This article was originally published at edgaraskatinas.com.
Time flies too fast. We just planned for 2021…but it’s already six months into the year, and I am sure many of you will soon start planning your marketing strategies for 2022. So, let’s brainstorm and see what marketing trends will shape 2022.
The biggest question remains: How will marketing change after the death of the cookie?
I am sure you heard Google announced that it would end support to third-party cookies in their Chrome browser in 2022. It is a big deal, given that Chrome is the most popular browser, accounting for almost 70% of all market share.
Nevertheless, the pandemic had a tremendous impact on shaping our habits, and digital has become a new norm to do many things. Even when the pandemic is over, consumer habits will remain.
I am sure about certain things though.
- Digital marketing will become even more critical.
- Content marketing will become more important.
- Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) marketing will take the lead.
- Brands will need to learn about their consumers without relying on second- or third-party data.
Businesses should also start looking at customer retention more proactively. Currently, most are still looking at new acquisitions; however, with the competition in the digital space becoming more and more fierce, customer retention has never been more important.
The death of the cookie
Google announced that it would end cookie tracking in early 2022. What does it mean for your business?
Simple. It is pretty bad news, and it will require some drastic changes.
Tracking users across the web is essential to many advertisers and businesses. However, user privacy concerns have become more important to more and more internet users. It came at a time of the implementation of GDPR, which made consumers much more aware of their online privacy. There already is an option for consumers to opt-out of the third-party cookies and tracking, but digital advertisers are looking for ways to change their tactics.
Many start implementing first-party data or even zero-party data collection to gather information about the consumers and provide relevant advertising to facilitate sales online.
Zero-party data has been gaining more and more momentum. In brief, it’s data that is given directly by the consumer to a brand. It can be done via a survey, gamification, or simple consumer/brand interaction online.
You should look into boosting your CRM tools as such data will become crucial once cookie tracking is no longer in place.
I’d like to share some of the strategies that you should be ready for in 2022.
1. Invest in online events
Online events (such as webinars, seminars, or product launches) are always a great way to spread the word about your brand to your existing clients and potential new ones.
I see more and more brands participating in online events. They also provide them with other opportunities, such as directly gathering data on the audience attending the event.
Later on, the data can be used to build consumer profiles and sell directly to them. It will eliminate the need to rely on third-party information and will help build a stronger relationship with the audience.
Online events may not bring massive revenue at once, but they will undoubtedly help your business grow in the long term.
2. Own your audiences
In reality, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media network owns your audience. You don’t own them. So even if it has been working quite well for you, you should be worried — and should start owning your audience. Why?
Well, first, because you will be able to ensure that the message you want to send to your followers actually reaches them. Secondly, it is because there are so many metrics and dependencies in today’s algorithms that actually affect the delivery of your message. For example, likely, people who you want to talk to cannot hear you. It is also expected that people who follow you also follow another bunch of brands and are lost in all the marketing noise.
Did you know that there are over 500 million tweets sent out every day? It is super noisy out there! How do you ensure that your tweets reach your audience?
Did you also know that over 6 million businesses are using Facebook ads to reach their target audiences? That’s a lot of companies!
The attention span of today’s consumers is extremely short. Often, it’s less than three seconds, thanks to the constant flow of new information. That’s why it’s tough to ensure that your content actually reaches your audience.
That’s why 2022 should be about starting to own your audience. I know it’s easier said than done, but in the long run, you’ll be able to achieve some great results.
Newsletters are compelling. Think about it. Your audience’s inbox is a personal space, and if they are keen to let you in, you’re likely to get their undivided attention.
However, if you manage to get into their inbox, your marketing strategy will have to change. The content must become much more personalized and relevant to specific groups.
Moreover, in 2022, the trend of creating custom content is likely going to be more important than ever. With all the changes in the digital landscape, people will be more and more selective about what they consume, as their expectations will increase.
Brands will likely spend more time creating content (and not just for their internal teams but also customers). So if you haven’t started yet, I would highly recommend that you start now! At the same time, make sure your content appeals to your audience or market segment.
