iStock_000021019687_LargeWhat are the top ways to stay on marketing’s cutting edge in the coming year? We look into our crystal ball to see which way the industry is leaning.

The block button will work in your favour
Ad blockers aren’t going anywhere – customers want to enjoy their browsing experience uninterrupted, so wherever you stand on ad blockers, think about the best ways to get your brand noticed.

Putting customer experience front and centre continues to grow in importance, and the tools you need to engage with, and push the best content to customers, are getting more powerful.

Data will be your new BFF
No more shying away from Big Data because of a lack of resource or know-how. The tools to turn numbers into smart marketing decisions will be at your fingertips.

You can please everyone: the business will be able to see exactly where they’re getting the most bang for their buck, and customers will continue to enjoy your creativity and innovation. Improving the customer experience and engagement will be at the very heart of everything you do.

Mobile will keep on moving
Optimising customer journeys for mobile will be seen as a no-brainer rather than an afterthought. In the US, mobile traffic is already outstripping desktop usage. So the question is: is your marketing and content strategy literally in hand?

The power of data will help you reach smartphone users, so sit down with your UX, design and content people and talk about how you can join your ideas with their delivery skills. Just think: no more delivering products and services that customers find disjointed and disruptive (in a bad way). You’ll be able to meet them exactly where they are and strengthen your brand’s relationships with them.

Video will be the hot new thing on the block
Social media has made video a must-have tool in every marketer’s arsenal, and video now takes pride of place in Google results.

Channels such as YouTube, Snapchat and Vine serve up the content people really want to find, and give them even more to discover. GIFs are becoming an editorial staple (much more fun for conveying points than static imagery – hello, BuzzFeed).

Where it becomes next-level is in the form of streaming; Periscope and Blab will help move video to the top of the marketing tree. They, like YouTube and Vine in particular, will also put customers in the spotlight and even make stars out of them.

Content will continue to reign supreme
Whether it’s video or editorial, content will not be knocked off the throne. When you’ve created a streamlined experience for your customers, you make room for great content and for the brightest, best influencers. And – here’s where it comes back to data – you’ll know the best channels for your storytelling.

The digital world will be seen as the real world…
The dream for digital and offline marketers is that there’ll no longer be a distinction. Social media is a legitimate channel in and of itself, and millions of people are holding smartphones as you read this (probably on a mobile device), so why treat social and mobile as outposts?

We’re not quite in a fully digital world yet, so the ‘post-digital’ rumblings we’ve heard are a little premature. But as soon as Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest added ‘Buy’ buttons, you knew that a post-digital world was on the horizon.

To make that happen, you need to take an integrated approach. If Marketing and Digital departments remain separate, customers will continue to experience that when their bricks-and-mortar experience doesn’t match their online one. You need to join forces – the battle for customers’ loyalty is becoming more complex than ever. And that’s one prediction for 2016 and beyond that will remain true.