The New Year is upon us, and by looking ahead and keeping your finger on the pulse of the latest marketing trends, you can go a long way towards future-proofing your brand.
Here are 10 marketing trends and predictions for 2022, and how to use them to your business’ advantage.
Now that Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection is here, email open rates are going to be even less reliable. The optimist in me wants to believe marketers will better segment and personalise their emails to compensate and get more clicks. But the realist in me knows many stretched-too-thin marketers will continue to blast their entire list with sales emails and hope for the best.
Hope never was a winning business strategy.
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2. The re-emergence of the ‘Big Idea’
With the disappearance of third party cookies and increased privacy measures, marketers will need to get comfortable with less data. We’ve been here before and it’s not such a bad thing. Perhaps now, we can get back to great ideas, and not data, being the future of marketing.
Personally, I’m excited to see the resurgence of campaigns that transcend precise targeting and make people feel something. Campaigns like Just Eat ft. Snoop Dogg and Nike’s You Can’t Stop Us made us realise there is actually more that unites us than divides us.
3. Back to live events
I don’t know about you, but I’ve already purchased tickets to attend four IRL events this year. After the year that was, we are all craving human connection, even if that means cheap lanyards and even cheaper wine.
While virtual events are here to stay, Zoom fatigue is real so marketers should seize opportunities to offer in-person experiences where they can.
4. The Facebook exodus
Rebranding to Meta (a name already in use by another company) is another nail in the coffin for Facebook. Millennials are leaving in droves and Gen Z already knows it’s the meanest, most uncool place on the internet.
Facebook is a hate machine. The company’s own research confirms the platform is harmful to humanity and while it’s not prepared to do much about it, users will. They have lost tolerance for big brands that behave badly and break things, and are migrating to other social media platforms like TikTok, Pinterest and Quora and other community platforms like Circle.So and Mighty Networks.
5. Pinterest is the kindest corner of the internet
In complete contrast to Facebook, Pinterest is kind, safe and inclusive.
As Pinterest’s community guidelines explain:
“Pinterest isn’t a place for content that displays, rationalizes or encourages suicide, self-injury, eating disorders or substance abuse. We’ll limit the distribution of or remove such content, including self-harm instructions, suicidal thinking and quotes.”
Other content prohibited or restricted includes clickbait, gambling and political content and weight-loss regimes. As such, Pinterest has experienced explosive growth in the last two years.
6. The Gen Z influence
As a population, Gen Z won’t peak for another 10 years but it’s their influence today that matters. Gen Z are mission-driven and open-minded and they have a big impact on both millennials and Gen Xers in terms of what they buy.
To authentically connect with this generation, we need to be bolder in how we support their values. This means walking the talk on diversity and inclusion, shelving stereotypes and generalisations and being less conservative with content that we deem appropriate.
The more rigid practices of the past won’t work for younger audiences. In short, brands should be brave.
7. User-generated content (UGC)
The benefits of UGC are unmistakable: by allowing your audience to become part of your brand conversation, your marketing is more authentic, human and believable. When you take into consideration that a staggering 96% of consumers don’t trust ads, yet 92% of consumers do trust earned media, it becomes clear just how powerful UGC can be as part of your marketing arsenal.
8. Influencer marketing goes mainstream
Influencer marketing has grown from an ancillary marketing tactic to a $14 billion dollar industry. In spite of this, many small businesses remain uncertain about influencer marketing and whether to invest in it as a channel.
I understand why. It’s by no means foolproof and SMEs don’t have thousands in the kitty they can risk experimenting with influencers.
However, they best try. The value of influencer marketing lies in the fact that 61% of consumers trust influencers’ recommendations — more than the 38% who trust branded (and often biased) branded social media content.
9. Sonic branding
With the rise of audio for brands through podcasts, voice activated search and video content, brands should be thinking about their distinctive brand assets beyond their visual identity.
Think Disney. We’re all familiar with its intro, right? What about Netflix? Can you channel the ta-dum sound right at the start of each show?
Sonic branding is the sound of a brand and represents an untapped opportunity for brands to build an emotional connection and remain memorable in the minds of customers.
10. Think differently
We are evolving away from outdated data-driven approaches, and learning how to harness creativity and authenticity to connect with the modern consumer is the next big opportunity.
This past year taught me the value of being brave. That taking risks in marketing — like my “gurus we deserve” campaign that highlighted the shady marketing practices of online marketing “gurus” — can yield the most breakthrough moments as a brand.
Time to take risks
We should not expect 2022 to be any more predictable than the last two years; instead lean into the uncertainty because the growth is achieved by standing out, not fitting in. Sometimes the most successful marketing comes from taking creative risks.
Playing it safe is playing it boring. So get comfortable being uncomfortable.