Did the 2015 Marketing Predictions Come True?

For marketers the end of the year means many things. 2016 planning is in full swing, the holidays are upon us, and prediction posts for the upcoming year are everywhere. Market leaders are busy predicting the next big trend in marketing and analyzing what buzzwords will be laid to rest.

Last year we asked you “What do you wish for marketing in 2015?” The results boiled down to three main predictions and what we deemed as the Year of the People. Marketers wished the marketing space would focus on three main categories: people, technology, and business impact. Now that the year has come to an end, let’s see what predictions came true and which we will have to keep wishing for in 2016.

Prediction 1: Marketing will embody relationship-centered practices

“In 2015, marketing will not only embrace, but embody relationship-centered practices. This kind of strategic social selling/empathy/people-centric marketing hybrid will ultimately bring more leads through the funnel.”

Although we preach building relationships as an influencer marketing best practice, other areas of marketing have begun to adopt this practice as well. Take for example the rise of account based marketing (ABM) and social selling. Over 90% of marketers think ABM is essential to achieve success, DemandBase reports. Aligning marketing and sales (a term now being coined as “smarketing”) to focus on high priority accounts and build relationships with these people has become widespread. In the B2B space, trying to talk to an important few rather than the masses is proving to be a very effective strategy that continues to grow. On the sales side of things, social selling is another area where relationship-centered practices are flourishing as well.

From the influencer marketing perspective, the biggest mistake made by marketers is failing to be relationship focused. In 2015 we have seen many opt-in companies enter the space where marketers can pay for influencers’ posts. While this seems like a quick fix to influencer marketing, paying for influence is not scalable for the long-term. Brands that are willing to invest in building and cultivating relationships with influencers are the ones who will turn influencers into brand advocates for years to come.

Prediction 2: Strategic MarTech Integration

“2015 may be a year for the books in marketing technology. It would be helpful for the marketing field to start seeing even more strategic martech integration.”

This past year we have seen a significant increase in the integration of data science into marketing tools. With the integration of more data into marketing tools we have also seen an uptick in the demand for “data driven marketers” and “data scientists”. While the jury is still out on the marketing art vs marketing science debate it is clear that data can provide powerful insights that marketers leverage to target customers in ways like never before. In fact, Mckinsey and Company discovered that by 2018 that there will be 140,000-190,000 job postings for data scientists that go unfulfilled.

While customer relationship management (CRM) is at the center of the sales world, in the marketing world, influencer relationship management (IRM) is beginning to emerge. IRM is the next CRM because marketers are seeing the importance and business return on forming relationships with key influencers within relevant conversations. IRM programs aim to increase the number of positive brand mentions from the voices that impact your target audience. This practice is what makes influencer marketing programs sustainable, long-term, and relationship focused.

Prediction 3: Standardized Measures of Success

“Solid success measurement standards will be developed because measuring ROI and the success of digital marketing practices has been a struggle to say the least.”

Great strides have been made in the marketing space over the past year in regards to metrics and measurement. One of the biggest trends in marketing metrics advancements has been the importance of attribution models. These models allow marketers to see what campaigns drove the most business while taking into consideration each touch point in the customer journey. There has also been the rise of companies dedicated to increasing visibility of marketing metrics such as Full Circle Insights.

Within the influencer marketing practice, huge strides have been made for success measurement. Focusing on outputs, outcomes, and business results have served as an outline for metrics:

Outputs = the impact on influencers

Outcomes = the impact on the target audience

Business results = how these activities impact the bottom line

Although some of these predictions have yet to fulfill their full potential, it is safe to say that major strides were made in 2015. Overall these predictions were pretty accurate. So what will be the next big thing in marketing? Leave a comment below, I would love to hear your thoughts!