3 CMO trends for 2016 show how ‘digital disruption’ is evolving

I have covered the gamut of prognosticators in helping me to determine the most popular and most interesting marketing trends. While reading the many published experts, I asked myself what do the trends mean for current business models, including my own, in the constantly changing digital environment. And with this in mind, I chose three areas to highlight.

Let’s start with Google

The giant algorithm never sleeps, and so it is of great interest that it’s now using information from indexed apps as a factor for search ranking, according to a tidbit that comes from Entrepreneur. It’s easy to become a slave to the algorithm: we have to be seen by the algorithm, we have to do what the algorithm wants, we have to update when the algorithm changes. There is another way to look at it. Reading over predictions for marketing in 2016, I can see many in the know are chanting that in 2016, brand reputation is what will win in the end, not an algorithm. That reputation can come from great content that your audience finds value with and chooses to share with their peers.

SEO is certainly not dead, but the magic is shifting to value-added authoritative content shared on third-party publishing platforms, according to Gal Borenstein, author of Activate. Whether it’s having your content appear on Facebook, or a more traditionally-established publishing platform like the New York Times, a higher return on investment awaits you as a reward.

The omni-channel is like the limbs of an octopus

The emphasis in 2016 is defining and executing audience engagement, coined as the “omni-channel experience.”

Consider the options a marketer will have in 2016 if they truly want to achieve something that resembles a 360-degree approach: mobile platforms, experiential marketing, social, video, podcasts, digital assistants, virtual reality, and more. The list of channels, like an octopus, has many arms.

The bottom line is whatever leads to enhancing the customer experience and whatever it takes to capture the first five seconds of a purchaser’s attention is the name of the game. Demands on B2B marketers are now the same requirements seen in B2C markets. Customers alongside consumers demand a seamless experience, regardless of channel, device or method of delivery. The kitchens for marketers in 2016 are brimming with options to serve up a delicious experience, even if you don’t like calamari.

Marketing automation requires fewer options, not more

The literature on this topic is extensive. From research houses to vendors, agencies and marketing gurus, I am reading “less is best” due to the integration required to match up enterprise systems with content delivery. Too many companies try to work backwards, configuring an exisiting ERP to manage content. But it just doesn’t cut it – you need something that’s configurable, adaptable, and flexible to work with the various content hubs online.

“Big systems are being replaced by easy to use, highly configurable platforms,” writes pundit and sales influencer, Ron Shulkin. Look no further than the success of HubSpot as a perfect example of this.

Borenstein believes marketing automation has matured for both demand generation and customer experience. Part of an immersive experience is also ensuring the customers’ privacy and, therefore, platform integration is more likely to deliver this promise. Marketers are tempted to collect data on those interacting with their content, but must keep in mind that if those users aren’t in control of their own privacy, it can lead to a horrible experience. When users feel like they’re not in control, they’re apt to leave your content and your brand will be denigrated in their eyes.

Digital design and marketing companies such as Bop Design out of San Diego see a trend away from design and more on the user interface. A sophisticated but easy to use platform can incorporate not only the ability to focus on content delivery but also the strategic funnel that moves sales leads to close because they are supported by an integrated digital marketing automation platform.

What we know about recent trends towards digitizations is that existing buisness models either have to eventually change or be negatively impacted.

Take PlayBoy for example. If you think you’re having trouble with Google’s algorithm, put yourself in the seat of Hugh Heffner as adult content rapidly moved online. So, last year the iconic brand suprised many when it said it would no longer be publishing nude women due to a lack of relevance.

Well, my father always did say he was reading it for the articles…


Fawn Annan
Fawn Annan
Fawn Annan is the President and Group Publisher of IT World Canada/IDG Canada, the largest global IT media company located in 87 countries. Its global brands such as CanadianCIO and Computing Canada are written with local views for global IT issues.

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