We’ve all learned the hard way that no matter how much you try to plan and prep and predict, sometimes the world throws a curve ball and suddenly you’re stuck with a marketing plan that doesn’t make the most sense. But, since we’re marketers, we thrive on the unexpected, right? And over the last two years, our agility has been tested, as well as our ability to change course when situations arise.
With all that in mind, there are a few concepts and ideas we’ve seen bubble up during 2021 that we believe will be solid focuses next year. Here are seven trends in marketing for 2022 — and how to prepare for them now.
1. Events will remain hybrid
There was that brief period of time in the early summer of 2021 when things started to look up … and then Delta hit. If you’re like us, you had email after email flooding your inbox notifying you of conferences and trade shows that were set to be in-person suddenly switched back to virtual, as if we were in 2020 again.
In 2022, events will be hybrid – meaning there will be options for those who wish to go in person and those who would feel more comfortable at home. Providing these two choices will make it easier for event marketers in the long run and will present your company as one that wants to provide accessible and inclusive access to your events.
How to Prepare
- Think of contingency plans and safety details first. What will you do if you need to go FULL virtual? What guidelines and cautionary measures do you need to have in place at the physical space?
- Make the virtual experience as exciting as the in-person one. In our interview with Jody Guetter of Social Assurance, she gives a ton of awesome tips on how to create engaging and dynamic experiences during online conferences.
2. Omnichannel focus will continue
The digital transformation is in full swing, and even though restrictions and lockdowns are loosening up here and there, the effect the pandemic had on so many of our behavioral habits will remain. Think of everything you had to do online — from shopping to ordering food to working to celebrating holidays with your family — and now think of how frustrating it was when a company’s online presence was out of date or inconsistent, especially from channel to channel.
Each of your online channels should be in harmony with the other. Providing the most accessible and clear user experience for your customers will help instill trust and make it as easy as possible for your audience to get what they’re looking for, whether it’s information on a service for their company or a large thin-crust pizza with extra cheese.
How to Prepare
- Meet regularly with all members of your marketing team (and sales, too!). Aligning your teams will help cement messaging and key focuses, from LinkedIn posts to sales outreach to talking points at events.
- Manage workflows and processes ahead of time. Do you need to set up a weekly time to touch base to make sure all appropriate channels are updated? How about using a dedicated project management system like Trello, Asana or the BrandpointHUB to make sure everyone is always on the same page?
3. An emphasis on corporate social responsibility
Carrying out acts of social good as a company should be something your organization focuses on regularly, but showcasing your values is a good way to boost your employer branding to incoming applicants and potential clients. No, donating money to a charity and then posting “look how great we are” on social isn’t the way to go, but incorporating genuine and honest stories on your website will help to build a strong, positive reputation.
There has been a major shift in how we work, and applicants, especially those newer to the workforce, have become more selective when it comes to the companies they want to work for.
How to Prepare
- Meet with HR to discuss employer branding initiatives. How can you incorporate these activities into your marketing plan? Think about adding Glassdoor quotes to your careers page online, outlining diversity and inclusion activities in a blog post, or sharing moments of true company culture on social media, for example.
- Use distribution and thought leadership methods to boost your corporate communications. Distributing interviews and getting news coverage about your social good efforts are easy ways to share your activities internally and externally.
4. Google ditches third-party cookies in Chrome in 2022
Data analysts, marketers and digital advertisers will have to start planning for the end of third-party tracking cookies in Chrome and start relying on first-party data and learning. While this effort to create a safer and more private experience for people online is good, the news does come as a big hit to businesses who rely on this data to inform their marketing tactics.
Just as we learned to not fully rely on one channel for ROI (see “in-person events in 2020”), collecting information from your audiences to better personalize their experience can come from a variety of sources. As always, each tactic should include regular measurement tracking, so you can see if what you’re doing is ringing true for the customers you’re trying to reach.
How to Prepare
- Start researching ways to collect zero-party data. The information that a customer gives to you freely is going to be the most accurate, i.e., like signing up for your website’s newsletter, scanning their badge at a trade show, or following your social media accounts.
5. Marketers will do more with their thought leadership
Getting the thought leaders in your company to create content for you can be a challenge, but the benefits are tough to ignore. Whether it’s a personal essay for your company blog, a post on LinkedIn or a video interview distributed on paid media channels, hearing your brand’s story through the lens of your experts is a great way to elevate your message. The key to getting the most out of your thought leadership, though, is to repurpose it as much as possible. See Trend #2 for more info!
How to Prepare
- Look into paid channels for more mileage. Targeted distribution can do wonders for your thought leadership, making sure that the content you create is seen by people who would be most interested.
6. Social will continue to evolve with video and shopping features
TikTok (and subsequently Instagram Reels) has led the way in the rise of short-form video content, and even those who were previously uninterested in participating in these social platforms have fallen prey to the addictive nature of scrolling through the algorithm. So many of the trends have broken into mainstream media, like the Ocean Spray/Fleetwood Mac mashup we all didn’t know we needed or, more recently, Noodle the bones day/no bones day pug.
Social media marketers should add in short-form videos to their campaigns when appropriate to test if it’s something their audience is excited about.
Additionally, in-platform shopping capabilities will become more popular in 2022, with users having the ability to purchase items directly in the app.
[Read More: Understanding Social Media Marketing for Gen Z]
How to Prepare
- Work on your brand tone and voice guidelines for social. Are you a company who will jump on any viral trend? Or are you a bit more serious, not ready to dive into the Berries and Cream TikTok arena? Create a shared document so your team is on the same page when it comes to content creation.
7. The future of work is flexible…
From fully remote to hybrid work to back at home to tentatively returning to a physical office space … it’s been a bumpy ride when it comes to a shared workspace. We predict the future of work will look different for every office and their specific team’s needs. Marketing teams will trend to a “permanently flexible” model, with some days requiring in-person meetings and other days left up to each individual’s discretion regarding time and location. Want to attend your kid’s spelling bee and get your work done after dinner? You got it! Prefer to wake up before the sun rises and use the rest of the afternoon for errands? Sure! Whatever works for you and your team.
How to Prepare
- Be open and honest. Sit down with your co-workers to see what “hybrid” looks like to them, which days line up best for in-person meetings and set ground rules and expectations off the bat.
- Set a plan of communication. Whether it’s Microsoft Teams or Slack, make sure that your team knows how to get ahold of everyone else during the day. (Working during the pandemic has gotten everyone in the practice of this, we’re sure!) Project management and workflow software are so important, as well. Give everyone the tools they need to be on the same page, wherever they are.
Are you ready for 2022?
What do you think of these trends? What are you prepping for next year? Brandpoint is here to help you with content strategy, development and distribution, no matter what your plans are in 2022. Contact us today so we can help you get started on the right foot.