As we look ahead in 2016, following are the trends that we may see based on the current state of the market and the budgets defined for 2015.
Embracing digital becomes a leadership priority
CMOs and firm leaders will realize that the digital transformation mandate comes from the leadership, and committees will be set up to spearhead digital efforts. Supported by their leadership, marketers will lead the transformation journey for firms, and truly embrace digital to make it a part of the fabric of the organization. Organizations will create long-term transformational digital roadmaps, rather than be only tactically focused. All marketing activities will be influenced by digital. For example, events will be supported by content nurturing through marketing automation, brand awareness will be spearheaded by digital activities and all the content will be digitally re-purposed and distributed.
The rise of Content Marketing in firms
In 2015, we saw firms increase the use of social content such as videos and infographics. In the near future, marketers will start using content to increase brand awareness and showcase thought leadership to nurture prospects and clients to drive engagement. Marketers will start to think like publishers in creating and curating content. They will work with practice groups across the organizations to pull content assets and re-purpose for marketing.
Engagement will be a key measure
The emphasis on measurement will increase in firms as the pressure of marketing ROI increases, marketers learn measurement techniques and they gain experience in multi-channel marketing.
Marketers will take ownership of marketing technology budgets. CMOs will ask their digital teams to measure client engagement and provide insight into how digital marketing is moving the needle in improving client relationships and helping the firm win more work.
Rise of the marketing technologist; marketers will take ownership of more budgets
Firms will continue to grow their marketing teams. Marketers will have a larger share to technology budgets than ever before.
Multi-channel and focus on Mobile
The strategy of website projects will shift to a mobile-first approach. Marketers will consider the implications.
Marketing technology overhaul
Marketers are realizing that they cannot meet expectations of driving digital demand and client engagement with antiquated technologies. 2015 saw heavy investments in digital marketing technology and this trend will continue. Technologies that will see widespread overhaul include CMS, CRM, Social Media Management and Analytics.
The use of marketing automation technology will grow rapidly in firms. Many firms are in the process of adopting marketing automation technology such as Eloqua and Marketo to drive one-to-one marketing.
Leading professional services firms are integrating Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technologies with their digital eco-system to get ahead of the traditional marketing and sales cycle by engaging clients and effectively selling their services.
Many firms have invested in industry leading CMSs such as Sitecore and Drupal that are improving the marketer’s ability to be agile in content creation and content marketing.
Analytics technologies will be leveraged more than ever before to get insights into how the firm is engaging clients across all digital channels.