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Do Digital Marketing Predictions Matter?

Business partners and SEO doodle on blackboardAs 2016 closes in, digital marketers are beginning to examine the writing on the wall with closer scrutiny to discern what new trends will dominate next year, but are their clairvoyant efforts made for nothing?

Forbes’s Jayson DeMers predicts seven trends will create landmark shifts in the field: video content will overtake written content; mobile optimization will become more important than desktop optimization; digital assistants (like Siri and Google Now) will change the way we phrase search queries; aggregate content (like Twitter’s “Moments”) will diminish the power of news and event coverage; Google will index more social content; deep links (links that point toward a specific page or section of a specific app) in apps will carry more weight; and local search will become even more specific.

This is not the first time online marketers have scrambled to predict the future, nor will it be the last. Online marketing is highly valuable. Research shows, for example, that search engine optimization (SEO) leads cost 61% less than outbound leads, a cost-efficiency that creates a high demand for online marketing. However, Google changes its search algorithm 500 to 600 times each year, which constantly shifts the field’s topography. By discerning what trends will emerge, marketers can get ahead of the fiercely competition — or so they hope.

However, speeding ahead of the competition may give marketers an edge, but only if they know what they’re doing. If they don’t, they may find themselves in unfamiliar territory with no real plan of action. For example, SEO companies might race to adapt to the ways digital assistants change search queries, but discover little value in doing so after all is said and done. This may be because the prediction was inaccurate, but it’s more likely that the SEO companies did so without really thinking about what they were doing first. They just wanted to get ahead, and rushed to do so.

Instead of counting on buzzwords for your 2016 digital marketing strategies, why not create tactics based on data analysis from your most valuable resource: your customers,” writes Al Gomez for Business2Community.

In other words, rather than trying to figure out where this behemoth of an industry is going, it’s smarter to try to figure out where an audience is going. For example, if a marketing company largely targets Baby Boomers, who are notoriously late adopters of new technologies, then why worry about how digital assistants will change search queries?