Forty-four business predictions for 2016

44 Business Predictions for 2016

Justin Lofton Marketing

 
Forty-four business predictions for 2016

The future looks business-y. WHAT do business owners, professionals and experts expect 2016 to hold for small business? Business News Daily got in touch to find out, and, overall, the consensus is that it will be a year ripe with opportunity, yet also teeming with new obstacles to overcome. […]

Here are the predictions that stood out for me…

• Mobile beacons will roll out in earnest

“For small businesses who have brick-and-mortar locations, location marketing is going to be a game changer through beacons for 2016. Facebook is already rolling out their Bluetooth beacons to businesses to shoot out promotional messages and alerts to fans when they’re within range, serving a dual-purpose of next-level customer service and real-time mobile marketing. While the hurdle is that the user would have to have location services and Bluetooth connectivity switched on within their mobile devices, the possibilities are endless when it comes to marketing through beacons.” – Christine Rochelle, Director of Digital Marketing and Operations, lotus 823

• Mobile-friendly websites and SEO will be even more-crucial marketing tools

“In 2016, small businesses will have to dedicate more time and resources to build mobile into their marketing and branding. Google has new mobile optimisation guidelines, which means not having a website with a responsive [mobile] design can seriously hurt your ranking on SEO, even making it so you don’t get listed when someone is searching from a mobile device.” – Craig Bloem, founder and CEO, LogoMix

• Mobile is an increasingly important touch point

“Going into 2016, we see there being a growing importance for brands to focus on the mobile experience for their customers. More and more buying decisions are happening via mobile devices, particularly in the B2B space, and companies across all industries need to adapt, or they will get left behind.” – Bill Burnett, founder and CEO, PointDrive

• Analytics will become more cost-effective and will serve small businesses well

“As [analytics] software develops further, it’s becoming cheaper and cheaper, which is allowing the small business owner to make more informed decisions. Years ago, it took a complex and highly expensive system of highly trained developers and designers to be able to produce [an analytics system], but now, with tools like Optimizely, anyone can add this into their site and be testing conversions within 10 minutes.” – Ross Davies, account director, Strafe Creative

• New payment technology will slowly change the way transactions are performed

“Last year, one of the biggest payments lessons learned by retailers was that any changes at the point of sale (POS) will entail a long adoption period. This coming year, we’ll see EMV chips, mobile payments, omni-commerce, security and the growth of global eCommerce impact small businesses.” – Kevin Gallagher, SVP of global business development, 2Checkout

• Technology will power a small business revival

“It’s now easier than ever to develop custom software applications, and as a result, enterprise technology is no longer limited to large corporations. Small businesses … have access to tools that will help their business not only stay competitive, but [also] thrive. As examples, POS systems, CRM software and HR management platforms were costly and complicated, but this is no longer the case. We predict that 2016 will be the year small businesses, which were once the backbone of our country, make a strong comeback.” – Jonathan Wasserstrum, co-founder and CEO, TheSquareFoot

• Small businesses will continue adapting to new technologies

“Mobile payments will continue to soar as mobile shopping and research continue to grow and customers became adept at shopping on their mobile devices, even in niche industries and use cases. Social selling will be even more prevalent, particularly on Facebook and Pinterest, with their added digital-commerce capabilities both via desktop and mobile.” – Shreyans Parekh, Director, Koyal Wholesale

• Digital marketing ‘clutter’ means the value of personal relationships will increase

“The challenge facing everyone is how to market and promote a small business amid all the clutter and white noise. Paradoxically, I believe that the businesses that will ultimately succeed going forward are the ones that go back to traditional methods, like building face-to-face relationships and word-of-mouth marketing.” – David Mercer, founder, SME Pals

• More consolidation means emphasising online marketing

“Everything from local mechanics to bakeries to florists and carpet cleaners will need to have not only a website, but one that is made for mobile searches, thoroughly connected to social media, directories, review aggregators, coupon generators and proximity pricing calculators, too. The trends are absolutely moving in this direction, and any company that chooses to opt out of these marketing channels will likely face a self-imposed extermination for that industry.” – Alexander Ruggie, PR director, 911 Restoration

• More consolidation means emphasising online marketing

“Everything from local mechanics to bakeries to florists and carpet cleaners will need to have not only a website, but one that is made for mobile searches, thoroughly connected to social media, directories, review aggregators, coupon generators and proximity pricing calculators, too. The trends are absolutely moving in this direction, and any company that chooses to opt out of these marketing channels will likely face a self-imposed extermination for that industry.” – Alexander Ruggie, PR director, 911 Restoration

• Local marketing, interactive content, expanded searches and re-marketing will all play a role

“Small businesses will begin to see the viability and increase in use of interactive content. Specifically, I think Periscope will emerge as the de facto platform for small business and micro business to conduct real-time conversation, over-the-shoulder how-tos and more. While this platform is free (meaning everyone and anyone can do it), the truly successful businesses creating sales and revenue with it will be able to craft well-presented conversations, while not selling their service — only their knowledge.” – James Blews, owner, James Blews Consulting

• Re-marketing, integration of pay-per-click marketing and targeted ads are key for small business

“Re-marketing works, and here’s why: Contrary to popular belief, conversion rates actually increase the more users see an ad within re-marketing campaigns. That’s because these are people who have already been exposed to and engaged with your brand. It’s true that click-through rates decline over time, but those people who do click on your ad, after having seen it a few times already, become twice as likely to convert. Period. Not to mention that re-marketing is incredibly powerful for brand building.” – Larry Kim, founder and CTO, WordStream

• Growth in video adds nuance to small business marketing

“For small to medium-sized businesses, video offers a competitive advantage without breaking the bank. Nowadays, even a smartphone can be used to create quality videos that can provide a window into a company’s culture or organisational structure, explaining why a candidate should apply. Further, video can outline what a specific role will entail in a much more engaging format than a bulleted list on a career site.” – Alys Scott, CMO and senior vice President of marketing communications, PeopleFluent

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