If you think of digital marketing as just Very Modern Marketing, then 2016 can be thought of as the year where postmodernism begins.

In many ways, the concepts that are being bandied about and heralded as groundbreaking simply seem to be the internet’s answer to old school marketing techniques, dipped in digital and with a fresh layer of jargon dolloped generously on top.

So we’ve prepared a jargon-buster guide for all the concepts you’ll be hearing more of in the next calendar year. Some have a ‘the-future-today’ vibe about them and others are just about rebranding the old with the new.

1. Mobile marketing

What it really means: being where your customers are.

And they’re on mobile. But they’re also everywhere else.

With 1.685 billion active social mobile accounts reported in January 2015 and more than 3.5 billion unique mobile users (over the 50% global penetration point), it’s only going to become more important to look good from all angles.

This means further integration across different platforms – online and offline – is going to be a key factor.

Capturing users’ attention in these micro-moments will be a key battleground for brands. - Highlight to share -

So if your brand exists offline, whether that’s a product or a store, make sure that the online experience is seamlessly integrated. According to Think With Google stats, 82% of smartphone users turn to their devices in stores to help them make a product decision. It’s in your interest to make that easy for them.

And it’s relevant for all industries; even ones you might not associate with mobile purchases. In the auto category, for example, Think With Google reported that searches on mobile are growing 51% year on year.

It’s also the year to hone connected IDs so that users can travel between devices without losing their online journey. They can then see the product in the shop, check it on their mobile and then make the purchase on their iPad at home. It will then also be easier to bring about better…

2. Micro-moments marketing

What it really means: capitalising on those ‘I-Want-To’ moments.

Sometimes it’s not about the final purchase, but it’s about getting potential customers to watch a video, read some content, mention you in a Tweet, or log on to find out about your brand.

If it’s an ‘I-Want-To-Know’ moment, the immediacy of a mobile phone allows for someone to ascertain quickly whether that consumerist flight of fancy is just that – or whether their heart’s desire is obtainable for less and with greater ease than they anticipated.

In store, online, on telly, wherever – your message has to match. - Highlight to share -

Capturing users’ attention in these micro-moments will be a key battleground for brands.

These micro-moments rely on a frictionless transition too… from capturing attention to conversion.

3. Digital marketing

What it really means: integrating your marketing.

In store, online, on telly, wherever – your message has to match.

All forms of marketing should be integrated and no longer considered separable. You should always be thinking how each can best benefit and sync with the other.

There’s no hard and fast rule here – it’s about how customers see your brand. A TV ad campaigns could use hashtags for engagement for instance. Or mobile apps… You know that when the LadBible has a mobile app, everyone’s getting one.

Shopper marketing guru Simon Hathaway recently said that the new definition of brand loyalty is having a brand’s app on your phone’s home screen. Even if you aren’t quite ready for an app – there are plenty of ways to encourage engagement across multiple touchpoints. Let’s keep exploring…

4. Native-video marketing

What it really means: providing content to help your customers, not your boss.

If you’re trying to get prospects down a ‘funnel’ with blatant advertising that doesn’t offer any real value, you’ll be found out. It should be part of every company’s effort to tell their brand story and help build a relationship with their audience. And you do that by offering content that helps them understand why they need your product or service and how they could better use it. 2016 will be the year that philosophy stretches to video.

The best way to know what is interesting and informative for the consumer is to engage them in a two-way conversation, which leads nicely into…

5. Relationship marketing

What it really means: caring about your customers.

It starts with asking them what they think, and how they feel about you and your brand. It’s important to show that you’re listening (it’s as simple as replying to their feedback). Empower your advocates by giving them the megaphone and letting them speak on behalf of your brand.

You should aim to build stronger loyalty and long-term customer engagement – and this will happen if you avoid poorly targeted, indiscriminate campaigns in favour of targeted and well-informed strategies. Just ask your customers what they want and think.

6. Programmatic marketing

What it really means: staying relevant

Programmatic means automatic. Programmatic buying might ‘have the potential to change advertising forever’, but really it’s just about showing people stuff that’s relevant to them. Novel, right? As automation will become more mainstream, it is vital that the person or team optimising your campaign deeply understands your target market – this eConsultancy article is a good beginner’s guide.

7. Virtual-reality marketing

What it really means: staging immersive experiences.

Almost as if 13-year-olds have infiltrated the e-commerce world and dictated the formatting for the coming year. It allows the user to be given a far more in-depth feel of what a company has to offer by nearly living the experience.

Of course, we don’t expect to see retail stores turned into brick-and-mortar Oculus Rifts; but the shift towards immersive experiences suggests that people want something that feels a little special when they shop. At the very least, something that feels just for them. You can achieve this even in small ways, like segmenting the content you present on your online store. If a newly married couple is going on a holiday – only show them reviews from other newly married couples. It’s your own little slice of virtual reality.

Or, look at how Thomas Cook offered virtual reality experiences in store.

8. Ephemeral marketing

What it really means: being timely

It’s important for your brand to be in the right place, to have the right content, but also to be there at the right time, every time – it’s a conversation.

A key example of this style of marketing is Snapchat – it’s the perfect example of how a real-time and often user-lead marketing experience helps further blur the lines between the social and the commercial spheres.

So, there’s no longer any need to worry about decoding any market jargon people might throw at you. Keep it simple: right time, right person, right place with the right content.

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The postmodernist's guide to marketing