The Single Most Important Strategy for Growth in 2022

The marketing landscape is an ever-evolving one, and staying ahead of the curve is how you get an edge on your competitors. 

In 2022, technology is going to have a huge impact on marketing. Marketers who embrace technological changes and shift to a customer-centric approach are going to see the biggest ROI.

Here are the biggest marketing trends for the year ahead. Is your business ready for them?

More Investment in Data-Led Strategies

Customers are savvy when it comes to advertising and marketing. They know when a brand is trying to sell them something and they’re okay with that – if the product or service is relevant to their interests.

Fact: 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalised experiences. Those experiences can include product recommendations, location-based content and special offer reminders.

So how do you deliver more personalised marketing to your existing and potential customers? Data, baby.

Most businesses have a treasure trove of data that they don’t know what to do with. So they are investing heavily in technologies, people and agencies that can help them to analyse the metrics they have to deliver more relevant messages, content and products to consumers.

Data-Led Marketing Case Study: Netflix

An example of a company that excels at using data to deliver personalised experiences is Netflix. Some of the brand’s customised offerings are obvious to the end user, like recommendations for shows, movies and genres based on viewing activity.

Not so obvious? Using different thumbnails of shows targeted to specific users. For example, to promote the show Stranger Things, the streaming giant created nine different thumbnails for the show. If you like horror, you were shown a scary thumbnail. If you like teen drama, you were shown an image of one of the couples. 

Netflix is a great example of the kind of innovative, personalised marketing you can do with data insights. Delivering these types of unique customer experiences is going to become more important to marketers in 2020 and beyond, especially as the use of ad blockers continue to rise. 

Increased Focus on Social Responsibility

Let’s talk about Millenials. As they get older and their buying power grows, companies are going to have to transform to meet their demands if they want to stay in business. And corporate social responsibility (CSR) is hugely important to them.

If your business doesn’t have a current focus on good corporate citizenship, it’s time to get on board. And if it does, it’s time to start incorporating the good your doing into your marketing efforts.

Consider these statistics from a 2018 Nielsen report:

  • 83 percent of Millennials say it is extremely or very important that companies implement programs to improve the environment
  • 75 percent say they definitely or probably would change their purchasing habits to reduce their impact on the environment
  • By 2021, sustainably-minded shoppers are predicted to spend up to $150 billion on sustainable goods.

Companies that focus on social responsibility will have a huge competitive advantage in 2020, and not just when it comes to marketing. Recruiting and retaining millennial talent also depends on being a good corporate citizen.

Social media is a great way to tout your CSR practices. Share your success stories. Take a stand on social issues. Don’t be afraid to share your corporate values.

CSR Case Study: Sony Australia

Sony Australia has a strong focus on CSR, and they want their customers to know it. Their Sony Foundation Australia raised and donates millions to youth-related causes. They are shooting for a zero environmental footprint by 2020, a program they call Road To Zero. And they share these milestones and activities with current and potential customers through all of their available channels.

You may not have the resources of Sony Australia, but think about what you can do on a smaller scale to make the world a better place, and then communicate it to your audience.

Intent and Interest, Not Interruption

Interruption marketing is dying, and with good reason. 

This invasive form of marketing exists across mediums: pop-up ads online, TV commercials and the dreaded telemarketing are a few examples. They force you to stop what you’re doing to pay attention to a marketing message. And consumers hate them. 

Why? They’re annoying. Who wants a video ad playing while they’re trying to read an article? No one. 

Technology has evolved to protect consumers from interruption marketing. Internet browsers can block popups, and at least 30% of Internet users use ad blockers. Streaming services like Amazon Instant Video offer commercial-free entertainment. And caller ID on smartphones tells us who is calling so we can ignore numbers we don’t recognize and avoid telemarketers.

Aside from annoying consumers, this form of marketing isn’t particularly effective. Without the advanced targeting capabilities of social media and search marketing, these messages aren’t reaching the right people. Plus, consumers have learned to tune them out.

So what’s the alternative? I’m glad you asked. Marketing that focus on interest and intent.

Interest-Based Marketing

You already know what your existing customers are interested in. It’s easy to market new products and services to them based on past purchases.

Social media marketing based on interests is much more effective than annoying pop-up or video ads on a website. You can use your customer data to create lookalike audiences based on interests, and then promote relevant content, products or services to them. 

