If you work or even dabble, in marketing you’ll know trends are constantly changing and evolving. Keeping up with new technology and crazes can be a challenge, so in this post, we analyze the 11 best marketing strategies in 2022 and beyond. What can marketers expect? And what new marketing techniques will be the most effective in the coming years? Read on to learn about the best digital marketing trends and how you can implement them in your business.
1. Conversational marketing
What is conversational marketing?
It’s where users interact and have conversations with brands through chatbots and voice assistants. It’s also commonly used in online marketing campaigns, with click-to-messenger being one of the most popular options for paid advertising. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are the main technologies behind conversational marketing.
Why is it so effective?
Recent studies by IBM found that 70% of users expect instant answers to their questions and queries. From a marketer‘s point of view, it’s a powerful way of driving engagement, which in turn boosts conversion rates and increases return on investment (ROI). It also makes the sales process more agile, as chatbots, through AI, can pre-screen prospects and send only qualified leads to the sales team. And in the age of data-driven digital advertising, conversational marketing helps collect a broader range of audience information.
From a consumer’s perspective, conversational marketing helps build trust and improves the customer experience. A survey by Salesforce found that 42% of consumers don’t trust brands, and this is often down to a lack of responsiveness or slow customer service. By leveraging conversational marketing, brands provide instant responses at different touchpoints and this increases loyalty and brand buy-in.
How to implement conversational marketing in your business
There is a wide range of tools available to take advantage of conversational marketing. On social media channels, like LinkedIn and Facebook, click-to-messenger are perfect ways to drive conversations with customers. While on websites, live chats and WhatsApp messaging buttons are popular conversational marketing devices.
2. Highly personalized content experience
What is a highly personalized content experience?
As the name suggests, it’s content that’s personalized and tailored to each individual user. Amazon, Netflix, Spotify, and Facebook are examples of well-known brands that effectively personalize content to each user. When you log on to Amazon, the home page content displays products likely to interest you based on your previous purchases and browsing history. Netflix makes movies and series recommendations based on your viewing history and preferred genres, while Spotify does the same with music. And social media giant Facebook uses algorithms to determine what type of content to show on your newsfeed.
Why is it so effective?
Highly personalized content is trending more than ever following the Covid-19 pandemic, lockdowns, and increasingly virtual living. Studies by Hubspot found that 74% of online consumers get frustrated by content that seemingly has nothing to do with their interests. Experts believe that so much time spent on devices consuming content during the lockdowns of 2020 has made society almost “immune” to content.
So, by personalizing content, brands help stand out and speak to their ideal customers in a way that’s relevant to them. Hubspot also analyzed data from nearly 100,000 call-to-action buttons (CTAs) throughout the course of a year, and found that personalized CTAs received 43% more click thoughts than generic ones.
How to implement personalized content in your business
To provide highly personalized content, businesses need to be proactive in collecting consumer data and have strong data analysis, AI technology, and CRM platforms. By personalizing content, brands build stronger relationships with their audience, which helps drive engagement and conversions.
3. Experiential Marketing
What is experiential marketing?
Experiential marketing, as the name suggests, is a trend that focuses on creating a brand-based user experience, and not just a product-based one. Experiences vary by brand and sector, but corporate events, webinars, competitions are some of the most common examples of experiential marketing.
Let’s take tech giant Apple, a brand often regarded as a pioneer in this type of publicity. They’ve recently been running their famous “photo-walks” in which an Apple employee guides consumers around a neighborhood and teaches them how to take photos with their iPhone. The brand also runs its annual Worldwide Developers’ Conference, its biggest event of the year, in which it brings together thousands of programmers from across the globe to discuss the latest trends.
Why is it so effective?
Experiential marketing serves for customers to engage with the brand and experience its values and personality, and not just its product. According to research by salesforce, 84% of consumers prefer to be treated as a person and not a number. So by creating memories, brands strengthen the personal connection between product and emotion which increases brand buy-in and conversions.
How to implement experiential marketing in your business
Experiential marketing should form part of any brand’s marketing strategy, no matter the size of the business. Of course, small businesses don’t have the budgets to run large events like Apple, but that doesn’t mean they can’t create unique experiences for their market segmentation. Small-scale local and online events are common examples of experiential marketing used by SMEs and startups.
To be successful at experiential marketing, businesses need to know their audience and define clear and measurable objectives for their experiences. Building email subscriber lists, increasing social media following, and driving sales are some of the more common objectives in experiential marketing.
4. Influencer Marketing
What is influencer marketing?
Similar to celebrity endorsements, It’s where brands use influencers for their marketing campaigns through social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram. It’s by no means a new trend but has gained significant traction in the past few years for its simplicity. Influencers (including micro-influencers) post content in which they interact with a brand, either by using one of its products or services or engaging with employees.
