Category Archives: What’s New

Welcome 2019 Pantone Color of the Year!

Vibrant, yet mellow PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral embraces us with warmth and nourishment to provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment. An animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge.

In reaction to the onslaught of digital technology and social media increasingly embedding into daily life, we are seeking authentic and immersive experiences that enable connection and intimacy. Sociable and spirited, the engaging nature of PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral welcomes and encourages lighthearted activity. Symbolizing our innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits, PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral embodies our desire for playful expression.

Representing the fusion of modern life, PANTONE Living Coral is a nurturing color that appears in our natural surroundings and at the same time, displays a lively presence within social media.

PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral emits the desired, familiar, and energizing aspects of color found in nature. In its glorious, yet unfortunately more elusive, display beneath the sea, this vivifying and effervescent color mesmerizes the eye and mind. Lying at the center of our naturally vivid and chromatic ecosystem, PANTONE Living Coral is evocative of how coral reefs provide shelter to a diverse kaleidoscope of color.

2018 Graphic Design Trends You Need to Know

2018 is shaping up to be an exciting year for graphic and print design.

Read on to discover the top five graphic design trends which will be making an impact in 2018, from color fonts to maximalism, and everything in-between!

1. Color Fonts

Color fonts, also known as chromatic fonts, are OpenType fonts with additional data attached in SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) format. This means that color font files store extra data, such as textures, gradients, and colors.

In line with the trend for all things maximalist (see below), color fonts are over-the-top and bordering on bad taste. Above all, they’re meant to be bringing the fun back into design, which makes them a welcome departure from the rigours of minimalism.

2. Animated Typography

In digital design, we’re also going to see the color font trend go one step further with animated versions of color fonts. These will bring an extra dimension of interactivity and fun to branding, social media content and apps in 2018.

3. Texture in Print Design

The design industry’s focus on digital design has shifted attention unfairly away from print design in recent years. Not ones to be discouraged, print designers have been quietly and skillfully carving out a niche for print design, which makes it just as relevant in an online-obsessed world.

There’s something about printed materials which web design can’t rival—it’s the physicality and tactility of print that makes it an indispensable marketing tool for brands.

In 2018 designers will play up this difference, and be more experimental with textures in their printwork. Recycled and bespoke papers, embossing, foiling, quilting and high-gloss finishes bring an extra element of textural surprise to otherwise pared-back designs.

The focus is on emphasizing the beauty of natural texture and imperfections in the paper stock, making these into business cards you can’t help but want to pick up and stroke.

The resurgence of fabric-bound books will also continue this year, with more cover designers opting for linen and wool textures in their designs, adding to the tactility and treasurability of beautiful books.

4. Maximalism and Eccentricity

There’s a sea change in graphic design at the moment. Tastefully minimal design suddenly seems a little, well, boring.

The worlds of fashion and interiors have already taken note of the new taste for maximalism.

In graphic design too, the mood for 2018 is maximalist, with designers starting to be more creative with color, embellishment and detail. Take your cues from folk design, retro styling and Wes Anderson movies to channel the trend in your own designs.

5. Line Art Branding and Packaging

Line art is the successor of flat design, and the style was popular across icon and app design last year. In 2018, we’ll see the line art trend move into branding and packaging design.

It’s a subtle style that instantly makes labels and boxes look cutting-edge, and it really sings when set in metallic foil against a backdrop of pastel colors. If you’re not completely on board with the maximalist trend (see above) this is a great halfway house. You can bring in lots of detail, and still keep the design looking simple and pared-back.

Be sure to call Radsick Ad Group if you would like a fresh, updated look for your businesses marketing materials in 2018.

Tried & True Web Design Practices

When thinking about your website – think about your users/target audience.

Some questions to ask:
– What type of device is your end-user searching on – desktop, tablet, smartphone?
– What do they want to do when they arrive at your page?
– How do you capture & maintain their attention?
– What about next steps for them?

In the ever-changing world of web design, adaptability is imperative to ensure usability.

User experience is a key component when building and designing your website. Remember, your website is not for you – it’s for your users.

