What are the top digital marketing and branding trends to watch for in 2016 that will impact your company? Borenstein Group’s insights for corporate marketers and professional communicators alike.


1. Facebook Video is Now King

YouTube’s video app has had the second most unique visitors year over year with only Facebook ranking higher. With YouTube acting as the undisputed king of online video and Facebook beefing up its own video platform, 2016 is poised for brands ready to commit to mobile video marketing.

2. 5 Seconds is all You’ve Got!

Analytics Research shows that when it comes to mobile video advertising, if you don’t catch the attention of the viewer in the first 5 seconds, you can forget about it as engagement drops dramatically. Whether it’s humor, drama, or shock value – the premium for higher results is what happens in the first five seconds.

3. Marketing Automation Matures

As marketing automation platforms mature and collect big data, marketers will struggle to make data into actionable information to make intelligent decisions. The platforms are not the solution, they are the tool to make better decisions for both demand generation and customer experience.

4. Shared Economy Drives Greater Opportunities

The notion that even affluent customers are looking to make extra bucks is revolutionizing the concept of social sharing in the information space. Additionally, physical transactions such as transportation, hotel rentals, driving your own car and sharing resources like knowledge communities are rampant in digital-first startups and grown-ups like Uber, Lyft, Airbnb and Tinder.

5. Privacy is the New Piracy

After experiencing cyber security attacks and stolen data in virtually every organization, from banks to the white house to the military, data piracy will become a major concern for non-Millennials, who inherently trust mobile-first, as new collaborative platforms such as e-healthcare records, accounting online service providers, and other Software-as-Service companies will be trusted with your utmost secrets. Who you can trust will become a branding issue, not a cyber security issue.

6. B2B Digital will Become Consumerized

From both a design and content perspective, Customer Experience (CX) and User Interface (UI) on your desktop, tablet or smart phone, have been initially-owned by impulse-based B2C advertising to consumer brands. In 2016, as B2B corporate buyers now use the same devices (BYOD) for work, they expect their B2B suppliers, vendors, and partners to match their consumer experience and demands for speed, responsiveness, and ease of use even with the most complex B2B enterprise software systems. The divide between what’s right for B2B and B2C will diminish by default of the standardization of the devices being used.

7. Who’s Da Boss? It Might be a ‘bot.

As marketing and CRM platforms automate workflow of tasks, many marketers will find themselves reporting to a robotic system rather than a human being. The danger zone will be amplified as companies struggle to identify when a human needs to be involved, like when to send a tweet or determine the timing of a campaign based on market research data.

8. Your Brand Reputation Isn’t an Algorithm

Online reputation management will transform from predominately robotic SEO that matches up with the latest Google algorithm for ranking your favorable mentions, to shifting to value-added authoritative content that is shared with third-party validated media platforms, not your old-school wire releases alone.

9. Authenticity & Anonymity in Product & Employer Reviews

As 2015 has come to a close, giants like Amazon are experiencing the backlash and responding with adding ‘VERIFIED PURCHASE’ to their product reviews as trust has dramatically eroded in the authenticity of product promotions versus genuine reviews. That struggle will be accentuated as employer review sites will face the same issue of verifying the authenticity of company reviews. Until now, they had little to no consequences. However, the threat of litigation will force them to do something, and the pressure to generate advertising revenue will result in more paid sponsorship and paid reviews which will further erode consumer confidence in the trusted brands.

10. It’s Not You, It’s Your Phone!

With GPS-enabled apps such as Google Maps and Waze, which enable your smart phone to pinpoint your location at all times, advertisers will create new WAZE to remind and reward you for stopping by their store. Already in action, loyalty coupons beamed to your smart phone will become the new way to get your business, and eventually replace the old coupon clipping routine.