Where is digital marketing headed in 2022? Here are ten trends from a panel of digital marketing experts:
1. Trend: Email Most Important Channel.
Melissa Sargeant, CMO of Litmus, believes 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 marketing’s most important channel: 91% of survey respondents maintained email marketing is critical to the overall success of their company,” says Sargeant. “This is up 20 percentage points since 2019, and more than 40% of companies intend to increase their investment in 2022.”
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.
“Hindsight might be 20/20, but businesses will prioritize foresight in 2022,” says Rob Holland of Feedback Loop. “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 catastrophic 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. According to Canada Post, 92% of people surveyed read direct mail and 71% share it. 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.”
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