Interest-based marketing works best with consumers who are at the top of the funnel, or the awareness stage.

Intent-Based Marketing

Intent marketing focuses on a user’s behavior, not interests. Think of it as giving a customer what they want, when they want it.

Search marketing is intent marketing. Your product, service or content answers a question or solves a problem that a user searched for information on.

Retargeting also relies on intent. If a user has clicked through an ad to visit a page on your website, they have likely considered a purchase. Reminding them of their visit helps move them further along the funnel toward conversion.

The best marketing strategy is a combination of interest and intent marketing. That way, you can capture consumers at every stage of the marketing funnel and deliver the most effective messages to them based on where they are in their customer journey. 

Death of Free-to-Air Television

Traditional television advertising isn’t dead yet, but it’s definitely doing the slow march toward its demise. If brands want to stay competitive – especially with young consumers – they need to rethink the TV commercial.

The number of Aussies using subscription video on demand services (SVOD) grew by 30% in 2018, and it’s expected to surpass premium box delivery by 2023. This is going to have a huge impact on television advertising.

Here are three things to watch out for in 2022 and beyond:

More Product Placement

Many streaming entertainment services either don’t have ads, like Netflix, or run ads on a much smaller scale than a typical television network. Instead of eight minutes of varied commercials for every 22 minutes of TV, you may see one or two brands with short messages during a show.

This means more product placement. You’ll start to see more logos and product mentions. 

Interactive Ads

As personalisation continues to grow, it only makes sense that it will extend to advertising. The technology already exists, and a handful of companies are paving the way by giving customers the opportunity to make ad choices.

Expect to see more brands finding innovative ways to make streaming ads more fun by taking a page from the mobile gaming industry. Giving viewers something to do – whether it’s answering a poll, choosing an ad or playing a game – engages them on a much deeper level than passively watching an ad.

More Targeted Ads

Streaming services have many advantages over traditional TV to benefit viewers. They can watch what they want, when they want it, and at their own pace. 

There’s a huge benefit for advertisers, too, and that’s the power of the internet. There’s a wealth of data about people who watch streaming services – much more than television stations can collect. That means better, more targeted advertising.

Cross-Channel Entertainment

Picture this: you’re streaming MasterChef Australia through your TV. You’re tweeting about it and replying to others’ tweets. You have a MasterChef app where you’re making predictions about the show. And, you’re being served ads for a MasterChef meal kit.

We’re moving to a place where we’ll be engaging with the same content across devices and platforms simultaneously. It will be a more holistic, engaging experience than simply watching a programme. 

If that all sounds overwhelming, well, it might be for some consumers. But it also gives them choice. Fans of MasterChef get to choose how they want to engage with the show. It’s a customer-designed experience, aided by available technology. 

Rise of Voice Search

Voice search is going to completely disrupt SEO, and it’s going to happen very soon. Are you ready?

57% of Australians use voice search. And as smart speaker use continues to grow, so will voice searches.

What does that mean for marketers? It means that unless you’re optimised for rank zero, your ranking doesn’t matter.

Rank zero is when a piece of your content is featured in Google’s answer box. So, when a user types in “How old is Rebel Wilson,” Google pulls that information from Wikipedia and displays “39 years” in the answer box, along with her birthday. 

In order to optimise for voice search, you need to succinctly answer the questions that your potential customers have, and you need to do it better than anyone else.

And here’s where it gets even trickier – doing voice search on different devices gives you different results. So if you come up first on an Alexa device for “how to hula hoop,” you might not have that spot on a smartphone or other smart speaker. 

When it comes to voice search, there are no prizes for second and third place. The winner takes all.

Get Ready for 2022 

The next year is going to be a continuation of some trends that are already taking shape now. 

If you’re already investing resources into the areas I’ve outlined above, then you’re in great shape. If you aren’t, you have some work to do. But don’t worry – it’s not too late.

And remember: just because a marketing strategy is trending, it doesn’t mean it’s the right strategy for your business. 

Don’t be afraid to try new things, of course. Try everything! Test everything, analyze everything. See where you’re getting the most bang for your buck, and then double down on those things. You may see your competitors embracing strategies that you’ve abandoned. Well, guess what? Those tactics may not be working for them, either. 

Know your business. Know your audience. And experiment.

What other trends are you keeping an eye on? Drop me a note below sharing your thoughts on marketing in 2022: 

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