Conversions, traffic, and awareness are all great.
They are fundamental goals of our craft. And sure, they’re necessary byproducts of what marketing DOES — without those, we won’t have a job. But HOW is the role of the marketing practitioner changing into 2022, and WHAT can we do to become better purveyors of marketing?
The nuances within industries have evolved over time as technology has improved and marketers have access to more and more user information. Now that technology is completely ingrained in every facet of content creation, campaign execution, and measurement, marketing professionals have an endless supply of options to automate all aspects of their work.
Before we explore what’s changing, here’s what’s remained consistent (and will never change): the need for humans to create valuable, immersive content experiences that attract target audiences, and generate memorable, meaningful moments for each consumer.
That said, here’s three ways marketing has expanded and shifted into 2022.
#1. Remote Work, a (Not So) New Normal, & the Move from Physical-to-Online Shopping
64% of US employees are working from home as a result of all that’s been transpiring in the world, according to research conducted by SHRM’s COVID-19 Business Index.
Our global marketing team has long embraced a flexible work policy, but we now have more people working remotely than in our worldwide offices, and productivity has become better as a result.
“The closure of physical stores for U.S. retailers during lockdown demanded that brands reconsider their strategies to reach customers on a genuine, 1:1 basis.”
– Alex Timlin, Head of Customer Experience Solutions, Go To Market at SAP
As long as work gets completed and clients are happy, it doesn’t matter when or where our teams get their work done.
This theme runs throughout every department including Sales, Customer Support, Finance, and R&D.
As a shameless plug, retailers we work with have also benefited: 60 brands piloting new features have saved 443 hours of work since February 2020. Our global brands have been consistently boosting the bottom line since the pandemic (due, in part, to our Summer Release) in these ways:
- With our campaign Template update, it now takes one minute to update 10 campaigns
- To distribute campaigns across sub-accounts, our end-users can duplicate three programs in one minute
- For more transparent billing, marketers can check their billing dashboard with forecasts in under two minutes
- End users are saving18 minutes per program with our Automation editor enhancements
- Using the combined segment editor enhancements, it now takes 10 minutes (from 45 minutes) to create complex segments
Although paradoxical, it’s not surprising at all that forward-looking brands are increasing time-to-value, redicomg customer acquisition costs, ando generating revenue with minimal disruption since COVID began.
The natural conclusion is a wholehearted commitment to e-commerce – an approach which has been hugely successful for many businesses already.
Related: 10 Tips for the Future of Retail Marketing in 2021
#2. Everything’s Going towards AI, VR/AR, & Quantum Computing
Everything is going digital across every industry, and data is the juice fueling it all.
The medical and healthcare industries, for instance, rely on AI to understand aspects of the virus and to get real-time suggestions to contain it. An AI algorithm called ‘red dot®’ is using chest X-rays of infected patients and finding clues as to how badly infected people are, rapidly speeding up diagnosis.
COVID also offers a rationale for the implementation of non-human interactions; so look for robotics and driverless cars to become the talk of the town (self-driving car companies like Tesla, Waymo, and even Uber are working on building fully autonomous cars).
Remember the Pokemon Go craze back in 2017? Fans latched onto it like an addiction, proving how AR can be used and the appeal it can have. Industry leaders have been heralding the arrival of VR for years, and yet it’s just now taking form.
In truth, the practical applications of VR and AR are still a little ambiguous for many brands. However, the opportunity for engagement with VR and AR, particularly for savvy stores who’ve survived the last two years, will be interesting to see.
Related: 3 Ways to Future-Proof Your Digital Marketing
As AI takes shape in more ways going into 2022, the role of marketers shifts slightly from doer to manager; from creator to coordinator (except for the strategy and content which will always need people); from time-consuming, trivial task practitioner to teller-of-the-machine what to do.
#3. Realness, Authenticity, Self-Awareness & Personalized Marketing in an Era of Fake News
Trust of the media dropped 8% between 2020 and 2021. In 2020, only 29% of US adults said they generally believe what they see in the trust news (I know I don’t). And 52% of Americans say they regularly encounter fake news online.
Stats for brand trust aren’t much better.
So, we have to be better! We have to earn trust back – or watch our brand equity painfully decay.
Marketers are realizing this truth en masse and changing up how they share their message. Spurred, in part, by data regulations like GDPR, we’re seeing a move from traditional marketing methods (like invasive advertising) to more authentic methods, including:
- Video. Marketers are exploring short-form multimedia content and becoming personal with their audiences by “going live,” using Clubhouse and other voice networks, and sending actual 1:1 self-recorded messages to prospects.
- Native Content + Social Commerce. In-stream promoted content does infinitely better than pushing your brand in consumers’ faces. Social commerce is the next era of soft selling, revealing branded content and showcasing products natively on social media platforms.
- Personalized Marketing. Opt-in restrictions and personal data regulations are becoming more stiff as transparency, privacy, and trust are the primary qualities marketers must show (not spout, not tell, not pretend to care about). True personalization caters only to what users, subscribers, and consumers want to receive and no more.
Marketers can not (morally or legally) abuse the data (or desires) consumers share. It’s not acceptable to shower unwanted — and, now, un-opted-in-for content — upon our beloved users.
Catering to customers in this new age of data privacy will go a long way in ensuring brand trust, compliance, and business growth.
So, if marketers want to continue to thrive and survive, then they’ll need to roll with the changing times. Overall trends that are important to understand as we move into 2022 include:
- The rise of the digital economy
- Hyper-personalization and 1:1 marketing (plus the decline of old mass marketing models)
- How to effectively use customer data to power AI machines and to prove that we know and respect consumers
The pace of innovation is quick… and no industry moves quicker than digital marketing. Retailers, brand marketers, and e-commerce teams can boost efficiency and business sustainability by shifting with the tide. It’s mission-critical to do so.
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