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The Future of Marketing in 2016 [SlideShare]

According to a 2015 survey of 5000 marketers done by Salesforce, the biggest challenge marketers face is keeping up with trends that will allow them to drive more high-quality leads.

Sound familiar?

To help marketers cope with the industry’s constantly evolving trends, Salesforce’s Principal of Marketing Insights, Mathew Sweezey, has created a SlideShare that breaks down some of the top trends that will influence marketing decision makers in 2016. Check out a few highlights below, and be sure to view the full SlideShare presentation at the end of this article.

Paid Advertising

According to Pagefair and Adobe (2015), 18% of all U.S. consumers use ad blocking technologies, and there are 185 million users of ad blockers across the globe. This number is estimated to double in 2016, which could spell trouble for companies that rely heavily on paid advertising strategies to bring in leads. Our recommendation? Think long and hard about where you’re advertising — and to whom — and really buckle down on your targeting and personalization efforts.

Privacy Concerns

We hinted at it in our recent article about 2016 social media trends: privacy is going to be a major concern for both consumers and companies over the next year. According to the Economist, one-third of current customers stop doing business with a company after a data breech.

But it’s not just privacy concerns about how data is used after it’s been collected; there are also concerns over handing over personal data in the first place. Marketers should expect buyers to become increasingly reluctant to provide their personal information, and will have to adjust their strategies accordingly. (Next year, I expect the question ‘Do I really need this information?’ will be top of mind for marketers.)

The “New” Middle of Funnel

Because buyers are engaging on so many different channels throughout their research process, companies must make “frequent, small, and phatic gestures” in order to stay in front of their buyers. This has created a new role for marketers — called “the new middle” — that encompasses digital rapport-building and lead generation. Now, the middle of the funnel (and where many companies see gaps in their funnel where critical engagement opportunities are being missed) makes up 60% of the entire sales funnel. This model allocates 20% to the top of the funnel for traditional marketing, and 20% for sales acquisition at the bottom.

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As you’ll see in Sweezey’s SlideShare, “the new middle” can be addressed through authentic, human engagements with buyers. In fact, authenticity is a theme we see throughout the Salesforce study, and will be critical to the success of companies’ marketing efforts next year.

Check out the rest of the SlideShare below for more 2016 trends, statistics, predictions, and best practices.