"Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future," Nobel Prize-winning physicist Niels Bohr allegedly once said. But I won't let one of the fathers of quantum physics deter me from predicting how the marketing industry will look by December 2016, though, because a few trends are readily apparent.

First, at the risk of self-aggrandizing, I strongly believe that data science will inform the best marketing initiatives next year. Targeting has got much more accurate, thanks to a better understanding that collecting the right data goes way beyond an email address and a full name.

New Marketing Opportunities

The personalization that information from social media platforms enables has opened the door to a huge swathe of new marketing opportunities.

By marrying information from traditional sources and social media, with other dynamic data sets such as weather, economic news, major events, and in-store activity (for retail), ultra-targeted and personalized marketing becomes a reality. The issue of joining the world of in-store marketing and online marketing could finally be solved, much like how the difficulties around multiplatform marketing have been largely surmounted.

Underpinning the explosion in mobile advertising and ever more impressive personalization is the surge in the number of marketers intelligently using data. Indeed, it is this growth in "data-savviness" by marketers that will inform many of the major changes we are likely to see in 2016.

With more accurate information on consumer behavior captured in real time, we may finally get closer to answer the attribution modeling problem. I do not expect that by December 2016 marketers, publishers, and advertisers will have a revolutionary way to determine effectiveness and apportion costs; however, we should see more agencies and brands experimenting with different models—fueled by data science.

Trough of Despair

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David Beardmore is chief commercial officer at Profusion, a data-science consultancy.

LinkedIn: David Beardmore