Tried and true practices that assure your website is delivering your brand message efficiently and effectively.

Responsive Web Design: It is critical that your website is responsive – remember screens come in all sizes. Your website must respond and adapt to the user’s device, whether that be a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. This can mean the difference between losing and gaining a client – 40% of users will move onto a different search result if yours isn’t mobile friendly.

As a user, there is nothing worse than jumbled content, impossible navigation and long load times. Consider the goals of your user. Is your typical customer making purchases on their tablet? Or are you trying to deliver impactful content to commuters using their smartphones? First, is assuring navigation buttons are visible and easy to interact with – think clicking a mouse or tapping a fingertip. When it comes to mobile, high load times scare users away – almost half of users expect a load time of two seconds or less. On that note, considering your image and video specs is imperative. If you need to have them on your mobile page at all, keep them compressed and manageable – this will help the speed and performance of your website.

Long Scroll: People are scrolling. With approximately 50% of end users on mobile devices, be it a tablet or a smartphone – easy, scrolling navigation has been proven in the market. Implementing a long scrolling website creates a platform for storytelling and visual experience. If you look at social platforms, the constant updated feed from Facebook, Twitter, and Pintrest utilize an efficient and pleasing long scroll format. It has become second nature for users to scroll through a web page.

There are important components to consider when implementing long scroll. For instance, sticky navigation, keeping your navigation bar in view while content scrolls below, assures that users can control the page at their own pace without getting lost.

Creating cohesion by changing backgrounds in order to emulate the appearance of a single page is important to consider. This breaks up the content and helps walk your user through the site.

When implementing long scroll you also need to think differently about how you analyze your SEO.

It may appear that clicks aren’t as high, however the session duration time has gone up. This is due to the amount of homepage content and information that is available and scrollable to users.
Responsive web design and long scroll are surely combatting old conventions, like the above-the-fold concept. The seamless load of a responsive webpage on any device, and the ease in which users scroll through a web page, will lead to a superior user experience – it has been tried & true.

To review your current website & to explore ways to enhance your end-user experience call Debbie at Radsick Ad Group 727.866.9365


Looking Ahead: 2017 Marketing Trends

It’s that time of year again, when we start looking ahead to what the new year will bring.

There were changes in 2016 in our approach to marketing, social media, and design. It was a year that focused on the consumer: consumer-centric marketing, consumer experience, consumer insights, and ways of tracking and analyzing those perceptions.

As we look at what’s ahead for digital marketing – we will need to rise to the challenge of staying ahead of emerging technologies and find strategies that emphasize targeted marketing.

Here are some key things to focus on for 2017:

Interactive Content: Last year, it was reported that audience attention spans have shortened as result of a more digital lifestyle. Keeping what little of consumers’ attention we have will depend on engaging them in the content. Blog posts, white papers, and infographics are still great content for people and search engines, but attention can easily shift away from static content. Interactive content like assessments, calculators, training modules, and games to keep your audience clicking, swiping, and sharing information will be key in engaging your audience. A great way to generate items such as these is through marketing automation.

Marketing Automation: The software used to automate repetitive marketing actions such as email, social media and other website actions.

As you are gearing up your digital strategy for 2017, there are a few things you will want to make sure you have in place.

1) Dynamic content: Dynamic content is content that “talks” to your subscribers. It puts a personal spin on your messaging and the more personal you are, the more likely you’ll convert subscribers into customers. As this strategy becomes more the norm, consumers will expect email to have more relevant content. But beware of over-personalized content – studies are showing that consumers have less tolerance for advertising that crosses this line.

For example, there are two forms of personalization:
Personal which involves facts related to an individual person; and Intimate – most people would feel hesitant about sharing the information in a professional setting. There’s a good chance that your marketing might feel a bit “creepy” for your audience if your marketing personalization is based on information that is both personal and intimate.

Basing your marketing around personal facts like what city or community they live in, how many children they have, or what they do for work are good examples, although privacy limits are always subjective. By contrast, if it’s intimate, and you’re basing your marketing display around intimate details like you overheard them talking on the phone about troubles with their wife and you start showing them ads to purchase flowers in their city, you may be crossing the line into “creepy”.

