The Year in Marketing: 2015’s Top Stories, 2016’s Likely Trends

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As we turn the page on a new year (and a new quarter, more critically), it’s only natural we look back at what past months have brought and reflect on what we’ve learned, what we’ve overlooked, and what we’ll take with us into 2016. For us here at Act-On, 2015 proved eventful on a variety of fronts, and we’re eager to pay forward the wisdom we’ve gained, which is why we’ve rounded up some of our favorite (and timelier) features from the past year – yours to revisit, and yours to utilize in the months ahead!

SEO Basics: A Checklist for Content Marketers

Kaila Strong – January 23rd, 2015

There are few practices more productive or cost-effective for the modern business than content marketing, and if you’re planning to give this approach a try in the year ahead, you’ll want to keep close these essentials from Kaila Strong – insights from search marketing experts on how to amplify your efforts with SEO, along with bolded action items. Follow these simple steps, Strong writes, and “you’ll have content that is ready to be indexed and delivered to searches…for many years to come.”

How Multi-Location Call Tracking Boosts Your Marketing ROI

Katherine Buchholz – February 2nd, 2015

Mobile search is fast on the rise – it’s now how 70% of buyers go about contacting businesses – but it’s often overlooked as a channel for engagement and conversion. In this piece, Katherine Buchholz pleads its case, offering up facts and figures on mobile engagement and consumption, addressing common misconceptions around search and call tracking, and providing best practices for call tracking in local searches.

The Future of CRM is Customer Engagement

Paige Musto – March 9th, 2015

There’s been much ado in recent decades over “customer centrism” – the notion that a customer comes first in all aspects of a business (service, sales, support) – but few companies have done anything to put the principle into practice. “It’s a good term,” says Paul Greenberg, noted CRM expert, “It means something. But it’s become bland. Every company claims it, and very few actually do it.” Speaking here with Paige Musto, Greenberg explains why “customer engagement” promises us a bold way forward, how marketing automation will figure in, and what’s ahead for customer relationship management at large.

Why Blogging is More Important Than Ever

Patrick Armitage – April 14th, 2015

You’ve taken the leap, you’ve drawn up a plan, you’re ready at last to give this content marketing thing a go. But just as you’re on your way, you find your foothold slipping, in a landscape crowded with content; what can you do to get heard, get found, and get known? According to Patrick Armitage, you blog, or, more accurately, you utilize “the last platform that allows you to create content and attract readers without the intrusion of third-party algorithms or apps.” Here, Armitage addresses the decline of organic reach, the limitations to ads, and the value to marketing automation in streamlining your blogging efforts.

How B2C & B2B Email Deliverability Differ

Shine Lyui – May 13th, 2015

“The boundaries between B2C and B2B email delivery often overlap,” Shine Lyui notes at the very outset of this piece. A person might offer up a personal email address to secure a whitepaper, hoping to conceal professional affiliations; someone else might supply their personal email address to make a private purchase at work. But though they may blur and intersect, these boundaries are more complicated than you’d expect. Here, Lyui explores the similarities and differences between the B2C and B2B outboxes, and offers step-by-step instructions for driving up deliverability and ensuring a targeted email experience.

Identity Theft, Data Management, and You

David Fowler – June 10th, 2015

You never want to think your data’s at risk, that you could fall victim to a breach or identity theft or any other such commonplace threat looming large on today’s horizon; you figure that’s the sort of thing that only happens to other people. But sadly, in today’s increasingly connected world, we’re all at risk of suffering cyber-intrusions – unless, of course, we’ve the right safeguards and protections in place. Here, David Fowler outlines leading best practices for securing data against breaches, with itemized takeaways for home and work.

Digital Debris: Why Data Needs an Expiration Date

Lisa Cannon – July 29th, 2015

“Why do security breaches matter so much?” It’s a question the modern consumer needn’t ask, given how common data theft has become, but it’s a question marketers might take more seriously, for the far-reaching implications. In this piece, Cannon argues for putting an expiration date on stored data, to ensure customer privacy and safeguard brand reputation, with tips, tricks, and best practices for data retention and management.

Digital Marketing: the 7 Essential Channels

Jamie Turner – August 24th, 2015

“Digital marketing is one of the biggest things to happen in the last 100 years.” A self-evident truth to some, sure, but one that bears repeating nevertheless, for just how many outlets and practices even the most seasoned digital marketing veterans overlook. In this overview, Jamie Turner identifies in brief the seven main channels digital marketers should prioritize, along with facts and figures for every new avenue and ways to get started.

Marketing Jobs: the Outlook is Bright!

Chris Raeside – September 7th, 2015

Marketing’s a discipline that has long had a talent for reinvention and revision – adapting with the times, expanding to include new technologies and specialties. The Mad Men-era skills of messaging, content creation, design, and writing today are forced to mingle with technical knowledge and expertise in data science, begging the question: What will the modern marketing candidate look like, today and tomorrow? How will teams be built, now and in the future? Chris Raeside answers these questions and more in his state-of-the-state on the marketing industry.

Do You Market to Countries in the EU? This May Affect You

David Fowler – October 9th, 2015

On October 5th, 2015, a European high court struck down a longstanding agreement with the US (called the Safe Harbor framework) that set forth regulations for storing, managing, and safeguarding data in the EU. The decision’s impact was immediate and far-reaching – more than 4,000 companies had relied on Safe Harbor protections previously – and while bigger businesses weathered the short-term crisis with ease, smaller businesses faced a rockier climb. In this piece, David Fowler examines the legislative change closely, and suggests ways forward for the small business.

Dear CMO Part II: Place the Voice-of-the-Customer At the Center of All You Do

Matt Hirschland – November 23rd, 2015

The second of a two-part series on CMOs and the KPIs they ought to track, this piece by Matt Hirschland pleads the case for customer centrism, identifying opportunities for collaboration across the organization (advisory panels, owned communities, content co-creation) and outlining best practices for aligning leadership, technology, and management.

Focus on the customer, Hirschland assures, and you’re sure to secure “critical and important ground” in 2015 – more effective content, smarter and more relevant marketing, and better access to resources.

Producing & Hosting a Webinar in 10 Simple Steps

Rachel Rosin – December 18th, 2015

It’s well established that webinars and virtual events are crucial from the demand gen standpoint; just recently, in a study by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, two-thirds of B2B marketers credited online events as their main driver of leads. But where should a business start in getting their own program for webinars off the ground? Here, Rachel Rosin offers 10 key pointers, writing, “Webinars aren’t overly complicated to produce, but having an organized, well-thought out production plan is absolutely essential to creating a flawless event.”

Your turn:

A lot can happen in a year’s time, and we know it can be challenging to keep abreast of every new trend and industry development. That’s why we at the Marketing Action blog work to deliver you the timeliest, most relevant news possible – stories, how-tos, best practices, and work life issues for marketers of every stripe. If you liked what you read here today, subscribe to us! If you felt we missed something, let us know in the comments! We’re here to serve and excited to make 2016 your most eventful year yet.

Ready to be a trendsetter in 2016? Take a video tour of Act-On to see how marketing automation can help you be on the cutting edge of digital marketing techniques by engaging your audience across the entire buyer’s journey with automated email drips, simple social publishing, powerful reporting, and so much more!