It’s impossible to go through a global pandemic lasting over a year and not expect things to change. Marketers and change are not strangers, however. Marketers have lived in an environment where consumer preferences change constantly and are required to adapt. Marketers have shown great flexibility in the last year. They have adapted by abruptly suspending in-person events, shifting to digital marketing, and, for many, cutting back on their budgets.
Many marketers will soon have more money to spend as the economy recovers. But where and how should they spend the money? Will they long for the old norm or will they continue to adopt the lifestyles that they have developed in the last year? What messages and channels will resonate with the post-pandemic consumer, and what will they use to reach them?
Here are some marketing trends you should be looking for in 2022 as the marketing eye turns to the future.
1. Future Events will be hybrid
Marketers faced cancellations of many in-person events. These included store grand openings and concert series. Virtual events were the mainstay of customer engagement and lead generation. These events were successful because of the increased spending on social media platforms and other digital platforms.
Two conflicting impulses now confront consumers and marketers. It is not difficult to feel the urge to gather again. Many consumers prefer to live-stream events, but they have experienced the convenience of watching them from their couch. You will need to create hybrid events to appeal to both groups. For those who don’t want to travel, hybrid events can be a great way to cater to both audiences.
2. Content alignment will never be more important
A company will have to align its SEO, PR, and thought leadership if it wants to be a leader in its industry. This thought leadership Venn diagram shows how important it is to have visibility, credibility, authority, and overlap. These things can help you stand out in your industry.
This means that you should have source content on your website, as well as other resources such as social media or sister sites. After you have established authority in different areas, add the PR element to your credibility. This allows others to cite or mention your content. Make sure people link to your content only under topics you are familiar with. This is where I hint at my next point.
3. Engagement with Nonprofits will be a big part of marketing plans
Consumers are increasingly looking for companies that support a cause or give back. This trend will only increase and it is important to have a solid marketing plan that includes partnerships with non-profits. This partnership opportunity can help you not only grow your company but also align you to philanthropic causes that are important to you.
It’s a win-win situation: expanding your brand and reaching while advocating for a non-profit. Your marketing plan should not be limited to supporting a charity organization. You should set clear goals, such as product placement or affiliate marketing, percentage sales donations, corporate sponsorship, and percentage of product sales. Mallory Erickson is a nonprofit executive coach who says these partnerships can help you reach new audiences around the world.
4. Marketing companies will take more ownership
More sales and marketing companies are taking ownership of the services or products they sell. This is a natural shift, as if you can sell someone’s product and generate significant revenue, it will eventually increase the company’s value. You’ll be more motivated to win the game if you own a stake. Both sides will benefit greatly from it.
Marketing and sales professionals should first consider what products and services you can benefit from. Next, identify the companies that will help you set performance metrics to ensure you have some ownership in achieving your goals. TechCrunch reported recently on an outsourcing CMO firm, which created its own venture company to invest in companies that could benefit from its resources.
5. AI It will make influencer marketing easier and more result-driven
Although it is often predicted that influencer marketing will die, it has not yet happened. The market, valued at $9.7billion in 2020, is expected to grow to $15billion by 2022. Nearly all marketers report that they spend more than 20% of their budget on influencer content. The market has changed significantly over the years, but influencer marketing has not changed. One example is the shift to micro-influencers with more engaged audiences.
Artificial intelligence will soon be a mainstream feature. The technology can be used for everything, from influencer identification (A.I. The technology can be used to assess and evaluate millions of influencer videos, in ways that a human cannot, as well as performance influencer marketing. This model is powered by predictive A.I. and you only pay for the sales influencers’ conversions. Practically, ROI is guaranteed.
6. Marketers Will Get Alternatives to Third-Party Cookies
Google announced that a third death, the predicted death of the third-party cookies, has been delayed (until 2023). Although the delay means that marketers will need to stop using 3P cookie-based targeting strategies, it is still critical. Marketers will have to adapt to meet consumer demands for greater privacy protections.
It is possible to start by increasing your efforts in gathering and fully exploiting first-party data. After all, first-party cookies aren’t going anywhere. You can also use tools such as Google’s Privacy Sandbox and FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts), to personalize and target consumers without intruding into user privacy. Marketing success will be more dependent on CRM tools, surveys, and interactive content.
Marketers will be playing a familiar role as change agents, as they compete for consumers’ attention in uncertain times. These six marketing trends will help you stay ahead of the pack.