Top predictions

No matter how deeply you gaze into the crystal ball pondering what next year has in store for you, the only thing you’ll know for sure is that despite your careful planning, some things will change.

But what if you could have a better idea of the changes 2016 has in store for marketers? We were curious so we asked Marketo employees to take a moment to look forward and share their marketing predictions. So without further ado, here are five trends and predictions the Marketo marketing team identified for this year and how you can prepare for them:

1. Social Media Marketing:

Google is going to feel the pressure from social media advertising. According to eMarketer social media ad spend only accounts for 14% of digital marketing spend….but that percentage is growing fast. I think a lot of online marketers will start spending more on social media and less on traditional search ads in 2016 and Google will need to focus on keeping their dominance in the world of digital advertising.

—Mike Tomita, Online Marketing

What this means for you:

I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that social media will grow even more this year. But with that growth comes even more companies fighting for the same audience and the introduction of new platforms joining the social landscape. That being said—I think it is better to be as effective and engaging as possible on a select number of platforms rather than simply being present, but less effective on all platforms. Big takeaway: It’s okay to choose quality over quantity. Stick with doing great marketing, on the platforms that make sense for your audience—whether that’s on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, SnapChat, or Instagram, etc. Quality over quantity!

2. Personalization:

I predict that personalization is going to be an increasingly important tactic for marketers to integrate into their 2016 marketing programs. As we know, marketing communications can be a noisy space—people are inundated with thousands of marketing messages every day and the only way to break through the noise is to have a relevant, personalized conversation. In fact, according to, “in 2016, consumers will expect emails to have more relevant content and will also expect brands to know more about them in the course of social interactions.” Today, you’re collecting information about your customers and prospects so it’s time to build a profile of each person in your audience and use that data to deliver customized content based on their interests and needs. Personalized videos, newsletters, content, emails, websites, etc… are going to be the best way for marketers to create content and message that sticks—and now more than ever, technology is there to help you accomplish this.

—Stacy Milman, Partner Marketing

What this means for you:

Yes, we’ve heard this before. And most of us have probably incorporated personalization into almost, if not all, of your campaigns—whether it is adding personal touches to emails, providing vertical specific content on your website, etc… But in 2016—we are going to have to step up our game. The competition is not going away anytime soon—and the only real way to stand out is to make a personal connection with you audience. Think about how you can add personalization to new channels—such as social, videos, or direct mail this year—and the technology you need to do it.

3. Events:

In 2016, for B2B marketer, there will be a shift towards field marketing and away from tradeshows. That means teams will begin to take a more targeted approach, with the emphasis on quality rather than quantity of leads driven. This also includes developing a greater alignment between marketing and sales. In 2016, the more human touches, the better!

—Stacey Thornberry, Enterprise Field Marketing

What this means for you:

Don’t worry event marketers—tradeshows aren’t disappearing completely! Tradeshows are still important for broad-reach marketing. It’ll just be important to try out smaller, targeted events this year. Start by getting together with your sales team to determine a territory or a set of accounts where you want to gain traction and then work on small, targeted events specifically for those leads.

4. Customer Marketing:

I think that Marketing, as a function, will be forced to work more closely than ever with customer success and service teams. As marketers begin to take responsibility for the entire customer journey (even after a buyer becomes a customer) and its many touch points, the ability to offer the seamless experience a customer is looking for will require more cross-team collaboration. With a tight coordination between teams on the front lines, the ability to listen and respond to customer behavior in real-time, and offer right message becomes reflexive.

—Ellen Gomes, Content Marketing

What this means for you:

The customer journey doesn’t stop after a potential customer becomes a paying customer. That is actually the best time to start their journey over to get them to buy more, renew their purchase, or even become advocates for your brand. And, marketing to your existing customer is actually more cost-effective than the effort it takes to acquire new customers—so this year focus on your customer journey by helping them successfully adopt your product, use it more and realize its value faster by partnering with Sales, Customer Success, Enablement and Support teams.

5. Demand Generation:

I think Account-Based Marketing is going to pick up major traction this year. According to eMarketer, 41% of B2B marketers worldwide said they would be increasing spend on ABM this year. Traditionally, ABM has been an enterprise play but this is changing as SMB companies are starting to experiment with it by leveraging some of the emerging technologies to target, track and evaluate success. Broad-based marketing strategies will always have their place, but we may see them stepping aside to leave more room for ABM by the end of 2016!

—Anastasia Pavlova, Demand Generation Programs

What this means for you:

In 2016, B2B Marketers will need to find the right balance between broad-based marketing strategies and ABM. The key to success is not to do a 100% dramatic shift, but rather start slowly by testing a few approaches until you find the winning formula. Start by sitting down with your sales team, identifying the targeting criteria, picking the accounts and validating them with the right technology, and then test some programs. From there, continue to fine-tune and optimize your campaigns. In 2016—a combination of broad reach and target account marketing combined with much tighter sales and marketing alignment will set you up for success.

Want more information on what to expect for 2016 Marketing trends? Register for our upcoming webinar, 2016 Predictions—What Tomorrow’s Marketer Needs To Know Today. You’ll hear from a panel of marketing experts about their predictions for what 2016 has in store for marketers. Register here!