Marketers are always looking for a silver lining, but what they get from Bruce A. Biegel, senior managing director of the Winterberry Group and a Petsky Prunier advisor, is the truth — in the form of his forecast for the year in marketing.
That’s why he’s invited back each year to keynote the first meeting of the Direct Marketing Club of New York (DMCNY), an organization that also happens to house board members for many influential associations, including DMA.
On Jan. 14, Biegel presented his “Annual Outlook: What to Expect in Direct & Digital Marketing in 2016” to DMCNY members assembled in Manhattan’s Yale Club, and Target Marketing got a chance to interview him around the event.
Here’s what Biegel has to say about the upcoming year in marketing:
Q. TM: What’s new for marketers in 2016, in terms of skills they need to master, technology headed their way and where they should spend their budgets?
A. BRUCE: Consumer insights, attribution and measurement for channel optimization, content development — marketers should be curating the good, the bad and the ugly.
- Data: Marketers need cross-device recognition, linking anonymous data and personally identifiable information (PII) … to recognize consumers.
- Tech: Marketers should master campaign management. From channel integration to workflow integration, we see platform consolidation, more data and more challenges in managing the increased demands of content and creative optimization.
- Spend: We are watching a shift toward performance spend as data usage increases. Results matter. Spend is shifting towards local/store, branch, site (mobile, proximity, beacons).
Overall spend will be up in digital (the shift continues), in TV (elections, Olympics) and also in direct mail (‘cause it works) for 2016.
Q. TM: What’s still important from previous forecasts?
A. BRUCE: Everything data-driven, programmatic/automated marketing, [with] more focus on the mobile touchpoints, the integration challenge of all these channels and tech.
Q. TM: What should marketers have done in 2015 that they need to jump on in 2016? (For example, you’ve been saying programmatic is going to be big.)
A. BRUCE: Programmatic is big and marketers are there now, yet marketers missed out on more always-on campaigns (triggered, site-based) and more de-siloing of marketer organizations to create flexibility and agility within their decision-making and execution processes.
Q. TM: How should marketing teams look to handle this workload? (Slim and agile? Larger and diverse, in terms of skill sets and personnel? All automated?)
A. BRUCE: Marketers need to continue the process of de-siloing of their organizations to create flexibility and agility. They need flexibility in their martech stacks — integration, not customization. They need tools that promote better workflow across online-offline channels, platforms and media types. Holistic strategic thinking about the customer journey and marketing agility is the new black.
Q. TM: What are some ancient mindsets and budgeting priorities that need to go? What new ones should replace them?
A. BRUCE: Silos are old. Touchpoint-agnostic marketing is in, which can’t be done in a silo. Digital media may only take you so far — don’t over-shift. Follow the consumer — they will not follow you.
A. BRUCE: That it is a positive forecast, in-line with the long-term bull market in equities and U.S. growth. That media consumption will continue to shift digitally. That the convergence of apps, payments and the Internet of Things (IoT) is going to push boundaries and pressure marketers and their agencies to increase experimentation.
That M&A is going to continue on a 2015 rate (not value, as several large deals pushed total deal value) and valuations will not always go up (or why unicorns have to think about going public).