The Future of Marketing in 2016

Shweiki Media teams up with marketing automation expert Mathew Sweezey, Principal of Marketing Insights at, to present a webinar on the future of marketing in 2016 and discuss marketing fundamentals and changes in the roles and trends in marketing.

In 2015, 5000 B2B and B2C marketers were asked a big question: “What is the biggest problem marketers face?”

The largest problem they face is keeping up with trends to drive higher quality leads.

The Importance of Trust 

One of the most important things marketers need to be aware of is the importance of trust. Every consumer has a mobile device, which is very powerful and enables them to do many things they were not able to do before. Mobile devices result in the idea of the “empowered consumer.” However, it is not the empowered consumer marketers will be facing in the next year, but rather what the consumer has learned to do with that empowered device.

Google has encouraged the average person to engage in heuristic behavior, which enables people to discover or learn something for themselves. For example, nobody taught consumers how to use Google or to search and use email and Facebook. They learned how to do so on their own.

A consumer can determine if there is value in a web experience in less than a second. If it is not valuable, then they will leave. On average, a person will only stay on 1.7 pages of a website.  Google has taught consumers that if at first they do not succeed, then go back to Google. Therefore, the biggest problem marketers are going to face moving forward is not the empowered consumer but rather the infinite noise.

Infinite Noise, Ad Blocking and the Empowered Consumer

By 2020, there will be seven connected devices for every person on Earth. Each device can create and filter noise. Marketers cannot reach consumers with mass media if it is filtered by algorithms on devices. The way marketers get to consumers is through a mediated channel such as Facebook, Twitter, email, display advertisements, etc. The way most people look at these mediated channels is through their devices. The problem is not that the empowered consumer wants content but rather how to get that content in front of them. All these different channels are mediating that noise and only allowing the most relevant and contextual through. This means marketers must be relevant and contextual in order for consumers to see their stuff.

Another problem is ad blocking.  Consumers are saying that they hate a company’s ads so much that they are going out of their way to download a software in order to block them. Eighteen percent of U.S. consumers use ad blocking software. It is also estimated this number will double in 2016. Currently, there are 185 million global users of ad blocking technology.

The Path to Purpose and Self-Discovery

This all comes back to helping marketers understand the psychology of marketing and getting back to the idea of what they have to do. Google says it perfectly: “It is a path to purpose.” There is no longer a path to purchase. Instead, there is a path to purpose. Buyers’ paths are constant strings of moments intertwined together, equaling an experience and fulfilling a buyer’s purpose. What is the buyer’s purpose for engaging with marketers?

People understand the power of the Internet and find their purpose by exploring. Marketers must understand their purpose in order to get through to consumers via their messages. A consumer’s purpose is self-discovery.

Self-discovery is the highest form of value the Internet provides while mass publication is the lowest. There are two aspects of discovery: active discovery and passive discovery.

Active discovery is when one goes out and searches something out. It is extremely powerful for marketers to understand because it allows them to fulfill a desired purpose of the consumer.  It is important to note that the top seven sites in the world are all discovery portals:

  1. Google
  2. Facebook
  3. YouTube
  4. Baidu
  5. Yahoo
  6. Amazon
  7. Wikipedia

The second aspect of self-discovery is passive discovery. This is a secondary action of search and the reason why people “surf” the Internet in the first place. It is when people passively seek an experience and trust the things they find on their own.


Once marketers know what the purpose is, they can really understand this idea of trust. The modern consumer builds trust in a new way. They have found the value of having instant access to the Internet and have placed a high value on self-discovery. Learn how to help aid in the consumer’s discovery, and you will be able to gain their trust.

People will only trust things they find on their own. When it is the consumer’s own idea, they trust it, but when it is the marketer’s idea, consumers will not trust it. Marketers should learn how to leverage technology to help consumers believe they are discovering things on their own, without having to put things in front of their face.

The Chief Marketing Officer

The next big thing to consider in 2016 is the changing roles, responsibilities and scope of the chief marketing officer (CMO). What marketers need to understand is that they need to step back from their roots and become digital anthropologists and psychologists.

Currently, we live in a switching economy. This means a consumer moves from one product to another. This type of economy is estimated at $1.7 trillion dollars, making it the tenth largest in the world. People are moving from one technology to another.  This is another factor marketing must tackle.

