Make 2016 Rock With These 9 Marketing Lessons From the Pros

To celebrate the start of the New Year we’ve asked several of our favorite marketing and business pros to share with us their most important marketing advice from 2015, and how they play to apply it in the coming year.

Here’s what they had to say:

1. Facebook Live Streaming – a Real Game Changer

Mari Smith Social Media Thought Leader and author

Facebook’s Live streaming video feature, which launched for public figures with verified pages in August 2015, has been a game changer for me! I love the ability to broadcast live from my various events across the country, and to have my online audience enjoy behind-the-scenes experiences. I also love to share my take on breaking news for Facebook and Instagram marketing through the Live feature. I will be getting camera-ready a lot more often in 2016, ha!

Facebook Live is now rolling out to personal profiles as well as more pages. Facebook has increased the speed at which the company is rolling out many exciting new features for mobile and especially for video. In fact, look out for a dedicated video news feed on mobile coming in 2016. Facebook wants to be the ‘live television in your pocket’ and is certainly making great strides in that direction. It’s all about the movement in the news feed, catching the attention of your target audience and drawing them in for more. I’m sure we’ll see a significant spike in video ads, too.

In 2016, I’ll be partnering with lots of app and tool companies and major brands to help increase the reach and consumption of excellent products. We are focusing on creating micro video content – delivering short, powerful Facebook and social media marketing tips in bite-size videos. I’m working with to shoot a series of #MariMinute video tips that we’ll distribute and repurpose across all social networks. Another company I’m partnering with is Adobe in the release of their exciting new mobile design app, Post. It’s a wonderful alternative to Canva that is mobile only, for now… and it syncs well with so many other Adobe products.

2. Great content is all around you

Andy Crestodina

Andy Crestodina- Co-Founder / Strategic Director of Orbit Media Studios

2015 was a big year with a lot of lessons learned. The biggest marketing lesson was something I used to know, but had forgotten. It’s about creating content.

I’ve often told people that the best article ideas are all around you, waiting to be published. But the next due date on my publishing calendar always prompted me to look outside for ideas, to other blogs, podcasts and books. Then I realized something…

Although I’m mostly in a marketing role, there are 35 people around me building websites. Web design is what we do! And we’re very good at it, partly because of our project management tools. Some of these tools are checklists. We have huge, comprehensive checklists that cover everything related to web development.

So I walked up to a project manager and asked her if she could send me the checklist we use before launching websites. By the time I got back to my desk, it was in my inbox waiting for me. A beautiful piece of content to behold!

By lunchtime, I’d expanded it into a full post with images and advice. By the end of the week, the Website Launch Checklist: 55 Things to Do Before (and After) You Launch had gone live. By the end of the month, I had people everywhere thanking us for publishing such a useful resource. It was one of our best posts of the year.

Website Launch Checklist: 55 Things to Do Before (and After) You Launch

So in 2016, I’ll be taking my own advice: great content is all around you, waiting to be published – use it! You just have to look differently at your internal documents, your sent mail folder, your meeting notes and phones calls. Capture, polish and publish!

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3. Make your content accessible

Sarah Snow

Sarah Snow- Community Manager at Glide

The most important lesson I learned in 2015 is that marketers need to be more inclusive with their campaign content. At Glide, we accidentally discovered that many of our video messaging app’s most engaged users are deaf or hard of hearing. Since English isn’t their first language, they use Glide to communicate visually. After getting feedback from these users that they couldn’t understand my videos, I started adding closed captions to the videos I publish on Facebook and YouTube. This way, all of the 7 million deaf or hard of hearing in the U.S. can understand it.

Many marketers don’t think about this sizeable community. In fact, only 25% of the content on YouTube is closed captioned. But, there are very simple steps they can take, like adding closed captions to videos, in order to make the content they’re producing accessible to everyone. Glide will be doing a lot more in 2016 to engage this community further and we encourage other marketers to keep them in mind and make their content accessible to this audience.

