We had the chance to sit down and chat about 2016 marketing trends with the always insightful and savvy Julie Herbster, Quattro’s Vice President of Digital Strategy.

Herbster’s 2016 marketing predictions go beyond digital efforts and expand into the different ways we as marketers can appeal to people on a more personalized basis across channels. Explore our one-on-one conversation to remain ahead of the curve come 2016.

Q – How do you think the multi-channel approach to marketing is going to evolve in 2016?

A – There’s going to be more pressure on VPs and executives to be able to report on the performance of combined initiatives. Cross-channel attribution is going to be one of the largest moving trends throughout the year.

Q ­ What types of tools do you think will help track those types of efforts?

A – Marketing automation tools are where I see a lot of that multi-channel attribution data coming into play for the average marketer. Marketing automation systems are going to continue to evolve, and even more, lower price options will enter the market. Lower price, front-end tools are picking up a lot of steam and market share and I see that continuing for quite some time.

Q – What are some of the biggest developments happening in the world of Google come 2016?

A – Google will heavily invest in Google Shopping in 2016 in an effort to go head-to-head with Amazon. Marketers are going to have to jump on board fast to have first mover advantage. Google’s biggest challenge in bringing Google Shopping mainstream isn’t consumer demand, but trust. Google will have to continue to pressure advertisers to gain customer ratings in order for Google Shopping to take off transactionally. They need to advocate for their consumer and deliver that necessary trust, particularly without an “Amazon-like” centralized distribution network in place.

Q – Speaking of Google, what are some search trends you think might bubble up throughout the coming year?  

A – More and more, we’re going to see longer tail keywords perform as consumers use voice navigators (Siri) to drive search. People are simply using more words, and specific questions, in vocal search than they would ever actually type into a search bar. Marketers need to be aware of that and act on it now in exploratory campaigns and SEO optimized content. This isn’t technology that needs to be adopted – it’s in the average consumer’s hands now and already affecting campaign performance.

Q – What 2015 trends do you see changing the most in 2016?

A – The “video first” movement is going to stay strong through 2016, but I think an emphasis on interactivity is necessary to win in the long run. Video is engaging right now, but it’s still a one-sided medium. Do-it-yourself tools and resources have always been (and will always be) heavily searched and at some point, consumers will want to watch less and interact more.

Q – It’s no surprise that the consumer has more control than ever over ad consumption. What types of trends do you see picking up in 2016?

A – This is where ad spend doesn’t quite match up with consumer demand. It’s interesting because many 2016 trends will talk about paid social budgets increasing, particularly as social platforms become more targetable. But consumers are eventually going to backlash unless content becomes more interesting and relevant. Marketers need to understand how to speak to the consumer on a one-to-one basis with content that’s immediately engaging, rather than sales messages, to avoid that type of backlash.

Q – Do you think organic content on social needs to start taking more of a priority over paid?

A – Yes. Organic content on social is imperative – and a great way advertisers can take advantage of this is through the power of influencers. Rather than thinking of ad spend and media buying, we need to look at it from a consumer-first point of view and create relationships and stories that matter. More storytelling and real-life experiences need to be shown in marketing efforts, leveraging the power of influencers in decision making.

Q – How can marketers make those types of experiences reach their audiences?

A – Strategic brand partnerships and philanthropy. It’s putting out a message for a united mindset and I think if we can use that for good, it could be so powerful – not only elevating marketing efforts by helping address the needs behind the products we produce, but elevating humanity by addressing those most in need. This also presents an opportunity, from a creative standpoint, to get outside of the box of “creative advertising” and into a mindset of creative thinking.

Want to learn more about Julie Herbster and her role at Quattro? Head here.

Direct any questions you might have about her 2016 outlooks to @QuattroPhilly on Twitter!