2) Drip campaigns: Drip campaigns are a set of marketing emails that will be sent out automatically on a routine schedule. These can be essential for businesses with long sales cycles. A drip campaign can help your team stay in contact with prospective leads and provide touch points that help in closing a sale. Setting up a drip campaign is the most efficient way to run a campaign without having to constantly monitor it.

3) Nurture campaigns: Just like dynamic content that changes depending on who you are contacting, a nurture campaign will segment your audience based on interaction. A nurturing campaign can be particularly effective with leads who are on the fence and need a little nudge.

The Social Scene: We’ve been seeing the influence of social media on marketing for years now. It’s a form of marketing that’s been embraced by most companies and viewed as a must-have to appear relevant in today’s world. Almost 70% of companies are still not collecting data from their social media channels – that is a crazy number, considering that social channels offer the greatest marketing opportunities out there. Suggestion for 2017: invest in social analytics.

Content…Content…Content: People’s attention spans are getting shorter. With that in mind, consider the content of your website. Information needs to be accessible as quickly and easily as possible. Great copy will always add strength to your website and is invaluable for SEO, but if something can be said clearly with a photo, animation, or short video, then do it. It all goes back to finding a better way to engage your audience in a concise and shareable way.

Remember too that your content doesn’t end with your site.

Your marketing strategy should interweave those valuable nuggets of information and brand messaging into all aspects of your digital existence. Social content and blogs are crucial aspects, and marketing channels like videos will be what blogging was seven years ago.

Content strategy is not a trend; it’s an evolution of where marketing is and will be in the foreseeable future.

Keeping up with the latest and greatest strategies is always a struggle for any business.

Give Debbie @ Radsick Ad Group a call to help your business stay ahead of the curve in 2017.


2017 Pantone Color of the Year: GREENERY

PANTONE 15-0343
A refreshing and revitalizing shade, GREENERY is symbolic of new beginnings.

GREENERY is a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew. Illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, the fortifying attributes of GREENERY signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate.

GREENERY is nature’s neutral. The more submerged people are in modern life, the greater their innate craving to immerse themselves in the physical beauty and inherent unity of the natural world.

This shift is reflected by the proliferation of all things expressive of GREENERY in daily lives through urban planning, architecture, lifestyle and design choices globally.

A constant on the periphery, GREENERY is now being pulled to the forefront – it is an omnipresent hue around the world.

A life-affirming shade, GREENERY is also emblematic of the pursuit of personal passions and vitality.

What is the PANTONE Color of the Year? A symbolic color selection; a color snapshot of what we see taking place in our global culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude.

Nature’s neutral, GREENERY is a versatile “trans-seasonal” shade that lends itself to many color combinations & can easily cross over fashion, beauty products – as well as – graphic design applications.






Linkedin Updates

LinkedIn Launches Conversion Tracking
LinkedIn introduced conversion tracking, which offers a set of capabilities built directly into LinkedIn Campaign Manager that lets you easily measure how many leads, sign-ups, content downloads, purchases and other specific results you’re getting from your Sponsored Content and Text Ads campaigns.

This new tool will help marketers understand more about the specific ads and even the unique LinkedIn audiences that are driving your campaign conversions and generate high-quality leads, acquire new customers, and raise brand engagement among LinkedIn’s global audience of 450 million professionals.

LinkedIn Updates Publisher Experience
LinkedIn rolled out a new publishing experience that makes it even easier for you to reach and engage with your audience on LinkedIn.

The new and enhanced desktop publishing experience on LinkedIn includes a sleek intuitive interface, more text and font options and a beautiful new reading view that removes distractions and noise from the page.

According to the LinkedIn Official Blog, the new desktop publishing experience is currently only available in the U.S. and will be available to international [publishers] soon.


The Big Focus for Marketers: Customer Experience

In 2016 and beyond advertisers & marketers will need to focus on improving the customer experience and marketing in a digital-first world.