4. Build trust through communication

Noelle Schuck

Noelle Schuck- Managing Editor at Vertical Measures

The most important lesson I learned about digital marketing in 2015 has more to do with the agency-client relationship than with techniques, tools and strategies of digital content marketing. The agency-client relationship is built on trust, and the key to building trust is through communication.

Now, this is nothing new – we all know that communication is the most important factor in any relationship – but for me it became even clearer when I joined the Vertical Measures team and learned how we interact and maintain transparency with our clients.

We’ve stepped up our content coaching efforts to teach clients how to produce content, so we can have even more collaborative relationships with them. While we do the heavy lifting behind the scenes with optimization, strategy and architecture, our clients are out front interacting with their audiences and doing what they do best.  

5. Engage your audience through live streaming

Joel Comm

Joel Comm– Entrepreneur and New York Times Best-Selling Author 

I’ve been live streaming content online since 2008. But with the release of mobile apps such as Periscope and Facebook Mentions, as well as desktop video-conferencing sites like, I discovered that live video is the best way to instantly engage an audience. I’ve already ratcheted up my live streaming efforts with regular shows on Blab at and a regular Periscope show called  The Top 5 Scope. I plan on continuing my live streaming efforts and repurposing the content I create in 2016.

6. Adapt your marketing style to fit your audience

Ilya Spitalnik

Ilya Spitalnik- CEO & Co-Founder of PowToon 

2015 was an exciting year for PowToon. It’s our 4th year of operation and the company is evolving.

When we launched PowToon, the early adopters of our product were marketers and educators, so we tailored our product and focused our marketing to address this target group.

As time progressed, the power of PowToon’s short animated video clips was discovered by Fortune 500 companies for the purpose of internal communications. People are looking for better and more attention grabbing ways to communicate with colleagues and bosses, so throughout the year we’ve seen mass adoption of our product by this market.

As a result, we’re adapting our marketing style from targeting the early adopters to marketing to the early majority and second wave adopters. What characterizes this new audience is the type of message, brand, and look and feel which speaks to them. It’s a more corporate focused, mature marketing tactic and is delivered in a more subtle way from within the product by way of user experience and product usability.

As a result, throughout 2016 we will be focusing most of our marketing efforts on product experience and meeting our crowds’ needs with the functionalities and features our product provides. Our aim is to turn clients into ambassadors who help to push our marketing efforts forward.

7. Engagement is key

Blanca Valbuena

Blanca Valbuena – Co-Founder & Business Developer at Socialdraft 

The most important lesson about Social Marketing is to engage. It is a social medium and I still see so many businesses and brands just pushing out constant content and missing out on the real opportunities of social. Engagement is key. This will affect the climate because social networks will begin to penalize those who don’t engage. On top of this, those who are just pushing content and not engaging will see their reach drop further. This will lead to smart companies putting an emphasis on engagement and measurement of ROI. Those two will be the focus of 2016.

On our side, we’ll keep adjusting our tool with things like SmartID to help Social Media marketers to streamline the engagement process to make it less time-consuming and more efficient.

8. Identify your ideal client

Shelley Webb

Shelley Webb- Social Strategist at The Social Webb

Really nail down who your ideal client is and stick to your own rules about that. It will save lots of frustration in the long run and you will be better equipped to help your clients.

9. Be open & transparent

Ed Troxell

Ed Troxell- Digital strategist and owner of Ed Troxell Creative

The most important lesson I’ve learned about social marketing in 2015: Be open & transparent —keep it simple! Too often we try to come up with this grand story to share. Really, it’s about keeping it real, something people can relate to. For me, Periscope was a game changer. Since starting in late August, I’ve grown 3 times that of Instagram or Twitter — both of which I’ve had forever.

Going into 2016, I will not only remind myself, to keep it simple, but continue to educate my followers. After all, I’m “the guy that makes technology stupid easy!”

Oh and setting the right expectations from the start!

What about you?

What was the most important lesson that you learned about marketing over the past year and how will affect what you do in 2016?