The Trends CMOs Cannot Ignore In 2016

What are going to be the keys to success in the next 12 months?


Whether it is overseeing the shift from television ads to Facebook videos, from desktop to mobile, or from online stores to social media selling, the job of the CMO is one of the most changeable out there. Constantly reacting to new technologies and potential avenues of influence, an effective CMO can ensure that their company thrives as others struggle with technological progress. But no CMO can afford to ignore the biggest trends and, despite none of 2016’s trends being truly unique to the year, they have only grown in importance.

Social media as a marketplace

All of the powerful social media giants - Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Youtube and Google - are looking at ways to turn their social spaces into commercial ones. With more effective embedding of commerce into social media, the sites gain not just extra revenue; brand engagement will only rise, and thus the user data collected by the social media giants will become more valuable.

‘Buy buttons’ became a hot topic towards the end of 2015 and, though there is little evidence to support the notion that users want to conflate their social media space with commerce, the sites are funnelling investment into developing more streamlined buying tools. Pinterest have been particularly successful thanks to their catalogue-like site, and the nature of their users’ posts. The hope is that users will no longer have to leave the social media sites to make purchases, and CMOs should be aware that their company should be utilizing a well-developed strategy to ‘go social’.

Seamless omni-channel experience

Omni-channel experience optimization is by no means unique to this year, but CMOs would be doing themselves and their companies a disservice if they neglected it in 2016 or considered their work in the area done. Put simply, ‘omni-channel’ refers to the improved integration of brick-and-mortar stores and a company’s online outlets. A simple manifestation of this integration is a customer’s ability to buy online and return in-store, but the possibilities of properly optimized omni-channel capabilities are numerous.

A business should be aware of their customer experience at every touch point, and customers now expect a great online brand experience rather than being impressed by it. With this trend comes the necessity for impact across different social media; Snapchat and Periscope have been becoming increasingly important for brand exposure, for example. Whether you’re looking to take your company ahead of the curve, or just simply to keep up with the competition, omni-channel experience optimization is a must.

Mobile-first consumers

The way customers interact with retail is changing. Mobile has now overtaken desktop as the primary means of accessing the internet, and success in some industries relies solely on businesses’ ability to go mobile-first. The shift runs deeper than simply building a website that is optimized for mobile; focus on location-based services, adapt to the 24-hour potential reach afforded by mobile marketing and utilize the mass of data collected by mobile apps.

‘We’re spending more time on mobile than ever before,’ says Matt Idema, Facebook’s vice president of monetization product marketing. ‘While people have made that shift, businesses are still in the process of making it.’ It will be some time before the ‘mobile-first’ buzzword loses traction, and every CMO should be adapting their business for a mobile approach in 2016.


2015 saw ‘personalized marketing at scale’ explode, and 2016 is set to continue the trend. The ability to reach different consumers with their own individual (or seemingly individual) messages and offers is changing the way marketers consider their media approach. The community has become obsessed with the concept of delivering personalized marketing messages and allowing a user some ownership over the brand with personalization options in-app and on web.

Demographics, interests, location and purchase history can all be considered when personalizing marketing but, incidentally, there is a fine line between ‘knowing the customer’ and crossing a line. Many are uncomfortable with the concept of their data being stored - though they rarely do anything about it - and the job of the CMO is to find the balance between personalization and invasiveness.

To learn more from the likes of Forbes, T-Mobile and Yahoo!, book your tickets for the Chief Marketing Officer Summit in Seattle on May 25-26. 

Launch website small

Read next:

Is Your Website Innovative Enough to Warrant Traffic?