Out with the Old, in with the New: Will 2016 Be Memorable for Marketing?

There it goes. See you later, 2015. You will be memorable for… 10 minutes later.

What exactly did 2015 bring to the table? I wanted to write something witty that summarized all the happenings. I was even going to bring up that damn dress and the great Arizona llama chase, but there’s nothing that comes to mind of real note. Zero. Zilch. Zip.

Okay, that’s a bit harsh, but perhaps all the hype, buzzwords and promises just blurred into one vague unmemorable blob of a year. As while 2015 was a huge year for marketing and PR, one in which social matured and moved to the so perfectly named “trough of disillusionment,” mobile became table stakes, the walls between “digital” and “traditional” finally came tumbling down and content was crowned king, perhaps it all just got lost like a panda among snowmen.

Wish List

So what will make 2016 different? Blatantly borrowing from the Christmas cranks at the CMO Journal – who put together a great list for anyone in the media, marketing and advertising world - here’s my wish list for 2016:

  • We Drop the Gobbledygook: When working in marketing and tech, it’s hard not to put this at the top of the list. But it really doesn’t have to be this way. We don’t need to invent new words. We don’t need to sprinkle in adjectives like chocolate flakes on ice cream and we certainly don’t need to use words that our audiences do not understand. Instead, all we need to do is speak in plain English. Use short and understandable sentences. And imagine we are speaking to our friends. Simple? Yes. Likely to happen? Not any time soon.
  • We Don’t Lose the Art: Automation and data are great. They drive efficiencies, enable scale, give us insights that were once beyond our wildest dreams and are the shiny toys that everyone will be talking about over the next 12 months. But – and it’s a big BUT – we should heed the words of Ben Parker so that we don’t lose the very essence of what makes marketing and PR great: The Art.
  • We Avoid the Creep: Not that person who looks at you strangely, but the scope creep that is happening as the role of marketing expands. I know that sounds like I am in favor of every marketing discipline staying in neatly defined boxes, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Instead, the point here is that to have the focus needed to show what we can really do, we need to ensure there is always a clear plan and goals in place.
  • We Realize Attention is Limited: By limited, I mean really, really limited. The humble goldfish even has us beaten. And it’s probably not going to get any better with more content, more devices and more channels competing for our attention. So whatever we do, whenever we do it, we need to try and make it attention grabbing. That means more visuals, less words and that I should probably stop writing now.
  • And Finally…this one goes out to the tech industry…We Change the Record: It’s time. It’s been time for a while now. Digital technologies, in all their shapes and flavors, are amazing; they have transformed the way we live and work and there’s much more to come. But another year of talking about the promise: about how cloud, mobile, social, big data, Internet of Things, etc. are going to be big and how they are going to change things? Let’s hope the predictions are right and this is the year they go mainstream and then perhaps we can even start dropping some of these terms. After all, we didn’t need to say client-server software, so why always cloud? Didn’t it jump the shark back in 2010?

There we have it. If everything comes through we will be jargon free, creative, focused, attention grabbing and able to show how our work delivers measurable outcomes. Plus we will never have to put the words cloud computing, big data and Internet of Things all into one sentence ever again. Sounds good, right?

Simon Jones