3. Invest time (and money) in building a strong brand image
We live in a world where the image is everything. If you want to create a strong brand image, you need to choose the right words and the right way of communicating. Focus on generating word of mouth by providing quality service to your customers through quick communication.
While digital advertising will remain a big thing in your marketing strategy, it is essential to note that it will become more expensive as well. In fact, the price of Google Ads has been increasing every year because Google uses bidding as a way of charging. In addition, the competition to advertise online has been increasing, thus naturally, the price you pay will also grow.
You should be looking at organically raising your brand awareness. How about working on a strategy that provides long-term value to your audience? Maybe it is a video tutorial, a weekly podcast, or web content that educates and gives value, instead of shouts “buy from me now!”
4. Become a thought-leader and educate rather than hard-sell
Digital marketing experts estimate that most Americans are exposed to between 4,000 and 10,000 advertisements each day. That’s a lot of ads!
No wonder people have grown to be immune to hard-selling tactics. In fact, they turn on their defensive mode when brands start pressuring them to make the purchase.
Instead of hard-selling your products or services, educate your customers on why they need you. It has to be about convenience, and you have to show them that you can help them.
The best of the best when it comes to customer education is Apple (in my humble opinion). Their success lies in much more than nice-design phones, laptops, or tablets. They have done a tremendous job in educating the consumer.
Did you know that back in the day, the Apple iPod had a 75% market share for digital music players at the time? They depicted someone using the devices actually showing the features and helping the consumer visualize what the device was for.
Beyond well-crafted ads, Apple also offers a space for its consumers to learn about its products: its stores. The Genius Bar is where a consumer can come and explore the product, ask questions and get help if needed. The geniuses at the store seldom sell or try to convince the customers to buy something or switch from one item to another — they’d instead show the capacities of an Apple item and leave you to make the conclusions.
More and more brands, mainly digital, start to realize the power of such marketing, and we can now see more following the lead.
Hard-selling will become more and more ineffective. Instead, better redirect the energy used to develop hard-selling strategies to find ways to provide convenience and educate your audience.
5. Content is no longer the king, simplicity is
Content is king — I’m sick of this phrase. There is tons of content on the internet. How does it help?
In fact, I believe that simplicity and clarity are kings.
Consumers have become more interested in high-quality and unique content. But, unfortunately, the amount of information on the internet is enormous, and it’s becoming more and more challenging to deliver high-quality, unique content.
Consumers don’t want to see the same list of 10 things to boost productivity; what they want to see is a unique twist. It can happen through giving a unique approach to an issue or adding a personal experience and recommendation.
I know it is hard to invent new ways to boost productivity, but you can add your unique approach to being productive.
The blogging and influencer industry has grown exponentially!
Therefore, I suggest working on longer and more educational content through blog posts and articles, as they are an excellent tool for strong SEO and thought-leadership. Still, at the same time, they can be more interactive. For example, you can add quizzes, games, and questions, which tend to do exceptionally well, to your blog. All thanks to Instagram interactive stories that conquered the space.
Since the quality has been becoming more and more important, I’d avoid posting mediocre content as the expectations of today’s consumers are growing. It means that poor content will become increasingly annoying, and the consumer will tolerate it less and less.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to post every day. Better to provide higher quality content less frequently, but be sure that whatever you are delivering is relevant, engaging, and beneficial.
6. Embrace personalization
In 2022, we will have more and more channels for our customers to consume marketing content — videos, online articles, podcasts, and so on. These will be different ways for brands to communicate with their customers to engage them in their message.
I would spend some time to understand what channels my audience uses and would be there. Then, being on different channels will give you a chance to personalize your message to respective audience groups and come across in the way that’s the most appealing to them.
For example, I noticed that podcasting has been on an uptrend. Now with Clubhouse being widely famous, the trend will only increase. Indeed, not everyone will listen to your podcast, but those who do will have specific interests and objectives which you can use for your benefit. Therefore, form some sort of an audience.