Emerging channels like mobile, video, and social media gain traction among brands and advertisers. Meanwhile, issues surrounding ad view-ability and ad blocking became even more apparent. The marketing and advertising community will need to find solutions that satisfy all parties: publishers, marketers and especially consumers.

Marketing trends shaping the future of marketing in 2016.

1. Digital has become a top priority for marketers while traditional channels lag

As digital ad spending soars and spending on traditional media stagnates, digital media will be an even greater focus for marketers in 2016.

Pervasive changing customer behaviors” have made it so that there has to be “a digital consideration to all marketing. Being able to tie specific revenue outcomes to digital marketing initiatives is helping “close the loop” for marketers, and has driven marketers to shift where they spend their budgets.

Digital ad spending worldwide makes up nearly 30% of the overall ad market. The growth is having a negative impact on traditional channels such as print and TV.

The growth in digital and the stagnation (or even decline) in traditional media underscores an overarching trend that has dominated the last few years: Consumers and marketers are favoring new media.

Digital marketing is essentially “mainstream – the mindset should be about marketing in the digital world where digital is the default.

2. Marketers will have to think mobile-first

Today, mobile is already one of the fastest-growing media channels in history – marketers will need to prioritize it if they want to reach consumers on their own terms.

In the past five years alone, mobile has gone from an emerging trend to the new normal. Nearly two-thirds of Americans own smartphones, according to a 2015 Pew Research Center study, and that number seems likely to only rise in the next year.

Mobile’s surge has redrawn marketing budgets and strategies, ushered in new ad products and platforms, and caused a fundamental change in the relationship between brands and consumers.

In the last 18-24 months in particular, marketers have taken a “much more purposeful approach to mobile,” and are increasingly looking at how it affects the user experience and adds value to their business.

The migration to mobile has left marketers pondering how to adapt their campaigns to different ad formats even within mobile, such as in-app ads. These ads accounted for 10% of mobile ad dollars last year, representing an 80% year-over-year increase.

In the year ahead, consumer usage and better ad formats will continue to drive ad dollars toward mobile. Mobile will provide marketers a unique environment to gather multi-dimensional consumer data that can be used to better personalize messages.

As the buying process and the marketing funnel continue to evolve, brands that leverage this data to improve their mobile marketing efforts should reap the rewards.

3. Social media is becoming a mainstream marketing channel

Social media companies from Facebook to Snapchat are looking to bulk up their innovative ad offerings and continue growing into major players for ad dollars.

According to the Pew Research Center – 65% of adults used social media in 2015, nearly ten times the number in 2005. Facebook and Instagram alone make up 1 billion and 400 million users, respectively, while the micro-blogging network Twitter has 320 million and Snapchat boasted about 100 million daily active users mid-way through 2015.

Now that the big social companies have built engaged audiences, many are turning their attention towards monetizing them and helping marketers reach their target audiences.

Of all the social networks, Facebook is the most popular for marketers, according to Socially Aware data. The world’s largest social network has worked in recent years to become mobile-first and build out a top-notch ad system. Facebook’s data and targeting tools allow marketers to personalize their social campaigns at scale.

Instagram which shares parent Facebook’s data and targeting system, has become a favorite among fashion and beauty brands with its visual format. With offerings such as “carousel ads,” the photo-sharing app wants to give brand marketers the space and tools to attract consumers.

Twitter is looking to find ways to help marketers leverage the social audience it has built. A handful of updates, including its Moments feature, events targeting, and conversion metrics, positions it as a powerful channel for real-time engagement.

Meanwhile, Snapchat, the go-to messaging app for many younger users, has started to offer marketers ad spots and targeting abilities. The app has set itself apart with its highly-coveted – and highly-engaged – millennial and Gen Z user base.

Marketers are taking note: In the last year, marketing perceptions about social media have changed, with social now seen as a place where marketers can find highly-targeted audiences and track their campaigns with granular metrics.

As social platforms build out their ad offerings – with a particular focus on mobile and video – marketers are shifting their budgets towards social, eMarketer projected that social media ad spend would reach $25.14 billion by the end of 2015, a 40.8% jump from the $17.85 billion spent in 2014. That figure is only expected to climb higher in the coming years, with $41 billion projected by 2017.