Why is it so effective?
Influencer marketing usually yields better results than traditional celebrity endorsements given the “engagement factor”: people interact with influencers, and so are more likely to react to the marketing campaign. For example, Amazon subsidiary Audible, which specializes in ebook subscriptions, worked with photography influencer Jesse Driftwood. Although he has less than 100,000 followers on Instagram, Amazon saw he had loyal fans with high levels of engagement. Driftwood’s posts about Audible received high engagement rates, with users leaving comments like “that is a good idea” and “can’t wait to give it a try”.
Influencer marketing also plays on consumer behavior and psychology, such as recommendations. Market research firm Nielsen found that 83% of consumers trust personal recommendations more than traditional digital advertising, so influencers are the perfect way for brands to create persona recommendations this en masse.
Social media influencers also specialize in a particular niche and have followers with certain types of interest. For marketers, this means more targeted advertising, which helps reduce ad spend. For example, National Geographic recently teamed up with wildlife photography influencers for a social media marketing campaign. And of course, their followers will naturally be interested in the National Geographic brand as they’re interested in wildlife photographhy.
How to implement influencer marketing in your business
Brands should source influencers who post content related to their product or industry for the best results. Marketers can use hashtags to find influencers themselves through different social media platforms or work with influencer agencies. As with all marketing campaigns, brands should define their objectives and target audience before contacting influencers. Influencers posting photos and videos of themselves using a brand’s product or service is the most popular type of influencer marketing content.
5. Continued Digital Transformation
What is continued digital transformation in marketing?
It’s how companies adapt their business models, products, and internal structures to new, digital-driven consumer trends. In marketing, digital transformation meant businesses changing their marketing mix to more digital channels, moving away from print advertising to social media, for example. Continued digital transformation in marketing for 2021 and beyond refers to how businesses leverage new technology to optimize their marketing efforts and improve customer experience.
Why is it so effective?
Continued digital transformation in marketing means more data-driven campaigns and optimization which leads to higher conversions, lower ad spend, and greater ROI – something that’s not possible with traditional advertising. According to research, 86% of businesses claim customer acquisition costs (CPA) have increased over the past two years. To help reduce CPA, brands need to focus on improving user experience and increasing customer retention.
Amazon’s Alexa is a prime example of customer-focussed digital transformation. Let’s say you want to order your favorite variety of coffee. You no longer need to go online and search for it, you simply tell Alexa “order my favorite coffee” and Amazon, through artificial intelligence-powered voice search, will take care of the rest. This is known as “headless commerce” and is a perfect example of how brands leverage technology to improve user experience and retain customers.
How to implement continued digital transformation in your business
Continued digital transformation doesn’t have to be as sophisticated as Alexa. In smaller businesses and startups, marketers have a wide range of tools at their disposal to continue digital transformation in their brands. Google Analytics, A/B testing, customer data platforms (CDP) are all examples of digital transformation in marketing.
6. New Social Media Trends
What are the new social media trends for 2022?
Video content and social selling are the most trending new features on popular social media platforms for 2022 and beyond. With the rise of TikTok, video and Livestream have become more popular than ever. Indeed, Instagram launched Reels in 2020, in what many social media experts consider an attempt to counter TikTok’s dominance in the video space.
And social selling has been trending since Facebook launched Shops throughout its network in May 2020. Brands can now use social media like e-commerce websites, uploading the products to be purchased directly through the platform.
Why are these new social media trends so effective?
In the case of video, studies show that audiovisual content is 40 times more likely to be shared than non-audiovisual posts. And video is the most clicked type of advertising, receiving better engagement than text and image-only ads. And 80% of consumers prefer to watch videos rather than read content when considering a purchase. With stats like these, it’s clear to see that consumers engage more with video, and so marketers can use this to their advantage when planning campaigns. Some social media experts even claim videos can increase conversions by up to 30%.
For social selling, market research shows that 87% of consumers believe social media helps them make buying decisions. Typically, consumers would research products through social media, looking at reviews and content, before proceeding to purchase on a company’s website. With new shopping functionality on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, consumers can purchase products directly through the platform. This makes for an easier and more streamlined customer journey, which in turn increases conversions. In China, stats show that 70% of Gen Z consumers purchase directly through social media.
How to implement new social media trends in your business
While there are high-tech cameras and clever editors, really anyone with a smartphone can record a video for social media. Marketers can repurpose evergreen content to create videos, and make use of Stories, Reels, and Lives to drive engagement. Social media teams should analyze audience data to determine the best types of content and times of day to post for the best results. And avoid the common mistake of trying to be on all channels, and instead focus on the platforms most used by your audience. For social selling, marketing teams should go to their account settings to configure shops and upload their products for sale.
