Here’s my January challenge: Go online or open your email box and try to avoid reading about what’s hot and what’s a trend for 2015. Bet you can’t do it, because the forecasts and predictions are everywhere.

Bloggers. Analysts. Media. Agencies. Market researchers. They’ve all got a take on what to expect this year and how what’s trending is sure to influence business-to-business (B-to-B) marketing. With hundreds of trends lists, you and I must work hard to cut through the noise to find insights about what is likely to influence customers and grow our businesses. So how much of what’s forecast should we count on? It depends—mostly on the source.

Curating all the trends, especially those that can help companies the most, requires smart insights about what customers are ready to change. Also required: recommendations about how businesses should implement trends to satisfy customers’ new expectations.

At gyro, we identified the top trends last year based on our analysis of the B-to-B companies we serve, their competitors and how their customers behave. We’ve prepared fresh insights for 2015. Join us on Jan. 27 for a webinar focused on what’s in store this year.

Our team is excited about how digital communications are bringing companies and customers together like never before. But, before revealing our predictions, we’re going to take a look at some of the most common sources for trends predictions, their focus, strengths and any hidden agendas to watch for. You can decide about the accuracy of the predictions.

Forecasts from Researchers and Analysts
Marketing today is complex and becomes more so as technology rapidly advances and companies demand that marketing executives demonstrate return on investment. Independent researchers and analysts guide business leaders with fact-based insights. It often takes a third party to spot what business leaders are too close to recognize and to identify ways to respond.

Predictions for 2015: One leading research company, Forrester, sees a massive marketing technology arms race. Forrester also says an elite few businesses are expected to re-engineer organizations and processes to take full advantage of the growth of mobile.

What the Vendors See
Without the companies that develop analytics and automation software, marketing would be dead on arrival. Businesses that achieve growth are the ones to gain control of the technology to become more agile, responding faster by learning more about how customers behave on all platforms.

Marketing technology companies like Marketo and Eloqua understandably share predictions about how to use data. But you can also count on the vendors to pass along some surprises. They’re close to marketers and in a position to spot trends before many of us.

Predictions for 2015: Marketo says consumers don’t care who generates content as long as it’s relevant to their interests. That’s important to know if you’re trying to reach new audiences. Eloqua expects the increasing influence of “prosumers” who interact with brands online and are followed closely by large numbers of other consumers.

What’s News in the Media
When business news publications report on marketing trends, it’s usually clear that they approach their subjects without an agenda to sell consulting or software. Not always obvious: Some of their contributors and industry commentators run their own marketing software and consulting companies. Don’t automatically disqualify them and what they have to say, but keep in mind what underpins their points of view.

Predictions for 2015: Forbes sees chief marketing officers transforming into “chief simplifier officers” who break down traditional business operating silos and begin integrating messages across all of the ways their organizations touch customers.

Forecasts from the Agencies
Marketing, advertising and creative agencies (including those of us at gyro) share annual predictions to reflect their skills and points of view. You’re getting expert and leading-edge insights that can help you grow your business during the next 12 months.

gyro’s predictions for 2014: Our leaders in user experience, search, public relations and media identified these trends:

  • Customers’ growing use of mobile and voice queries will alter how the search engines find and rank information about your business.
  • Companies will more than ever need real-time marketing, delivering messages across channels in response to what customers are doing now, not what they did last month or last year.
  • Marketers will seek automation tools and software that enable them to work smarter and sort through all of the customer data more quickly.
  • Content—but also technology—will produce more powerful experiences, especially to attract customers on their smartphones and tablets.

No doubt there are more sources of trends lists for your industry, but this quick look at some of the trendspotters can help you compare sources, identify major trends and understand how the trends can influence your business in 2015.