Disruptive trends for 2016 and beyond

Are you ready for what’s coming next in the world of communications? Virtual reality, big data, and invisible tech are all just around the corner. Based on our work with brands of all sizes, we’ve compiled a shortlist consisting of game-changing communications trends you might need to tackle in 2016. Are you prepared? Review this list and you will be.

Prepare for a tech explosion
A significantly more technology-driven industry utilizing increasingly capable tools will improve efficiency and competition in the industry and also start to transform the entire agency business.

The rise of invisible tech
How we interact with technology will become less visible. As automation increases and smartwatches improve, expect even less interaction with our device screens. As Tony Aubé, blogger and TechCrunch contributor questions, could no UI be the new UI? Learn more here.

Advertisers embrace digitalization
A mobile and digital first approach will be fully embraced by all large advertisers, putting new pressure and demand on the client side as well as on how all different communications vendors are packaging their services

On- and offline merge
Online and offline are (finally) coming together. New tools from Google will enable advertisers to measure return on investment (ROI) for digital marketing based on real retail traffic and sales through mobile-centric tracking.

Even bigger data
Big data analytics will increasingly drive and influence customer experience and user experience. Companies must break data silos and connect relevant data to create rich and actionable customer profiles. The resulting 360-degree customer profiles enable companies to map and understand the customer journey and make more customer-centric decisions. These customer profiles also fuel the marketing automation engine. As a result, expect many companies to take steps in 2016 to consolidate customer data from silos into 360-degree customer profiles. But we should also expect privacy concerns to remain a thorny issue.

Shift to inbound marketing
Consumers have taken control of the sales funnel and want relevant information in exchange for their money and attention. Around 80 percent of the buying process happens before the seller knows about it, which means marketing must shift its focus from outbound to inbound marketing. Content marketing is creating relevant content along the buying funnel to help customers make decisions on a self-service basis.

Services on tap
When was the last time you bought a CD or DVD? Spotify, Netflix, and HBO Nordic are intuitive on-demand services that we’ve grown to love. Could the popularity of these on-demand services mark the end of owning their physical counterparts such as movies and albums?

Netflix and Amazon are starting to produce local original series and content in different countries. As on-demand content continues to gain in popularity, media companies will be forced to react or risk becoming irrelevant.

Super HD
As more and more companies start to think about video as their primary communication channel, they will try to introduce ways to produce cost-efficient video content. Without a communications strategy, most of them will fail miserably. At the same time, consumer expectations will increase because they are so used to the quality content they’ve been viewing on Netflix and HBO. As a result, it will become more challenging for communications agencies to produce content that creates a true connection with consumers and has an emotional impact.

Virtual Reality 2.0
In Q1, 2016, virtual reality (VR) glasses from Oculus Rift, SteamVR, and Sony will be commercially available, reasonably priced, and mass produced for the first time. Since Facebook recently acquired Oculus Rift, the accessory is destined to revolutionize more than the games industry, with 360-degree videos slowly cropping up on YouTube and Facebook. This trend is likely to increase exponentially and result in VR being used creatively in everything from videos, to games, to animations, to movies.

Augmented reality + virtual reality = hyper reality
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality will blend together and result in diverse digital experiences. Apple, Samsung, and Google have all acquired small companies possessing AR technology. It’s therefore likely we will see the results of these acquisitions in the form of new apps and operating systems.

Rise of content
Brands will turn to content strategy when they start to realize that their traditional ways of marketing are no longer enough in our increasingly time-starved, hyper-digital world. They’ll need to generate ROI from different content activities. In advertising, dynamic banner programs, marketing automation, and programmable purchasing will become mainstream because of the advantages they have over the traditional way of buying media.