Important Marketing Trends of 2015 That Will Likely Be Big News in 2016

As we did in the final days of 2014, we again take a look back over this year?s posts we tagged as Marketing Trends and suggest what topics may continue to be important in 2016. Here are a few of our favorite trends and some of the comments we made about these.

  • The Impact of Ad Blockers ? Likely the most significant trend of 2015 is the emergence of ad blocking technology. The effectiveness of ad blockers has raised the anxiety levels for content websites, advertising serving companies and advertisers, who need ads to be displayed to generate revenue. As more people learn about ad blocking, marketers are bracing for even greater impact on revenue. As we noted in September, people are now learning about ad blockers from highly credible sources: ?Apple?s release of iOS 9, for iPhones and iPads, permits the installation of ad-blocking apps, something Apple did not previously allow. As expected, within a few hours of the iOS 9 release, third-party ad-blocking apps climbed to the top of the iTunes download list.?
  • Innovations in Online Retailing ? In 2015 saw several innovations that are likely to continue to impact online retailing. In June, we saw how Sam?s Club?s technology is making it easier for customers, who place grocery orders online, to communicate with their local warehouse store to let them know when they will pick up their order. In May, we examined Amazon?s device that allows customers to speak their order. And back in February, we discussed how retailers are using advanced search software that is better at predicting what customers really want. Based on a story from Internet Retailer, we noted: ?? the new technology often presents searchers with what the software predicts to be the best match to a search query. Thus, in some cases, instead of seeing multiple pages of products, the searcher may only be shown a single product that the search technology estimates is the best match for the query the customer entered.?
  • Careers in Marketing Analytics – The use of analytics to aid marketing decisions is in full swing in large marketing organizations. It is also becoming necessary for smaller companies to understand analytics, particularly for gauging the success of certain Internet marketing programs, such as remarketing. In March, we saw the increased use of analytics is leading to a shortage of qualified workers. As noted in an Advertising Age story there is: ?? strong evidence that those who possess strong analytical skills will be in demand. It points to a research company’s estimate suggesting that by 2018 demand will far outpace supply, leading to a shortage of skilled analysts.?
  • Customers Response to Data Collection ? While marketers love collecting, analyzing and making marketing decisions with the information they collect, customers are increasingly resistant to giving it away. Issues of customers? privacy rights could make it more challenging to gather information unless marketers become more sensitive to customer needs. For instance, back in April we discussed a Harvard Business Review story that says: ?? companies may find their customers are much more accepting of the data that is being collected if the marketer is open about their collection activity, especially for data customers feel is the most value to them. The story suggests the value-of-data question is cultural and may depend on the country in which customers reside.?
  • Pricing Becomes More Responsive ? The holy grail of marketing is figuring out what customers want and then selling it to them at a price point that will yield the greatest revenue. However, this price point may vary depending on customer demand. This has led many to seek so-called ?dynamic pricing? options, where prices are adjustable given market demand. While dynamic pricing has been around for some time in the airline and hospitality fields, it is now expanding into new areas. As we saw in a Washington Post story from April, one area using dynamic pricing is the ride-sharing market, where Uber is at the forefront for adjusting price based on demand: ?Their so-called “surge pricing” approach is powered by sophisticated computer programming that then determines what price to charge its customers.?

These are just a few interesting trends from 2015. Expect these to continue to draw marketers? attention in 2016.

From everyone at – Happy New Year!