The word that best describes the past two years in the business world is disruption—caused by events such as the global pandemic, economic slowdown, innovative business models, new tech applications, and regulatory changes. And 2022 will not be any different.
In the upcoming year, marketers will continue to face changes and innovations, all of which involve a certain degree of uncertainty, as is often the case when experimenting with new ideas and solutions. To help you start the new year with informed resolutions and ideas on how to expedite your marketing efforts, we’ve compiled a list of emerging trends that are shaping the future of marketing. Let’s explore a few of them below!
1. Networking opportunities with hybrid events
To keep customers, suppliers, and leads safe and engaged, marketers are looking toward creating events that merge the best of the physical and virtual aspects of networking. Although people are starting to feel increasingly comfortable with physical gatherings, some are enjoying the newfound convenience of accessing global events and summits from the comfort of their own homes.
In such a scenario, a hybrid approach that provides the best of both worlds seems to be the best solution. Event planning for 2022 involves strong considerations for digital components such as AR and VR technologies, perfect for providing immersive experiences to online attendees.
Moving forward, hybrid events may be one of the most effective ways of raising brand awareness while also gathering audience data for consumer profiles. In the long term, creating and attending hybrid events will boost business growth.
2. Smarter influencer marketing with artificial intelligence (AI)
In industries like retail, banking, and healthcare, AI is already leveraged for marketing automation. But new applications of AI are emerging all the time, and influencer marketing is no exception.
By 2022, influencer marketing is predicted to reach $15 billion. Although it has changed over the years, influencer marketing today plays a significant role in keeping audiences entertained and engaged while generating interest in different brands and products.
Today, influencer marketing is reaching new heights thanks to the widespread adoption of AI. Marketers can now use AI for influencer marketing performance and even influencer identification. For example, AI can watch and evaluate millions of influencer videos to help marketers expedite their decision-making process.
3. Alternatives to third-party cookies
An increasing number of privacy-first browsers like Firefox and Safari are blocking third-party cookies, and Google will join their ranks soon. The company announced that it will stop the use of third-party cookies in Chrome by the end of 2023.
This is bad news for marketers that are highly dependent on cookie caches, as they risk losing $10 billion of revenue if they don’t come up with a solution for consumer data tracking and targeting. Unsurprisingly, for many of them, 2022 will mark the year they shift away from strategies based on third-party cookies and transition toward collecting and leveraging first-party data.
Although solutions like Google’s Privacy Sandbox or FLoC may help with consumer targeting without breaching consumer trust, a more robust strategy that heavily relies on first-party data is recommended. As such, marketers should look into CRM tools, surveys, and interactive content to give consumers more control over the data they share and ensure they collect it appropriately and proactively.
Likewise, contextual advertising can help marketers reach consumers based on keyword and topic targeting rather than behavioral tracking. This solution enables marketers to have greater control over where their ads are being published. This gives them a great opportunity to ensure that their ads appear on websites that are aligned with their brand to ensure consistency and trust.
4. Making waves with less content and more quality
More is not always better, and this is particularly true for content. Producing subpar content pieces frequently hurts your brand more than it helps. To deliver superior content that truly boosts visibility, credibility, and authority, a content marketing strategy should not only be aligned with SEO, but also with digital PR.
This means putting more effort into the intention and thought process behind each content piece and thinking beyond the topic, keywords, and target audience, considering what other publishers or influential brands would quote or mention your piece.
For example, if you want to impress other authority figures and publishers in your niche, your blog posts should ideally be SEO friendly, more educational, and longer. They should be thought-leadership pieces that make you stand out. And adding a twist to them such as a quiz or poll will ensure your audience is impressed, too. Not to mention, doing so will also help you collect that much-needed first-party data.
Moving forward, marketers will focus their content efforts on fewer pieces that are higher in quality and have a greater impact than daily content that lacks depth and relevancy. These can often annoy consumers and even make them churn. In fact, 51% of B2B buyers are turned off by irrelevant content and unfollow brands because of it.
5. Mobile-first marketing for modern users
Since the rise of mobile devices, forward-thinking marketers have included mobile-first approaches in their strategies. But modern consumers increasingly spend a lot of time online using their mobile devices. The pandemic has accelerated the increase of time spent on mobile devices.
This means that consumers are increasingly researching products and making online purchases using their mobile devices. As a result, businesses need to adapt their marketing and sales strategies to the new demand and create mobile-friendly content, accelerated mobile pages, optimized design, and web functions that rank higher in search engines and deliver excellent consumer experiences.
How will your marketing change in the new year?
From reaching customers in a cookieless world to elevating the hybrid experience, there’s no shortage of marketing ideas to inspire you in the coming year. We consider the trends outlined in this article to make the most sense across the board, but there are other emerging considerations that need to be made at a more fundamental level for each business.
For example, authentically inclusive advertising is a major trend emerging from high-growth brands that frequently establish key performance metrics for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) objectives. Lower-growth brands that haven’t been considering this approach should definitely follow suit.
In 2022, marketing will continue to change and evolve, and your brand should be able to evolve with it. If you’re still working on a plan for the upcoming year and are unsure which trends to follow, feel free to reach out to us for more insights. We’ll help you figure out what makes sense for your brand and what doesn’ t and evolve your branding strategy.