An ongoing challenge for marketers persists: linking social media campaigns to sales. Socially Aware reports that nearly half of all marketing executives have thus far been unable to measure social media spending’s impact on their business. As social companies continue to improve their ad and measurement offerings, expect brands to leverage these audiences in fresh ways.

4. Online video will see its star shine bright

Online video is quickly becoming a vital channel for many marketers.

It’s simply easier to consume and audiences tend to prefer it for its efficiency. It’s also, generally speaking, more effective as a storytelling medium, creating the inspiration that drives action.

A recent study by Cisco Systems shows consumer video will account for 80% of all internet traffic by 2019. Consumer viewing habits are moving away from TV and toward streaming video.

New tech innovations are expected to drive the momentum in that medium. Social companies like Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat are finding ways to integrate powerful video offerings into their ad systems. A few budding areas include auto-play videos, native in-app video ads and live streaming.

In the next year, we will see the live video, or the streaming experience, become more powerful. People have a much greater desire for community, in the moment, shared experiences.”

From smartphones and tablets to desktop computers, video views are up across devices, making it ever more important for marketers to construct multi-platform video ad strategies.

A November 2015 study by Yahoo found desktop video views grew 34% over the last year, while tablet and mobile video views grew even faster – 48% and 55%, respectively. Building an ad experience that connects with consumers across devices is key.

5. The bleeding edge in digital marketing begins with augmented reality

There has been a lot of chatter around augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies lately.

Developers are rolling out new technologies, and the talk is turning to how brands and marketers might be able to use them for advertising purposes. While AR and VR – AR’s pricier and more complex older sibling – may not be mainstream marketing channels just yet, they shouldn’t be overlooked.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sees virtual reality as having a similar potential to smartphones.

In the future, AR technologies could help drum up attention around product launches and experiential events in a more tangible, complete manner. For example, Facebook already has several brands, including Disney and AT&T, advertising with its 360 degree video campaigns, which can be described as a VR “lite” experience for users. These immersive ads help marketers tell richer stories and give consumers new reasons to interact with the ads.

Virtual reality technology could also give B2B marketers a way to showcase large equipment to potential buyers at a lower cost. Think for example a Caterpillar tractor or GE jet engine – telling the “story” of a complex sale is a challenge when the buyer is unable to physically see or test the product. VR offers marketers a way to create a compelling visual story around big ticket items in a 3D environment, and can help create a virtual “try before you buy” experience.

Digital industrial giant GE has already used VR to transport clients on a tour of its oil and gas exploration and to events like the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston.

Marketers will be smart to keep an eye on AR and VR technologies and see if there are ways to test out their viability for their brands.

6. Brands and publishers are homing in on content marketing

With all the focus on the consumer experience, many brands today are looking to boost their content marketing strategies to build stronger relationships with their potential customers. As a result, content marketing will home in further on providing value to the consumer, as opposed to focusing primarily on the brand’s message.

Content marketing is how you rise above the noise – it is inherently consumer-centered.

It will be crucial for brands to make sure their messages are as native and personalized as possible.

One emerging area for brands looking to create content marketing is through user-generated content (UGC). Through UGC campaigns – in which consumers provide the content – brands can build loyalty among their target audiences while simultaneously figuring out what sort of messaging really resonates with them. By bolstering their campaigns with UGC, brands can tell original stories based in the consumer experience.

Gone are the days of million-dollar ad investments and one-directional marketing messages. User generated content will become more than just a buzzword, with organizations from large enterprises to ‘mom and pop’ small businesses seeking more effective and efficient ways to activate ‘brand advocates.'”

Beyond UGC, some see digital video and social media as the biggest game-changers in content marketing.

What sets social media apart is that it allows you to have a back and forth conversation with your customer, rather than brands just talking at consumers. If you’re doing it [content marketing on social] the right way, you’re inviting your consumers to post their own pictures and finished products from what they did with their purchase.

