ rich data that helps them determine what topics their prospects are most interested in, serving ads that not only complement the experience of online research but enhance it. The ultimate goal would be to transform ads into portals that supply a researcher with exactly what they need to get the job done. A strict adherence to relevance is essential if we’re to arrest the embrace of ad blockers. It would be lovely to say that we will create ads so great that ad blockers will actually want to see them, but I don’t think we’re there yet. We have to repair the damage done by years of irrelevance and badly designed ads.
Q: What do you see taking on a more strategic role to assist B2B marketers in 2016?
A: The buzzword of the day is “intent data.” Google’s talking about it, Forrester, Gartner etc.. It’s clearly something that a B2B marketer will need to leverage if they’re going to understand where a prospect is on the customer journey and what they might be able to do to nudge them towards the path to purchase. I think we’re on the cusp of a revolution. A few years ago marketers were looking to mobile as the game changer, but with cross-platform targeting reaching maturity, I believe we’re going to see intent become increasingly important, especially for B2B. Imagine being able to nurture a customer before you even meet them. In this current environment, customers are calling to make a purchase having already done the research and are ready to make a decision. Intent will have already put you in the customer’s path. In the next 12-16 months, I expect that intent will be more than a buzzword, it will be an essential.
Q: As programmatic continues to take center stage, what will be key elements of importance for agencies to consider in 2016?
A: I foresee:
● Programmatic continues to be the trend, more and more large clients will be setting up their own DMP’s, Trading Desks and take it in house or have their agency manage it, most likely, the latter. What they will find is it is a lot more expensive and harder to manager than they thought. The sum of the parts will surprise them. I would expect there to be a slight rebound in premium/direct buys and Private Marketplaces.
● Account Based Marketing (ABM), it’s been the hot topic for 2015, however very few marketers are actually doing it. 2016 will be the year that mass adoption of ABM display and lead gen strategies become a reality. This will lead to a few issues:
○ Lack of scale. Now that clients are testing it, they will realize that the this targeted account based approach has great precision, but it lacks in coverage and scale. New players will emerge that specialize in this tactic with the promise of creating more accuracy, scale and reach.
○ The final face off, or consolidation of, the CMO and CRO. ABM requires sales and marketing to work together. Businesses will be forced to reconcile organization conflicts and power struggles, potentially merging the roles.
● Data: Last year was the year of viewability in the digital media space. 2016 will be the year of data validation. Because audience targeting using data sources is so widespread, and so many vendors have emerged, solutions and companies that can validate the accuracy and quality of their data will emerge as front runners.
Q. Do you see a changing relationship between advertisers and publishers in 2016?
A. The space between advertiser and publisher (and the fat middle) will erode significantly.
Q. What will happen to mobile video in 2016?
A. Mobile Video will explode and will be on a pace to outperform desktop video in terms of insight and performance — due to better data and targeting.
Q. The ad blocker debate: what’s doe it mean for consumers?
A. Ad Blockers will continue to be used – but it will drop to single digit(s) of consumers who utilize it — because all content will be blocked for those that use it.
A. Location, location, location: Critical momentum between mobile, wearable, and first party data will make this one of the key growth areas in ad tech / martech.
Q. What will happen to mobile video in 2016?
A. Mobile video will be known as the first screen, where people consume their shows, engage with ads, and manage all other screens they interact with.
Q. The ad blocker debate: What’s doe it mean for consumers?
A. The industry will rally behind polite interactive creative standards to turn the tide against ad blockers.
Q: What are your top predictions for the digital eCommerce space in 2016?
A: I see these trends:
● Ad fraud and digital ad performance will drive a flight to quality ad types – TV, direct mail, and print will see a small upward tick in share of spend until ad tech figures out the answers.
● The shakeout of smaller ad tech players will begin in earnest, as companies adopt the more stable and trusted solutions.
● IBM and Oracle will introduce ad tech solutions that, tied to their data, up the maturity of the industry.
● With an election year looming, TV and mail will regain a foothold over digital from a numbers standpoint.
Q: What key factors will drive the evolution of the eCommerce space in 2016?
A: I think we will see:
● Manufacturers will launch their own subscription eCommerce direct to consumers, in partnership with Amazon and/or Walmart.
● Small eCommerce brands will set style trends, forcing apparel brands to rethink their channel and brand strategies.
● “Integrated branding” will become a way for big and small brands to maintain visibility in the crowded landscape. That means they will integrate their branding with adjacent brands (like Gap with Virgin Hotels) or with in-store pop-ups (i.e. Proper Cloth with Bonobos).
● Digital buy buttons will be everywhere – Facebook, Google, Twitter, apps, and QR codes – even bus stops and inside Starbucks.
● A consumerism backlash will begin post-election, causing Black Friday 2016 to be called a “tech free day”.