Marketing predictions - 2022 will be tough for marketers
Disruptive changes will be playing a significant role in marketing in 2022. Diversity and inclusiveness will be more demanding, privacy will be putting lots of limitations on marketing strategies, marketers will need to build strong communities and create compelling stories.
On the other hand users will get used to the new privacy options and opt-out rates are expected to decline, AI will be more and more adopted in sales and ads, and digital connections will flourish. We are expecting fading of borderlines between physical and digital relationships, the rise of the flexible workplace, employee advocacy and virtual influencers.
Here are our marketing predictions for 2022.
Merging of Technology and Human Connections in Sales
Buyers prefer automated processes without the need of a sales rep. However, this might be problematic, as in many cases sales reps help potential customers understand the product better and make sure it is what they need.
Gartner predicts that by 2025 one in five B2B companies will use AI/ML to proactively slow down customers’ journeys and connect customers with sales reps.
Drop of opt-out Rate
According to Gartner, by 2023 opt-out rate for mobile app tracking will decline from 85% to 60%.
Customers will see that untargeted ads increase their exposure to low-quality content, and this will be helpful for decreasing the privacy limitations for marketers, as well.
The daily routines of employees have changed compared to their pre-pandemic ones. When working remotely or hybrid-like, Gartner predicts employees will be watching 20% more video content during the day.
Rising Importance of Employee Advocacy
Brand credibility is much easier to establish when employees help. According to Gartner by 2023, 90% of B2B social media marketing strategies will include employee advocacy programs. When employees share content, it achieves a 200% higher click-through rate than when the company shares it, LinkedIn found.
This is at a time when trust in company-sourced information has hit an all-time low. Together, these facts point to employees having higher personal credibility with customers than brands have.
Change of Data-protection Strategies
Companies need to build customer-first data protection strategies. People are more concerned about privacy then ever and according to Google 73% are saying they prefer online services that offer high data protection.
Advertising is challenged by privacy, as ads rely heavily on data, to be personalized and optimized automatically. With third-party cookies being removed, marketers are even more challenged.
Layered Measurement Approach
If you measure different channels separately, you will most probably get distorted info. For example, video ads may not drive immediate conversion, but they make your brand memorable in the mind of the customer. Later they might influence their decision.
This is why Thomeas Bering, Brand Measurement Lead at Google, recommends the Swiss Cheese Model for measuring the impact of your marketing efforts. You simply cannot get all the answers by one tool and a single approach. However, asking the right questions and using layered measurement can help you get the desired insights.
Brands, not products
Forbes predicts that building a trustable brand will continue to win over the older approaches of pushing products. People will buy from brands whose values align with their own.
Marketers need to build strong communities around their brands.
Consumers will Participate in Brand’s Critical Decisions
Marketers will make decisions for products, campaigns, updates, etc. after consulting with consumers, instead of based on feedback, which comes after receiving and using a product.
Consumers will share what they want and what they don’t want in advance.
Sensitivity to Marketing
Diversity and inclusion will be very important in all types of marketing strategies. Marketers cannot afford to be negligent for that, as it might reflect significantly on the brand.
Metaverses and NFTs
NFTs and Metaverses are developing rapidly and quickly entering daily lives. Marketers should look for opportunities in these directions. For example, unique brand NFTs can be provided as gifts with purchases, or even sold if the brand is recognizable enough.
Influencer marketing is not going anywhere. Many companies use influencers even for B2B marketing. But virtual influencers are something that is just starting to show its potential.
Virtual influencers are digital characters, most often based on CGI. Renault, Samsung, and several fashion companies already adopted virtual influencers. There are currently more than 150 virtual characters that already have their own life on social media, some with millions of fans.
Automation – AI and ML
Automation, and more specifically artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are taking over mundane tasks. Every part of digital marketing — social media, all types of ads, search engine optimization and even email — is becoming algorithm-driven.
The algorithms are used to optimize all marketing efforts for the most important thing – user experience.
Google has delayed phasing out of third-party cookies for 2023, but marketers will need to start finding ways to decrease the use of these cookies starting from 2022. Stay up to date with the latest news and consider alternatives in case you rely on third-party cookies.
With real-time monitoring you can track changes that impact your content in the moment. Immediate insights can help prevent issues with the customer experience.
Automation, optimization and personalization in real time allow you to immediately identify content and user experience opportunities.
Importance of Video
Video will continue to be an important asset for marketers. According to a survey by Optinmonster 72% of customers say they would rather learn about a product or service by way of video, and 84% of people say they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video.
Additionally, Cisco’s research found that by 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic — 15 times higher than it was in 2017. Video will continue to dominate in 2022.
Action points - what to do next
- B2B buying is becoming more and more digital-first. This trend is accelerated by the pandemic, so you can support customer self-service purchases by designing smooth digital experiences.
- Integrate marketing and sales automation systems with other customer-facing interaction tools to ensure a seamless buying process. Align your teams by integrating your service management and monitoring software to facilitate real-time insights.
- Balance digital customer experiences with human-led interactions to have a personalized buyer journey.
- Design shared processes, with common objectives, across the marketing, sales and tech teams involved in the user experience. Automation and data integration are key.
- Test the times of day when your audience is most receptive, align your media presence and ads to take advantage of timing changes.
- Data helps shape meaningful and memorable messaging that makes online experiences better. It takes time to build trust. You can start today by being open and honest about how and when you collect personal information, and by putting users in control of their data. Use the data to show ads that are valuable to customers.
- Create employee advocacy programs to boost personal touch and brand trust. Equip employees with a steady stream of content in different formats, so they can share in social networks the way they prefer. Additional benefits from these programs include increased employee engagement and productivity.
- Rethink your measurement and audience reaching methods. Consider the Swiss Cheese Model for measuring the impact of your marketing efforts, and provide more control to people for managing the data they share.
- Create a board of customers within your community and consult them before making important decisions for your products or services.
- Revise the language you use in your marketing materials, and make sure it is inclusive and avoids stereotyping.
- Research ways of using NFTs in your marketing. Consider creating brand recognizable NFTs and using them as gifts for loyal customers or making them useful in metaverses. Depending on your brand, you can also consider creating your own virtual influencer, or using any of the existing ones for promotions.
- Use automation tools as competitive advantage. Integrate your tools and leverage real time data flow and immediate insights to provide outstanding user experience.
- Leverage video as a key part of your messaging, incorporate brand values in videos and attract fans to enhance your community. LinkedIn now allows businesses to market their products and services with short how-to videos, and you can benefit from that.
- Do fewer things better, rather than spreading too thin across too many channels. Focus on one or few digital marketing options and dominate them.
Marketing in 2022 will be more difficult and complicated because of technology changes, but also due to consumer behavior changes, cultural changes, importance on privacy, and diversity and inclusion requirements.
The future is built on the right technologies and tools that will help marketers go through the challenges successfully. Effectively spotting the insights and understanding your audience has always been the base of good marketing and incorporating the right tools will support you in that.
Balance between the new trends and the marketing foundations is key. Even though technologies develop rapidly, and algorithms change constantly, some things never change. One of these things is the importance of the user experience at every step of the buying journey. Continue to provide the experiences that customers want with your content.
Marketing is getting harder in 2022, with all the disruptive changes that are dramatically impacting advertising, sales and relationships. Privacy changes, Google algorithm’s changes, metaverses and NFTs entering the stage, real-time everything requirements…
it will not be getting easier, but balance will help you thrive in 2022.