On the other side of the content marketing coin, publishers are increasingly taking branded content in-house and building out their own custom publishing units. Publishers see an opportunity to directly provide marketers with custom content, as they know their audiences best.

7. Data is essential to marketing

Data today has become essential to marketing, but marketers haven’t quite connected the dots between tracking data and then applying it.

Quantitative skills and inventive strategies make up the essence of the next generation of marketers.
The challenge is to sift through the data for meaningful signals that marketers can use.

While marketers have access to data like never before, much of the data is not available to them in a timely manner so it is very difficult for them to make data-driven decisions that truly have an impact on campaigns while they are being executed.

The solution lies in measurement. Standardizing measurement in a holistic and automated manner in the near term will make it possible for brands to make data-driven marketing decisions in real-time.

Real-time data management is the future of personalization. In order to achieve this, marketers need to leverage the most meaningful data specific to their audience. Filtering out meaningful signals may be a big task, but the end goal is clear: using the most pertinent data to better tailor marketing efforts to target audiences

In 2016, marketers will focus on smarter measurement and obtaining meaningful insights that will inform how marketers can better engage their target audiences.

8. Marketers look to boost personalization

Given the focus on customer experience and the potential for leveraging data, marketers should place a greater focus on personalized communications.

With the help of data, marketers who put highly-personalized campaigns in motion will be able to drive better results. The benefits of personalization include higher response and conversion rates, brand loyalty and repeat customers, amplified reach and increased relevance with today’s shoppers.

Consumers that are given a reason to share their personal information are often willing to do so, but they expect to see tangible benefits, such as tailored promotions, in return.

The challenge is that marketers’ perceptions of their personalization strategies don’t match the reality. Despite marketers’ best efforts to personalize their messaging, they often seem to fall short with consumers.

What’s missing is a more intimate understanding of the customer’s current needs, which comes from smarter measurements of existing data. With this information, marketers can better personalize their messages to customers and provide them with a better experience. Through personalization, brands have the opportunity to build brand loyalty and boost engagement.

With an eye on repairing the consumer-advertiser relationship, which needs to take priority in the year ahead, “a balance needs to be struck between sustainability and providing relevant and helpful advertising to the consumer,” DMA’s O’Keefe said. “The consumer may need to be willing to have ads appear in their feeds without ad blockers, but the onus is on publishers and marketers [to fix this].”

9. Smart marketers will focus on the consumer experience

The old adage goes, “the consumer is always right.” And with the rise of ad blocking, it is clear that there is still a disconnect between marketers and their audiences. The wide availability of information and resources makes it even harder for marketers to reach target audiences and easier for consumers to move onto the next best option.

Customer experience is that last durable way to build loyalty and advocacy with consumers. The perspective should be exclusively “how you serve customer needs, but only as they translate value to the business – meaning there needs to be a value-add on both ends of the transaction.

The marketing view should be from the outside in, rather than inside out.

Marketers should think about what consumers need and what they want to hear. This will position brands to better connect with consumers in the moments that matter most, he added. The customer experience should be looked at as “an opportunity to add convenience and reduce friction, while innovating your business model.

2016 will need to be the year of truly meaningful creative if brands want to reach their consumers in a way that resonates. Campaigns will need to be designed with a specific target individual and device in mind, and ads will have to contain tailored messages. As technology evolves, hyper-local targeting will also be necessary for activating specific audiences.

It’s time to say goodbye to one-size-fits-all creative.

Contact Radsick Ad Group for assistance with marketing your business to ensure the best customer experience.







7 Game-Changing Marketing Trends for 2016

Marketing constantly adjusts and reacts to changes in technology and attitudes.
While digital marketing has undergone a substantial transformation in the last few years, the technology that incited the changes is growing at a faster pace than most brands can keep up with.

So, what does this mean for competitive marketers that are already strategizing for 2016?
Brands need to look beyond the usual channels to stay ahead rather than simply jump on the bandwagon.

Here, we’ll discuss those trends that are changing the face of marketing (yet again) and give you an eye-opening look at what marketers should be leveraging in 2016.

