Where is digital marketing heading in 2022? Here are ten trends from a panel of digital marketing experts:
1. Trend: Email Most Important Channel Three trends have contributed to the prioritization of email: personalization, automation, and privacy. She anticipates tactics like dynamic and interactive email content, AMP for email, and new personalization strategies to rise in importance in 2022. “Litmus recently released a State of Email report showcasing that email has become the marketing’s most important channel of marketing.
2. Trend: Loyalty A Thing Of The Past. “Loyalty programs will become a thing of the past and evolve into membership programs,” says Jay Myers of Bold Commerce. “People crave membership and community; it’s human nature. What’s not human nature is to crave being in a loyalty program. Marketers have caught onto this and though loyalty points can offer consumers value, they’re not compelling differentiators on their own. In 2022 brands will transform loyalty programs into true membership. And unlike loyalty programs that customers are hesitant to join, these membership programs will be so compelling that customers will pay to join. Brands will embrace the membership model and add value through benefits, like exclusive access to products, free shipping and offline events.”
3. Trend: Foresight The New Priority.“With increasingly direct access to consumers, brands will no longer wait until after the fact to get feedback on campaigns, products and brand names they’ve already launched to know what people think. And they’ll avoid a little controversy—and major financial setbacks—in the process. This is not to say that marketers won’t have bad ideas in 2022. That’s inevitable. But we’ll at least see more of them skip the part where they turn those bad ideas into destructive decisions for their brands.”
4. Trend: Discounts Losing Favor Fast. “Brands have been eager to move away from a reliance on using steep discounts to acquire new customers and instead identify opportunities to offer value through their products and the role they play in customers’ lives,” says Sherene Hilal of Bluecore. “Digital has expanded how and which types of value brands can offer to customers. In 2022 brands will begin replacing blanket discounts that don’t keep shoppers around for long with unique offerings based directly on what they know about shoppers (i.e., they’ll buy based on free shipping), as well as on their own unique selling points (i.e., free personalization, in-store experiences).”
5. Trend: War On Data. “The war on data will escalate and marketers will lose access to more data they have come to rely on,” says global marketing consultant Tim Parkin. “First-party data will become the foundation of all marketing initiatives. Many organizations, who have not prepared, will scramble to collect this data to stay competitive.”
6. Trend: Video To Be Cornerstone. “Video will replace static assets and become the cornerstone of all marketing campaigns,” adds Parkin. “Social media and streaming TV platforms will introduce new advertising products that emphasize video. Even the retail experience will see new innovations in using video to engage customers and drive revenue.”
7. Trend: Great Escape From Digital White Noise. “Instead of getting lost in the digital inbox, savvy businesses are being discovered in the mailbox,” says Jordan Stevens, a digital marketing consultant from Canada. “Initially, direct mail may be dismissed due to misconceptions about the channel. However, integrated campaigns give businesses the opportunity to reach millions of individuals on a more personal level than digital communications can provide alone. Overall, direct mail performance and engagement continue to climb. While your audience is bombarded with digital messaging all day, direct mail breaks through in an authentic, unexpected, nostalgic and tangible way.”
8. Trend: Advertising Postcards Reach People Where They Live. “Direct mail is a way of communicating with your consumers directly to their homes. It allows you to target your audience according to location and demographic profile,” adds Stevens. “During the last five years, we’ve seen an increase in advertisers using postcards to reach their audience, and we expect that trend to grow. Postcards are lightweight, visually appealing and stand out in the mailbox. As digital advertising expenses increase, whether you’re a real estate agent or kitchen renovator, postcards are a simple format that maximizes ROI.”
9. Trend: Digital Storytelling Separates Amateurs From Pros. “There has been a large focus over the past year on digital storytelling,” says author and founder of 3 Dog Write, Lisa Apolinski. “But many companies are still struggling to get that right. Many companies are still making their stories about themselves versus how clients can find success with the help of the company’s products and services. Companies who can leverage persuasive storytelling will have their digital content create value and relatability and not just be content for content’s sake.”
10. Trend: Judgement Day For Facebook/Meta. “We have all had times where we thought Facebook was destined for downfall,” adds Apolinski. “I would not count out Mark Zuckerberg for this new re-imagining of his brand. However, I think the overall success of Meta will be determined by whether Zuckerberg is willing to step out of running the company to allow new energy into the organization. If Zuckerberg continues to stay at the helm, the success of Meta will be diminished and not hit the same levels of success as Facebook. 2022 will be a pivot point for the company and many organizations are being more conservative with spending with Facebook as they wait to see how this new brand is received and what opportunities it brings.”
Seven trends that will affect the future of marketing
Trying to predict the future is always a risky thing to do; most of us are terrible at it. But if I had to bet on what the near term will hold, I would put my money on the following 7 trends.
1] There will be increasing complexity in consumer purchasing decisions
Consumers use all kinds of media to make shopping decisions – from YouTube to Facebook – and it’s becoming increasingly harder to put the people that buy certain products into a box than it used to be. Consumer categories like mainstream, or high and low end, are starting to disappear. Segmentation is getting more and more complex. The same customer can buy one high end product and one low end product at the same time. These days you could easily find someone who could take an EasyJet flight from London to Milan to buy a Gucci bag. People select which consumer products they want to buy with an unbalanced mix of emotions and rationale. They might not have any emotional connection to aviation and thus the cheapest product will do. But when it comes to a luxury bag they might value tradition and craftsmanship.
2] Personalization in product design and communications will be more prevalent
Thanks to big data, social media and flexible manufacturing, more companies are learning to offer customized products and designs. This trend is reaching a growing number of industries including the health sector. While pharma companies continue to treat all patients in more or less the same way, they will soon be moving towards personalized medication based on our differences such as age, sex, weight, and medical history.
3] Mobile communications are becoming the center of marketing
There have been rumblings in the press recently about WhatsApp giving Facebook its users’ phone numbers to deliver targeted ads. Although getting a text message about one of your favorite products may seem intrusive, so is telemarketing and that hasn’t gone away.
4] Transparency will dictate brand-customer relationships
Businesses are realizing that they cannot escape the transparency offered by social media. More companies are learning the lesson that if they aren’t truthful, they will pay the price: Not only hefty fines from the authorities, but also in lost loyalty and business from their customers.
5] Personalized data-driven marketing will become more friendly
Thanks to big data, companies are learning an awful lot about who you are and what you like. They will keep getting better at targeting you and communicating with you in the most effective way depending on who you are and what your habits say about you. Don’t say goodbye to spam just yet, but the companies that figure out how to stop casting their one-size-fits all messages less widely, and start targeting people in a more meaningful way, will win.
6] More accurate metrics will continue to emerge
Until recently, justifying and measuring the impact of their decisions has often been a major challenge for marketers. Today, there are many ways to measure online activity – likes on Facebook, clicks on articles, and so on – but many of them are not fully meaningful yet. Facebook was recently caught amplifying data about how much videos were viewed on its platform. Measurement will probably never be perfect, but digital technology is improving it. Will we ever know the exact trajectory of who views an ad and then opens their wallet to buy a particular product? I’m not so sure. But that is what marketers dream of.
7] The marketing organization will increasingly move from digital silos to integrated teams
A few years ago you would have the digital team on one side and the marketing team on the other. It can no longer be that way. Digital has to be part of everything now so the two have to be fully integrated. As one marketer recently suggested: Companies do not necessarily need a digital strategy, what they really need to know is how to plug the digital component into the complex process of how consumers make purchasing decisions!
These are just some of the main trends I see happening in marketing over the next few years but there will certainly be others.