Trends on the Horizon

No matter what industry sector you are, only strategies that offer the greatest chance to move an organization forward will win the competitive battle for funding. Looking forward, we have identified a handful of drivers that will have an increasing amount of influence on which marketing communication strategies will prove most powerful.

We discuss these trends in more detail below and hope that you will read through the following forecasts and see how you can use them to make decisions in 2016 and stay ahead of your competitors.

Mobile will expand further. According to Pew Research, nearly two-thirds (64%) of U.S. adults own a smartphone today. Owners—particularly younger adults, minority groups and lower-income Americans—depend on their smartphone for Internet access and as their primary source of information. Further, while texting, talking, emailing and surfing the web dominant, a vast majority of Americans now use their phones as a top means of news consumption and as their primary device.

Visual content, specifically educational content, will increase rapidly. According to an October PR News/PR Newswire survey, 51% of professional communicators say that their video budget will increase. That trend isn’t necessarily surprising, but communicators are also now seeing that people don’t want to be blatantly advertised to through videos. Rather, they want to learn something. The same survey found that nearly 40 percent of respondents said that educational video content is most effective.

Security will continue to be an issue. A series of hacks in 2015—from T-Mobile to the IRS to Ashley Madison to Anthem and more—serve as reminders of how dangerous a connected world can be for business. Security will be a primary concern in 2016, as more information is collected and used through digital channels. This also includes sensitive communication documents such as news releases, stakeholder letters and private correspondence. A breach prior to massive layoffs, a merger, or a major sale, could have both reputation and regulatory implications. Seeking inside “news” for financial gain is commonplace and will only increase. Marketers and PR professionals also need to be cognizant of content security.

Social Media Influence Will Become More Exclusive. Up until now, almost everyone online considered himself or herself an “influencer.” And when everyone’s an “expert,” then nobody’s an expert. Just like terrible content used to flood the Internet before and forward looking brands saw the need for quality, real influencers will soon downsize low-quality influencers. Reclaiming influence is going to be a sizeable trend in 2016 and this is ideal, because brands with true value will finally get noticed.


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