1) Relationship Marketing
As smartphone adoption continues to rise with an estimated 2 billion consumers worldwide expected to own a smartphone in 2016, the opportunity for brands to be connected with their customers and prospects is set to be closer than ever. Enter relationship marketing.

The goal of relationship marketing is to focus on building stronger loyalty and long-term customer engagement rather than on quick, short-term customer acquisition and individual sales. This helps companies develop strong, emotional customer connections to their brands that drive word-of-mouth promotions and lead generation.

Through meaningful customer relationships and conversations, companies create loyalists and brand advocates. Companies that do relationship marketing well set the bar high for other brands vying for more meaningful connections.

So, how can companies develop community and personalize their outreach efforts? Data. We now have data in easily accessible and interpretable formats through which we can develop strong relationship-marketing plans. In 2016 and beyond, personalized, data-driven marketing will become increasingly important.

Intrusive, mass-target approaches to marketing will slowly dwindle as marketers who focus on relationships grow their businesses. All solid relationships are built on trust. Transparency between customers and brands is essential, so companies must keep this in mind when mapping relationship marketing tactics.

2) Marketing Automation
As marketers today are spending at least 50 percent of their time on content, companies are coming up with more ways to automate marketing. Marketing automation alone is worth $5.5 Billion and is leading the way in lead generation and prospect nurturing.

Using a marketing automation platform makes it easier to schedule emails, segment contacts, automate social media posting, manage your content, and track the lifecycle of customers in your marketing funnel. This automation trend also highlights the growth of convergence, which allows you to stay lean, focused, and as profitable as possible without compromising on quality.

With even more focus on marketing to deliver results, marketing managers and CMOs should be taking stock of their team’s skills, noting the gaps and defining a robust automation strategy to help sales through engaging prospects, qualifying leads, and shortening the overall sales cycle.

3) Location-Based Marketing Technology
How can event professionals and marketers create an interactive experience? They must target users at the point of engagement. Location-based marketing technology, like iBeacons and RFIDs, helps make this possible. iBeacons are small, inexpensive transmitters that use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology to detect nearby devices that can be housed in retail stores, point of sale displays, and merchandising areas.

iBeacons can also help event attendees make the most of conferences through sign up and engagement in talks and sessions. Furthermore, Linkedin integration offers the opportunity to connect with attendees and send messages (including push notifications) about the latest news, reducing the need for delayed email communication.

A Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a small electronic device that contains a chip and an antenna, providing a unique identifier for that tag. RFID wristbands, cards, and apps enable event attendees to interact in new and engaging ways. Event organizers can let visitors easily share their experience with their friends online. Brands can increase shares and likes with a simple photo and tap of the wristband to share across social media.
It’s all about location – and the marketer’s ability to make the most of it, in real time.

4) Virtual Reality
Virtual reality technology will inevitably have a huge impact on the way that marketers engage consumers in 2016. One of the biggest keys to marketing, especially to Millennials, is personalization. With the ability to literally tell 360-degree stories, companies will be able to engage like never before.

Companies who don’t supply a virtual experience for prospective customers, such as retailers, could see a drop in sales. Adoption of VR in 2016 and beyond will undoubtedly cause some kind of shift in marketing ideology. It’s best to hop on the VR train now to get a first look at what these new eyes will show us.

5) Ephemeral Marketing
Snapchat is already moving into the space of a “standard marketing platform.” In the upcoming year, marketers will come to understand that Snapchat isn’t just a tool for fun marketing experiments; it’s a platform that users are flocking to in order to digest social media in real time.

In order to deliver integrated campaigns that make constituents feel connected, especially the younger generation of consumers (read: Millennials) you need to be offering exclusive content that has an expiration date. This “less is more,” or ephemeral, marketing is all about communication that’s shorter and more to the point. In a world where people have less and less time, this model works.

Snapchat is the ultimate platform for making consumers feel connected and at the same time, unique. Brands such as ESPN, Vice, and Comedy Central already use it to push their messages to voracious consumers of media. With Snapchat, the advertisement becomes the product – something that competitors won’t be able to ignore. Take advantage of this huge opportunity to connect uniquely using just a small window of your audience’s time. Be organic, speak their language, and just cut to the chase.