Marketers need to show objective value in their holistic marketing efforts and their impact to the happiness of the consumer. This is not best represented by “share of wallet,” because this puts the focus on increasing customer spending. That is not a good way to get the attention of the consumer. There are two metrics marketers need to look at. B2C uses CSTAT scores while B2B uses the NPS metric.  CSTAT scores place the focus on the customer happiness.

Another role of the CMO is privacy and protecting people’s privacy. According to The Economist, one-third of current customers stop doing business with a company after a data breach, and retargeting ads shown after the product has been purchased are four times more likely to discourage further purchases.

Trust=Product x Value x Privacy

Consumers only interact with brands they trust. Therefore, marketers must understand that trust is now built in new ways and every ad serves as an exercise of trust, privacy and value. If forgotten, this could cause marketers to lose a consumers’ trust and their business. If marketers abuse customer privacy, they will lose trust.

The Corporate Mindset: Marketers need to be able to build bridges between all departments to ensure a holistic corporate mindset. Having this mindset is the only proactive way to protect the brand and provide customers with the best experience. In companies like “AT&T, this role is also being given a new name: Customer Experience Executive.

Lifecycle Management: CMOs are also responsible for managing the lifecycle. They begin with the very first touch and never stop. Within each lifecycle, there are many sub cycles, and it is the CMO’s job to ensure they all fit together seamlessly optimizing the relationship.

Leaders vs. Laggards: Companies who excel at customer experience outperform the S&P index by 30% and customer experience laggards by 65%.

Validate with Financial Terms: CMOs have to validate with financial terms the value of a marketer’s role. Subjective ROI and other tools being used now will not work in the future. Marketers should get used to the idea of a weighted pipeline, which a metric that is valued by the business because it is in dollars expected to come in. The weighted pipeline is a metric that shows objective value and can predict future outcomes, and it is comparable and highly accurate.

Weighted Pipeline=Volume x Efficiency x Velocity

Velocity allows marketers to track the speed of a prospect or buyer throughout the stages of the buyer’s journey. This allows for a holistic measure of the impact on a buyer of all marketing activities and is a metric which is valued by business executives because it helps predict the future of revenue outcomes.

Efficiency is the measure of how many prospects or buyers make it from one stage to the next. It allows one to measure and optimize the holistic experience of a buyer in their journey. It is valued by business executives because, when combined with velocity, it accurately predicts future revenues from marketing activities.

Modern Branding Formula

Another thing marketers should take into account is the idea of branding. One should know about branding for the simple fact that everyone is a dreamer.

Mass Branding: Marketers used to dream about creating amazing commercials and beautiful brand imaging.

Consumer Reviews: Upon seeing a “ship my pants” commercial that instructed the viewer to find their website online, Sweezey did a Google search to find their local store. What he found was an average review of 2.9 out of 5, which created a negative impression of the brand directly following the commercial.

Net Positive Experience: He then decided to go to the brand website, and it was broken. This created a NET NEGATIVE affect, and the only way to win him back now was to spend more money on another advertising campaign. The last thing a marketer wants is to have a net negative effect.

Win-Back Rate: The cost of net negative experiences is high. It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience.

One way to avoid a negative experience is through action branding. First proposed by Cindy Gallop, action branding proposes a new idea of how brands build connections with consumers and uses the modern branding formula to understand consumers.

Shared Value + Shared Action = Shared Profit

Levi was going to release a new line of workwear. They found a town in Pennsylvania called Braddock and gave them $1 million dollars to help rebuild their town. In exchange, advertising was created around the town and all of the ads featured real townspeople.

Shared Value: This relationship allowed the people of Braddock to get back to work. Both Levi and the town had the same goal.

Shared Action: Levi hired the towns people to be in their ads and gave them $1 million dollars to rebuild the city while creating an ad campaign for the city.

Shared Profit: They both shared in the profit. Braddock got back to work and Levi demonstrated their honest brand.

This is the modern branding formula marketers have to understand, because all of these things can be done through social networks and social media.

The Demand Model

Demand is another important aspect of marketing that needs to be understood. For one thing, there needs to be a new model for driving demand. The reason for this is because Forrester Research estimates that for every 100 leads a B2B company generates, best in class only convert 1.5 into revenue. Average companies only cover .7 into revenue. This means that for every lead generate, there is a 99.3% rate of failure.

eMarketer estimates digital ad spending will increase by 62% over the next 3 years, reaching over $80 billion dollars in spending per year.

B2B Salespeople: Forrester Research estimates the role of B2B salespeople will not even exist by 2020. This brings up a question: How are marketers supposed to drive demand in the future when there are not any B2B salespeople and the current systems do not work?

