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Marketing and IT are rarely thought of as companions, but they actually have a tighter relationship than you might have assumed. In fact, a TEKsystems study reported that 27 percent of IT dollars in 2016 will be spent on marketing.
Curious to know where you should be investing your IT marketing in dollars in 2016? The following trends will give you an idea what’s hot this year.
1. IT Integration
Electronics Weekly published a very interesting piece on the state of the global IT economy, highlighted by a collection of insights by Gartner. Though worldwide spending reportedly declined by a staggering $216 billion in 2015, enterprise software managed to post strong numbers. Gartner reported that firms are on pace to increase spending on software and IT services with respective projections of 5.3 and 3.1 percent more than their 2015 investments.
The spending forecast suggests that IT integrations will be a primary focus of the enterprise this year. As for what type of integrations to watch for, I would say look no further than the cloud. Gartner also projected that businesses will spend nearly $2oo billion on enterprise software by 2019, much of it fueled by SaaS-based sales. With everything from office apps to big data platforms available, organizations can make strategic investments in cloud integrations that provide all the resources and functionality their business demands.
2. IT Consolidation
IT experts have become very familiar with the practice of using technologies such as virtualization to consolidate the data center. Moving forward, we’ll likely see organizations applying a similar concept to their technology investments in general. The IDC Futurescape report projected that 20 percent of enterprises will consolidate the heart of their IT infrastructures by 2017. The idea is to host as many of your IT systems with a single vendor as possible. In theory, this strategy would result in a unified platform that’s easier to manage, update, and afford.
While the IDC report focused on larger companies, the benefits of consolidation show no favoritism. Consolidating email marketing, collaboration, data management, and other core systems all under one roof can benefit organizations of any size, especially resource-strapped SMBs.
3. Mobile Communications
Take a look around you. People are firmly plugged into the mobile experience. Steadily using their devices to connect to web services instead of their immobile desktops. The mobile space is chock full of sub-trends, many of which are primed for IT budgets. For instance, Forrester projects that mobile payments will be $142 billion worth of business by 2019. In another example, mobile video is expected to explode to $13 billion in revenue by 2020.
The increasing demand for mobile services is a major opportunity for IT service providers. MSPs can provide the foundation SMBs needs to deploy, integrate, and manage mobile technologies in the most efficient way possible. Whether it’s video ads or marketing automation, providers should be ready to support the latest and hottest technologies in the mobile space.
4. Customer Retention
“Happy with the sale you should be. But done your job is not.” I’m no Jedi Marketer, but I do channel my inner Yoda every now and then. It looks like a few talking marketing heads agree. IDC found that 70 percent of service providers will up their spending in post-sale marketing in 2016. This surging area encompasses recommendation systems, gamification applications, and other technologies that focus on keeping customers around after they make a purchase.
I operate in a field that calls for me to talk to customers on a daily basis. It’s also an insanely competitive field, so I’m forever playing the nice guy role in order to nurture those customers and do what I can to keep them loyal to me. Know your audience, start closely eying your data, and consider making investments in emerging technologies that can help you identify the customers who are most likely to ride for you the hardest.
5. Virtual Reality
We’ve been hearing about virtual reality for a while now and even talked about here in the Recovery Zone. Well, 2016 is being pegged as the year it finally breaks out. Heavy-hitters like HTC and Sony are joining industry forerunner Oculus Rift in delivering VR toys for the masses to play with. As for the devices, they’re becoming cheaper and thus more easily accessible for the every day consumer. This tech is worthy of salivating for geeks in general, but especially if you’re thinking with your business head.
Perhaps more than anything, virtual reality offers a way for companies to take aspects like personalization and storytelling to a new level. We’re talking out of this world user engagement! Of course there are plenty of kinks to work out of this thing. Still, it’s always good to get in on the ground level of a technology that you just know is going to be huge.
6. Wearable Tech
Some might say that wearable tech has been slow to take off. Technically it has, but that doesn’t make it any less promising. IDTechEx predicts that the wearable technology market will increase from $20 billion in 2015 to a robust $70 billion in 2025. From Adidas and Apple to Nike and Reebok, this sector has a who’s who of technology giants busy in the development of solutions that could finally kick the wearable tech trend into gear.
If this forecast is going to get on the road to reality, 2016 will likely be the year it starts making serious strides. How one company takes advantage is obviously going to depend on a range of individual factors. But the biggest opportunity wearable tech offers any company in terms of IT marketing potential lies in a rich pool of data. Smart watches, smart glasses, and other devices can naturally contribute to the goldmine of information organizations use to tailor their marketing campaigns based on location, preferences, and purchase habits.
The aforementioned IT marketing trends look plenty promising, but their value can’t be based on potential alone. In every case, success is a matter of one company putting in the effort to make the most of the technology in their grasp. Your team must be on the ball when it comes to understanding how a trend impacts your industry, clients, people, and processes. That my friends, is how you make a trend an opportunity worth seizing!