For marketers, consumer experience has become more of a focus than ever, particularly in the world of omnichannel retail. The need for more customer-centric approaches has driven progress in this industry in recent years and will continue to do so as we move into 2016, with companies increasingly looking at how they can make best use of emerging technology available to the sector.

Marketers aim to create more meaningful engagements with potential customers through more relevant content being delivered when and where the consumer wants it. Technology enables this, helping brand understand consumer behaviour to better predict intent and serve to the appropriate device or experience. Technology is changing the sector as we know it: increasing reach, honing targeting and reducing wastage.

Here’s a look at the trends that are destined to impact the marketing landscape for retailers in the year to come.

Enriching intelligence

In 2016, marketers will no longer be pigeonholed into simple retargeting campaigns, or even buying off-the-shelf audiences that were created without any insight into the marketer’s unique customer data. Instead, by combining their owned data with 3rd party providers, marketers will identify new, meaningful data signals that will enrich their understanding to create better connections using more sophisticated audience targeting.

Big players will get bigger, but small stars will shine too

To maintain competitive advantage, larger marketing technology companies will continue to invest in eliminating gaps in their product suite so they can offer marketers full end-to-end services. Over the past year we saw a huge number of mergers and acquisitions in the industry, which have been driven by this need for providers to offer fully fledged solutions, from smarter analytics and targeting to more engaging creative outputs.

In order to remain accessible, smaller, best-in-class vertical & format specialists should prioritize integrating their solutions into these larger consolidated tech platforms. Despite the dominance of larger companies, these niche providers will be recognised for their ability to deliver incremental value on top of the wide-ranging solutions provided by larger companies.

Programmatic unlocks the power of actionable insights across multichannel

In the past, marketing teams have struggled to translate customer insight into a fully-realised media campaign. Learnings were passed (and diluted along the way) from client, to agency to media vendor via spreadsheets and presentations. In 2016, marketers will begin to develop new models of customer insight and act on them seamlessly, serving automated content quickly, to relevant audiences across multiple screens. The automation and speed of programmatic will close the gaps between insights and media and help marketers better connect with the audiences they want to reach.

Programmatic TV is coming soon, but the supply isn’t there yet

In 2016, we will see more brands experiment with connected and programmatic TV. The same data we use to target audiences online could be used to target audiences via programmatic TV but the delivery systems and supply still have a way to go before the channel will be fully realised. As marketers hone their online display campaigns with increased efficiency, it won’t be long until other platforms are revolutionised by programmatic. There’ll be little difference between running a programmatic TV campaign or pre-roll on YouTube.

Fraud and viewability concerns may stick around for a while longer

Fraud, viewability and ad-blocking have become the industry’s biggest worries over the last year and publishers will be held increasingly accountable for delivering the value they promise in the face of these challenges. In 2016, advertising will fight back, developing solutions to overcome these concerns.

Whilst media owners have a job to do, the advertising industry has an opportunity to lead the charge against fraud and viewability concerns, serving content and experiences audiences enjoy to create valuable relationships with customers. Unfortunately, players will find new ways to game the system – meaning marketers will need to stay vigilant against fraud. Viewability concerns will also persist as publishers still want to create as much inventory as possible, while many marketers focus on aggregate performance and overlook ads not seen by audiences. Reliance on private programmatic marketplaces built from quality publishers will grow as an easy solution to fraud and viewability concerns. This change will take longer than a year but positive progress will be made in 2016.

By Craig Teich, Executive VP of Global Sales at Connexity