In 2022, the line between marketing offline and online will blur. Offline marketing will largely depend on the web for leads, and many marketing budgets will be redirected to online marketing to capture this audience.
While much attention will be paid to marketing methods, platforms, and techniques, the focus of marketing managers in 2022 will be on understanding consumers’ needs and behaviors and adapting marketing strategies to fit these shifting consumer preferences.
Here, we will explore how consumer behavior and technologies will impact marketing strategy in 2022.
Increased Focus on User Generated Content
In the past, marketing managers and strategists would have the luxury of focusing on consumer behavior, needs, and preferences, alongside marketing and communications plans developed by the agency or in-house team.
In the COVID-19 era, this luxury has been replaced by urgency. Strategy must be developed quickly, with little to no time for iteration or testing of ideas. This makes it essential that the chosen approach is one that will produce results quickly and efficiently in a cost-effective manner.
One of the fastest-growing consumer trends in 2022 will be the increasing acceptance of user-generated content. From short-form videos to infographics, consumers are seeking quick, easy, and affordable ways to get information. This is set to become the dominant method of information gathering within the next year, replacing long forms and website clicks with short videos and infographics.
In the past, we may have turned to print media and television advertisements to gain knowledge. However, in 2022, the place for learning will be the internet. This shift to digital learning has been prompted by the pandemic, as well as increased access to information and digital devices. Students now have at their fingertips the learning resources they need, and no longer do they have to depend on teacher-led learning or homework to complete assignments. The web has all the information they need, and it’s available when they want it. With increased digital literacy among the youth, it is foreseeable that future generations will lack the need to attend formal schools or get degrees to learn.
This will be a significant paradigm shift in how we educate our children, as well as how we engage with potential consumers. It will impact what we know, how we do business, and even how we think. The world of marketing will look very different in 10 years, as a result of these sweeping changes.
Shifting B2C to B2E
Even individuals, who may not work in an office setting, will be affected by the changes taking place in marketing. More and more, we will see customers taking the reins in the discovery of products and brands.
Decades of focus on attracting consumers from a certain demographic, with the corresponding advertising campaigns, will be replaced by one unifying approach.
“In the past, we focused on attracting consumers with a particular demographic profile. We advertised to men, with the assumption that women would automatically relate. However, in today’s world, we no longer rely on broad demographics to discover new products and services,” said Lisa Pinskey, Account Manager, e-commerce, Informa
“Instead, we’re seeing customers drive the discovery process, educating themselves on whatever they’re looking for and conducting their own research before purchasing a product. As a result, our marketing efforts should be tailored to fit this new consumer-led trend, instead of relying on antiquated strategies and tactics. This paradigm shift will require a complete rethinking of marketing strategy, while also providing new opportunities for companies to gain a competitive advantage.
New Data Sets and Technologies
In the past, marketers would have turned to databases and CRM systems to keep track of leads and customers. However, in the coming years, we will see the emergence of ‘Big Data’ and its various applications in marketing.
‘Big Data’ is a marketing term used to reference the vast amounts of information that can be collected and stored. This information may consist of customer details, product details, and business or marketing metrics. This data can be collected from various sources, such as mobile phones, computers, and tablets. As the amount of collected data grows, so too does the need for more efficient and streamlined approaches to analysis. This is where tools like Hootsuite Analytics, DataRobot Marketing, and Marketo come in.
Mobile phones, which collected all this data in the first place, will become even more important as marketing and communications strategies are developed to fit the small screen. With the explosion of smartphones and tablets, consumers have access to more information than ever before. While this may be helpful when seeking products and services, it also presents new challenges in terms of data storage and analysis.
To overcome these challenges, strategists and marketers will increasingly turn to tools that can help them organize, find, and analyze data in one convenient place. This will enable them to develop marketing and communications strategies in a much more effective and data-driven manner. It will also provide customers with personalized content when they are engaged with the brand.
Traditional Marketing is No Longer Optional
In the past, marketers would have had to choose between being ‘traditional’ or using emerging technologies to grow their business. With increased digital literacy, younger generations are more accustomed to using technology in their day-to-day life. This makes it easier for them to adopt new approaches to marketing and business. As a result, ‘traditional’ marketing will become obsolete.
“Innovative brands like Google, Facebook, and Amazon have created entirely new industries and customers have followed, which highlights how adaptable our consumer base has become,” said Ben Mercer, Head of Marketing, The Coffee Club
“These platforms provide marketers with the ability to target consumers based on their digital footprint, rather than relying on older methods of gathering demographic information. Through understanding their behavior and motivations, companies can craft more relevant marketing strategies that produce significant results. ‘Traditional’ marketing will no longer be a viable option for all brands.
The Rise of Virtual Shopping
In 2022, the line between marketing and shopping will largely disappear. Customers will come together in communities to explore, compare, and transact business with brands.
Brands will play a crucial role in shaping these communities. Through incorporating social media platforms, brands can listen to and interact with customers. This allows for continual learning, as well as the promotion of new products and services. These communities, which will largely take shape on social media platforms, will be places where customers can share insights about products, provide suggestions, and offer advice. In the future, virtual shopping will be the preferred method of e-commerce in the B2C (business-to-consumer) world. While still in its infancy, the use of virtual shopping and social media in e-commerce has exploded in the past year alone. According to HubSpot Blogs research, 78% of consumers had researched products or services online, before purchasing the item. Only 16% had done some of their research offline, while 6% had not begun their research at all. This is set to become the dominant method of e-commerce in the B2C world, especially among younger generations.
The Demise of SEO and Conversion Rate Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) was once considered a key component of any digital marketing plan. A SEO strategy would involve tweaking a website’s content and architecture, in order to appear higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
While SEO has become significantly more intelligent and nuanced in recent years, thanks to the work of digital marketing and SEO specialists, it has also become more expensive and less effective than ever before. This is mainly due to Google’s new algorithm, which is designed to favor websites that provide value to users.
As a result of this, SEO plays a much less prominent role in digital marketing plans in 2022. According to HubSpot Blogs research, 56% of marketers planned on cutting down on the use of SEO in their strategy, while 34% planned on maintaining their use of the tactic.
Meanwhile, the majority of respondents—63%—said that they planned on increasing the use of inbound marketing, which is defined as attracting, engaging, and delighting people to grow a business. Inbound marketing places a strong emphasis on building trust and credibility with customers, as opposed to solely pursuing sales.
The Domination of Video
Video is set to become the dominant method of online content in 2022.
According to HubSpot Blogs research, 69% of consumers reported that they had watched an explainer video to better understand or learn about a product or service. In addition, 55% of consumers had used video content to discover a product or service, while 33% used it to follow a brand or campaign.