6) Search Past Search Engines
With Facebook already working on tests for its own search engine, it seems inevitable that search capabilities will go far beyond Google, Bing, and Yahoo. As search capabilities improve within social media, brands will get an automatic boost. In addition, when buy buttons and payment messaging appear on social in 2016, an all-in-one-type platform will manifest (more convergence).

With advanced search capabilities, integrated payment methods, and the social impact that empowers sites like Facebook and Twitter, consumers will be able to make purchases, chat with their friends about what they bought, and post the social proof of their new purchase.

Advanced search will bring a more integrated social experience that expands to the e-commerce realm. If you cater your marketing efforts to this all-in-one, buy-and-share social media search, it’s clear that your brand will realize returns. Make the buying process easier, but also make it an experience.

7) The Internet of Things (IoT)
Wearable technology will see a user adoption rate of 28 percent by 2016 – even more data for marketers to mine. So, will this data be derived from people’s day-to-day habits? It looks that way. Every year from now until the foreseeable future, we’ll see the IoT become a bigger tool that marketers can use to engage with customers.

Maybe this means that ads will soon have the ability target people based on their every move. For marketers, this means that your data will have to become more behavior-driven and, although the power of devices may seem unsettling, you’ll be right on target. At the end of the day, people will what they want.

These 7 game-changing trends should be essential elements in your 2016 marketing plans. By 2017, we’ll have a whole new bag of tricks to share with you – but for now, get ahead, keep thinking ahead, and see how things evolve from there!

2016: What’s New in Advertising?

Consumers will expect even more from advertising.

The content will need to be increasingly honest, relate-able and contextually relevant in order to help shift perceptions. With the continual evolution of in-stream ad products, the need for strong content will only increase. Brands producing content that feels taxing will fail, while others who understand the platforms for which they’re creating content will thrive, gain consumer trust and achieve social currency. The key here will be the shift away from the mindset of content as a window-to-window strategy and more as a perpetual way of speaking to the consumer through different lenses.

Art and design will continue to be a strong part of every aspect of advertising, but there will be an increased emphasis on data to help drive creative decisions.

The combination of science, art and design will be used to test and learn to see what resonates. This methodology will increasingly become the primary way ‘big bet’ creative decisions are made, specifically in the form of video advertising. … Creative direction will be less focused on driving traffic back to a single destination, but rather on a holistic but distributed approach where many pieces of content are adapted to reach people where they are, specific to the devices that they’re using.

The big shift will be thinking about the future and the new technology that allows marketers to tell their story in unique ways. Through this, there may be older forms of ad models that are reinvented, but the focus will be on the new mediums and how they can best be utilized.

There will be an increased awareness that there needs to be an adaption of the insight for the platform, which means that marketers will increasingly rely on creatives to be experts in all aspects of the evolving social space.



Pantone’s 2016 Color/s of the Year!

A softer take on color for 2016…
For the first time, the blending of two shades – Rose Quartz (13-1520)
and Serenity (15-3919) are chosen as the PANTONE Color/s of the Year.

As consumers seek mindfulness and well-being as an antidote to modern day stresses, welcoming colors that psychologically fulfill our yearning for reassurance and security are becoming more prominent.  Joined together, Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace.

Rose Quartz is a persuasive yet gentle tone that conveys compassion and a sense of composure.

Serenity is weightless and airy, like the expanse of the blue sky above us, bringing feelings of respite and relaxation even in turbulent times.

The prevalent combination of Rose Quartz and Serenity also challenges traditional perceptions of color association.

In many parts of the world we are experiencing a gender blur as it relates to fashion, which has in turn impacted color trends throughout all other areas of design. This more unilateral approach to color is coinciding with societal movements toward gender equality and fluidity, the consumer’s increased comfort with using color as a form of expression, a generation that has less concern about being typecast or judged and an open exchange of digital information that has opened our eyes to different approaches to color usage.

“Joined together Rose Quartz & Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer rose tone & the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order & peace.” Leatrice Eiseman Executive Director, Pantone Color Institute