Top Business Trends for 2016

Written by Sarah on 13th January 2016

Now that the first week back at work is over for most of us, and the festive holidays but a distant memory, it’s time to get back in the swing of things ready for another year.

Apart from terrifying us all at the fact that Snakes on a Plane is now 10 years old(!), the internet spent the festive period out their annual ‘Things that to watch in 2016’, especially when it comes to business trends (389 million results!).

Of course, you’ve only just finishing getting through all the emails, let alone had the chance to review everyone’s predictions for the year, so we’ve done the hard work for you and figured out the top 5 trends for 2016 that everyone’s talking about (the trends that are trending, if you like).

Year of Mobile

As many a marketer will tell you, it’s been the year of mobile for the last 3 years. You could even argue that 2015 was THE year of mobile, when mobile searches across the world officially surpassed desktop.

Nevertheless, mobile will continue to grow in 2016, and will continue to impact the way you run your business. For retail and ecommerce, it’s being predicted that mobile will move down the funnel away from it’s current influencer role in the shopping process.

eMarketer suggested that we can also expect to see more mobile payments with a push of Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay.

Marketing Automation

Automation, not just for marketing, is a hugely growing industry, as Ben Parr writes, ‘No industry is safe from automation’, with machines being created for every purpose.

Marketing is not one to escape, in fact, it’s a $5.5 billion industry. It’s all about making marketers jobs easier, whether scheduling emails and social media posts or helping to manage content.

Don’t feel like you have to sign up for ALL the automation platforms though. Only use the platforms you feel comfortable with.

Big Data / Data Driven Decisions

Big Data is again nothing new, but 2016 is the year that it’s expected to become more accessible and no longer just a tool for big business and enterprise.

From custom audiences to a/b testing, we’ve got the tools to gather more data (including!) and help us make better decisions.

Don’t think that all this data is purely for marketing either, this data can affect how you run your business as a whole from the products and services you offer to your internal processes.

One of the best examples we’ve seen of a data driven business is Netflix. Netflix uses the data they have available from users watching programmes to create new series that they know users will love, such as House of Cards and Orange is the New Black.

Of course, having more data does mean knowing what to do with it, and so you should be wary of any skills gaps that might grow and make sure you properly understand the data you’ve gathered.

Content Marketing

Content has long been hailed king, but after what seemed like a huge influx of content in 2015, it’s certainly continuing its reign.

Content can cover a wide range of different formats, from the obvious blogs, videos, podcasts, and whitepapers, to the actual copy on your website for product descriptions, about us and more. Use it to improve your SEO, counteract the increase in use of ad blockers through native advertising or use it to increase brand awareness; content marketing has many functions.

However you should still be wary, content for the sake of content may only have a negative impact on your marketing strategy. Mark Schaefer back in 2014 wrote about Content Shock, which we’ve already seen the impact of, where there is just too much content out there for users to consume.

Even further back in 2013, Doug Kessler sounded the warning bells about ‘Crap Content’, content for the sake of content that winds up just being really poor quality.

Before you rush into creating 1,001 blog posts, plan your strategy and really work out whether the content you want to create is necessary.

Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality

Yeah, you read that right, Virtual/Augmented Reality is expected to be a top trend for 2016. And just six days into the year, Oculus, one of, if not the, biggest names in Virtual Reality, opened pre-orders for their Rift headset, priced at just $599.

While we wouldn’t hedge our bets that VR is about to hit the mainstream just yet, it’s certainly about to get bigger this year.

We’d agree with Daniel Newman that it’s biggest impact this year will undoubtedly be on the gaming industry, but maybe in years to come we’ll be trying on new clothes in the comfort of our homes with augmented or virtual reality, or start seeing real-world adverts hidden throughout the game world.


Jeff BullasSearch Engine Journal, eMarketerHubspot,  Inc,  Inc,  Business2Community,  Brandanew, Smart InsightsBusiness News DailyForbes