Business Insights

Business Insights

What’s new in marketing for 2016? We asked our Marketing Centre Directors

While we don’t own a crystal ball here at The Marketing Centre, we do keep a close eye on new developments and evolutions in the world of marketing. So to round off the year, we asked some of our part-time Marketing Directors to speculate on significant changes they foresee for the next 12 months.

A very quick summary for the time poor.

  • Video will be massive.
  • Social isn’t going anywhere.
  • Data is everything (if used well).
  • Google remains the same.
  • Company structure and sales teams adapt and traditional media continue to adapt.

Got it? Excellent. Want more? Read on...


While previous years have been predicted as ‘the year of video’, 2016 is set to be the real deal. Video’s production costs are falling, the standard of video content is rising, and the medium remains superb for quickly communicating complex ideas.


Alex Swann, part-time Marketing Director

“2016 will undoubtedly see the use of online video grow and grow. By 2017 video is predicted to account for more than 60% of consumer traffic. Its reach is peerless and, because production costs have fallen, it's now accessible to most SMEs.”
-- Alex Swann, Thames Valley

Emma Thompson

“While generating brochures or SEO-friendly content can have advantages, that one-minute video case study, product demo or customer testimonial can have a fantastic brand impact.  Video can be used across multiple channels, plus it gives you wider sharing potential.”
-- Emma Thompson, East of England

Katie Richardson

“As production costs have fallen in recent years, we have seen far too many poorly executed and embarrassing examples of corporate film. We will see a return to a more professionally executed film style - edit, edit and edit again.”

-- Katie Richardson, East of England

Social Media

Social media is now an integral part of marketing communications, but have we reached saturation point? We might have reached it in 2007, or 2012, or June of this year, or we might be looking for the wrong thing entirely. What do our marketing directors think social means in 2016?


Pete Jakob

“Either a new social media challenger emerges that offers greater privacy and security than the current platforms, or people leave the current platforms in droves - frustrated by the noise of organisations using them for self-promotion rather than interaction/engagement.”

-- Pete Jakob, South East

Brian Hardie, Regional Director

“2016 will see more businesses embracing social media as a cost-effective way to manage customer experience, improve service and build sales pipeline value. Even B2B businesses will consider the value of social media as a complementary channel and learn how to make it work well for them - better, faster and at lower cost than other channels. Expect some growing pains, but it will work for most when properly addressed.”

-- Brian Hardie, Thames Valley Regional Director

Carolyn Graham

“There will a big rise in the use of Instagram for business with the introduction of sponsored posts to emulate the Facebook model.”

-- Carolyn Graham, London


Lamia walker

“It is becoming harder for newcomers in any online business to build a new consumer market and build a launch pad. That, coupled with the growing costs of social media, means programmatic advertising will grow and grow.”

-- Lamia Walker, Thames Valley


Data is key to testing and measuring every element of your marketing strategy. But 2016 isn’t about big data, it’s about using it smartly.


“As the data sets owned by the Data Management Platforms (DMPs) reach critical mass, we'll see the slow integration of digital programmatic advertising with TV media planning/buying. Services like Sky/Virgin will develop further programmatic ad serving solutions which they'll integrate with key DMPs either through partnerships or acquisitions. As we move into the new, more integrated and personalised marketing world, the importance of data will only continue to grow.”

-- Richard Gale, Thames Valley

Nik Haidar

“Data security will continue to be a high-profile issue that very few people have a coherent strategy on but definitely should.”

-- Nik Haidar, London

Nikki Milward, Regional Director

“For my money, it’s all about how you use data to support your activity in making communication more personal and how it can support you in building your one to one relationship development to ultimately drive sales and better account management……people buy from people after all.”

-- Nikki Milward, Regional Director, East of England



And what of Google, the subject of more marketing speculation than any other? Aside from driverless cars, Project Ara and AI, what do our marketing directors foresee? Well, slightly more pragmatic predictions...


Brian Prescott

“Google Analytics will take a kicking as a new generation of millennial web marketers begin to ditch it in favour of affordable advanced analytics that, y’know, actually suggests a course of action.”

-- Brian Prescott, West Country

Robert Stead

“Google will make another ‘revolutionary’ change in its search methods that will generate a lot of excitement but ultimately just reward people who build their websites using common sense.

-- Robert Stead, South East


Company structure

Consumer experience and client retention should already be a priority for all organisations. 2016 will see that trend continue and we’ll see changes the way we structure our businesses. The integration of sales and marketing, consumer relations and commercial divisions, and specialist personnel will fit into a more generalist approach.


malcolm johnston

“If greater emphasis on customer retention brings marketing and sales closer together and they both abandon the outdated titles “sales” and “marketing”, then all to the good. My prediction, therefore, is that, with this increased focus on relationships and retention, plus the extent of the communication available to a marketing team to engage with customers directly, we will start to see a broader based change in the role of a so-called sales department and their marketing colleagues.

-- Malcolm Johnston, Eastern Counties

Rob Furness

“Online app-driven resource networks will become ubiquitous, and the ‘agency’ and ‘despatcher’ business models and their profiteering will disappear as Uber-like companies will replace existing providers of resources to consumers, public services and businesses (think agency nurses, carers, shopping delivery, flatpack furniture erection). What ebay has done for sourcing niche parts and widgets, these new companies will do for skills, tasks and services”

-- Rob Furness, South West

Sophia Ahrel

“Marketing and sales functions operating in silos will fall behind those that integrate. We see more marketing organisations led by a single chief commercial officer. The role of the generalist continues to diminish as companies continue to employ far fewer sales reps, emphasising on those with greater domain expertise and higher productivity. And business marketers will operate in a similar way to consumer marketers, with continuous, near-real-time management of the pipeline.”

-- Sophia Ahrel, Regional Director, Venture Capital

Robert Stead

The B2B sales process will continue to be de skilled as the “stars in cars with big cigars” are replaced with multiple level, multiple channel inbound sales and marketing approaches

-- Robert Stead, South East



Digital marketing is exciting but no one channel should be relied upon at the expense of others and traditional media absolutely still has a role to play, although the worlds of digital and real-world will be closer than ever...


Katie Richardson

“For engaging, one-to-one marketing - and an improved customer experience - supersize format touchscreens that deliver dynamic real-time content are hard to beat. Brands can maximise the potential of their bricks and mortar store by incorporating interactivity into digital signage solutions. Still in the trial and early adoption phase in many sectors, it is surely just a matter of time before they are as commonplace as billboards and ad totems.“

-- Katie Richardson, East of England


“The arms race between consumers’ desire to block ads and media platforms will continue to develop. And 2016 will encapsulate the definition of of irony: the newly launched ITV Hub Premium service offers ITV without the ads for £3.99 per month.”

-- Robert Turner, East of England

Rob Furness

“Clients will realise that digital agencies understand email, mobile, web and even social, but give them the back of a bus and they are useless. Oh, and people will still insist on typing .uk after .co domains...“

-- Rob Furness, South West


So there we have it, plenty for you to chew over for the new year.


Of course, if you want to find out more about how well your marketing is functioning right now, why not take our Marketing 360 Healthcheck? Or to talk to us about your marketing requirements for 2016 and beyond, get in touch.

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