Similarly, more people tend to read blog posts to learn more about businesses and products. Therefore, companies should utilize this space and appeal to this group of customers more strategically.
7. Create business-to-business content
B2B content is often neglected. I notice that many B2B businesses don’t appreciate it and base their choice on a wrong belief that “businessmen don’t search online to find answers,” thus they invest tons of time and effort in cold-calling and emailing.
The latest trend, I think, is to message people on LinkedIn. How many times did it work? In my experience, it works out very rarely. Well, at least I tend to thank them for messaging and ignore such sales tricks politely.
B2B content is essential. The trends change so fast that sometimes B2B managers also go on Google and look for ways to address these changes. I know I do it, and I know many managers who do it too.
After reading a blog post on specific solutions, the trust with the brand is built, and I’m more interested in directly talking with the representative to find out even more. Would it work out if the same brand only LinkedIn messaged me? Likely not.
I base it on intent. When I search for something online, I have the intention to fix some problems that I’m facing. When someone sends me an introductory email or messages on LinkedIn, I have no desire to explore as I don’t think about the issue.
How many prospective customers are lost because of business choosing not to do B2B content?
8. Become a better storyteller
If you follow this blog, you might know that I’m a big fan of storytelling. In 2022, everyone will be a storyteller. Even brands need to deliver their message in a way that tells stories about their products or services.
Consumers don’t want to hear how fantastic your product or service is. What they want to know is the story about the time you helped to solve a specific problem.
Many businesses still use flowery words to describe their products. What is often missing is a real-life display of the advantages that the product has.
Did your service increase productivity by 50%? Showcase it.
Did your product help to achieve a specific goal? Showcase it.
Did your product increase the fitness level of your customers? Showcase it.
Did your business solution help another business improve delivery rates by 40%? Showcase it.
Storytelling is the new way of marketing. It won’t sell directly, but it will make your customers think, “Damn, maybe I should try this out.”
9. Adopt marketing automation
In 2022, we will see more and more data-driven marketing campaigns being used across a broader scope of industries. For instance, adding marketing automation to your digital marketing strategy will make it more efficient and effective since marketers will be able to automate their workflows and spend less time on repetitive tasks.
Nevertheless, marketers will be able to build consumer profiles and nurture them down the sales funnel. The “one size fits all” approach stopped working a long time ago, and it’s high time to look at segmenting different strategies, content, and sizes based on the audience you have.
Customers are becoming much more intelligent and savvy. So if you want to remain in front of them when they search online for information about your product or service, you must track what they see online: article titles, links being shared from other websites, or social media posts about your brand that can help them in their decision-making process.
In general, it is about time to think of conversational (marketing) automation to build stronger relationships with your customers and learn more about them. Therefore, marketing automation will be essential on this journey.
10. Think outside the box
Whatever has been working for you thus far may stop working. Have it in mind.
Have you been getting lots of inquiries via social media? What is the conversion rate? Has it dropped, or has it increased? Whatever was working out in the past may produce worse results moving on.
Therefore, marketers should continuously explore and think outside the box.
Remember that consumer habits have changed due to the pandemic. Also, the competition has stepped up due to COVID-19. Therefore, take a look if the approach you’ve been using is still delivering the desired results.
It is an excellent time to think outside the box and look for more unconventional ways to market. Maybe start a partnership with another business that can complement your product? Or put more emphasis on consumer behavior analysis and strategize based on the data acquired? You can also explore new avenues for advertising, such as Quora or TikTok.
2022 will bring in some fundamental changes to the way we market. The death of the cookie is a big deal to the digital advertising that many businesses have been heavily relying on. And even though we don’t really know what impact it will bring, one thing is certain — consumers will continue becoming more demanding. That’s why it’s best to start adapting alternative advertising methods: experiment, measure, and ensure that they work.
Are you ready to cater to the growing demands? I hope so.
2022 is going to be exciting. I’m sure about that.