Mediated Persons: On average, a person has 7.4 social channels, and it will grow increasingly more difficult to reach them on those channels due to increased competition from their friends, digital ad budgets and ad blocking software. In order for mediated relationships to succeed, they require frequent and phatic gestures to build and maintain them.

In terms of the anthropological and psychological understanding of who marketers are targeting, a mediated person has a different persona on each of those different channels. A phatic gesture means a small gesture (a like, comment, tweet, share, etc.) What do these phatic gestures do? They break through a person’s newsfeed and notification screen on every mobile device.

The Rise of the New Middle: Creating, building and managing relationships across social media will require frequent, small and phatic gestures. These actions cannot be created by advertisements or automations. They must be managed and executed by humans creating a new role for marketers, “the new middle.”

The new demand model will have traditional marketing practice take about 20% of the entire revenue cycle, 60% will go to lead generation and digital rapport building and the last 20% will be sales. These people “in the middle” will have much different roles as community managers because they will have to be social savvy and manage social channels.

What they will be doing in this “new middle” are called micro actions, which are small, phatic gestures like likes, shares, retweets, etc. Marketers can rely on these micro actions to reliably break through the infinite noise because they are warranted, wanted and valued by consumers and cannot be blocked by ad-blockers.

Micro actions are reliable, free and get directly to the consumer, allowing personal brand engagement. It fulfills a person’s purpose for even being social in the first place by engaging with them.

Using Content and Micro Moments

This often brings up the idea of content and what it will be like in the future.

Micro Moments: Micro moments are critical touch points within today’s consumer journey and, when added together, they ultimately determine how that journey ends. There are three critical aspects of micro moments for mobile shoppers:

  1. Be There: Marketers have to be there. When consumers begin looking, they start an active search, which then turns into a passive discovery. 90% of smartphone users are not absolutely certain of the specific brand they want to buy when they begin looking for information online.
  2. Be Useful: In order for marketers to engage with the consumer, they have to be useful. 73% of consumers say that regularly getting useful information from an advertisement is the most important attribute when selecting a brand.
  3. Be Quick: When consumers have been heuristically trained to expect speed through fast Internet speed, marketers have to be fast. 70% of consumers switch apps or sites during micro moments because they are too slow.

So how does one even do all of these things? Technology. In order to succeed, one must have a fundamental understanding of what it will take and that, by 2017, the CMO of a company will have the largest IT budget in the organization.

What a CMO Needs

Connected Journeys: The journey must be personalized across all channels and be contextual to the moment. There are four basic things that have to be connected in order to be contextual at the level customers expect:

  • CRM (system of record)
  • Marketing Automation (system of engagement)
  • Website (owned engagements)
  • Product (increased value)

Data: The next thing one has to understand is that all of these systems are going to be running off of data. Marketers should have an understanding of three types of core pieces of data:

  1. Behavioral Data: This is what people do on their own channels. One must have full behavioral data on each interaction across owned channels. This data will tell marketers which content to show and which moment the person is looking for.
  2. Psychographic Data: It is the new idea of a persona. Psychographic data must be leveraged when placing advertising across any media channel. This is the new way of targeting advertisements and it is also possible to target in real time.
  3. Internal CRM Data: This data will need to be combined with the behavioral data for content suggestions and the psychographic data for better segmentation and content targeting.

Systems Architect: Marketers are going to see this role come about in the marketing sphere much faster than they thought. In order to keep up, marketers will need a systems architect or marketing operations professional.

Because of the increase in technology, marketing will be responsible for connecting the systems to create seamless experiences, be familiar with all the systems and know how to connect and collect data to execute contextual cross channel experiences.

The Future of Marketing

The future of marketing is vastly different because both the buyers and the way marketers have to reach them are different. Marketers have to make strides to create scalable, sustainable and valuable marketing systems. The future belongs to those who understand what is possible (and why it is) and use modern media to build trusted relationships and valued experiences. Advertising alone will not work.


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Mathew Sweezey

Mathew is the head of thought leadership for B2B marketing at Company. A consummate writer, he authors a column for on marketing automation, has been featured in publications such as Mashable, Moz, DemandGen Report, Marketing Sherpa, and is the author of Marketing Automation for Dummeis (Published by Wiley February 2014). Mathew speaks around the world at events such as Conversion Conference, Content Marketing World, Dreamforce, and other marketing focused events.

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