What are the new e-commerce trends for 2022?
We’ve already touched on some new e-commerce trends in this article: selling on social media, personalization, headless e-commerce, and conversational marketing. Other new trends include virtual reality, visual search, and shop local.
Virtual reality is trending as it addresses a common objection to buying online: they fear the product will be different from the photos. Interactive 3D and 360° photos help users visualize the product better, while some retailers share user-created videos of their products to help boost conversions. Similarly, AI-powered visual search displays images of products when users enter search terms.
“Shop Local” has become a popular trend due to the devastating effects of the pandemic on local businesses. Consumers now increasingly opt to buy from independent retailers, as opposed to big brands to help support their recovery.
Why are these new trends so effective?
E-commerce boomed in 2020 owing to the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic and the closure of retail stores. In the UK, May 2020 saw a huge 61% increase in e-commerce sales compared to May 2019. Even with the world reopening, consumer behavior has changed and the penetration of e-commerce is expected to grow further.
Virtual reality and visual search are boosting conversions due to the simple fact that humans respond better to visual, rather than text, content. Google claims visual content receives 94% more clicks, while AI firm Vizenze claims 62% of millennials favor visual over text search.
65% of consumers now prefer to buy from brands that support sustainability, and local businesses tend to be more agile in this: they have a lower carbon footprint and energy consumption compared to big brand retailers.
How to implement new e-commerce trends in your business
There are a few simple changes businesses can make to boost conversions through visual content. Switching images from JPEG and PNG to WebP format will improve image quality and loading speed. Asking customers to submit photos and videos of them using products is an effective way of combining social proof with visual content to increase conversions. As for sustainability, businesses should support green initiatives like carbon offsetting and reduced packaging.
8. Programmatic Advertising
What is programmatic advertising?
In simple terms, programmatic advertising is the automation of buying digital advertising space. Traditionally, marketing teams would need to create proposals, negotiate and sign contracts. But through programmatic advertising, brands can bid for ad space within milliseconds, freeing up marketers to spend more time on campaign optimization rather than administration. Many brands are now assigning up to 50% of their ad budgets to programmatic advertising, and the trend is expected to exceed $100 billion in 2022.
Why is it so effective?
Programmatic advertising facilitates real-time data analysis and audience targeting. Google used programmatic advertising to promote its search app and reached up to 30% more people with a 30% lower cost per thousand impressions (CPM). Through programmatic advertising, brands enjoy more agile and automated ad buying, which saves employee time and increases ROI.
Programmatic advertising works across a wide range of networks and ad exchanges, allowing businesses to increase their reach and target their audience with more relevant ads. This helps drive conversions and brand awareness.
How to implement programmatic advertising in your business
To run programmatic ads, businesses first need to choose a demand-side platform (DSP) to set budgets. Popular DSPs include Media Math and Adform. Then, as with all digital advertising campaigns, marketers need to define their campaign’s objectives and KPIs, the creative format, and the target audience. Then once in circulation, marketers should use data to see trends and optimize their campaigns for better results.
9. Adoption of automation
What is automation in marketing?
Automation in marketing is the use of technology to automate marketing and advertising efforts. During the last year, the pandemic has accelerated the use of technology in the workplace, and automation has taken center stage in all business processes, not just marketing. It may sound technical and complex, but automation in marketing is quite simple. Automated email sequences in sales funnels, scheduled social media posts, and email order updates are all everyday examples of automation in marketing.
Why is it so effective?
Marketing automation allows brands to scale their efforts to reach higher volumes of traffic. 30% of business owners claim the biggest benefit to automation is time-saving. Their marketing teams no longer need to waste time undertaking repetitive takes, and instead can focus on optimization and content creation. Automation also allows marketing teams to streamline their omnichannel marketing into one platform, removing the need to upload content and engage with their communities on each different social media channel. This increases productivity, which directly correlates to increased ROI and conversion rates.
It also allows businesses to collect and analyze greater amounts of customer data much quicker than a human could. This means brands can quickly build a panoramic view of their sales cycle and customer journey, exposing gaps and weak points in the process.
How to implement automation in your business
To get the most out of automation, marketers should map out their customer journey and sales cycle and identify steps that can be automated. Once identified, brands should set SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timed) to determine the success of automation. Finally, try out different automation platforms, like MailChimp for email marketing, SproutSocial for social media, and Google Analytics for data analysis.
10. Artificial Intelligence
What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
AI is where machines and computers undertake tasks that require human intelligence, such as decision making and speech recognition. In marketing and advertising, AI leverages historic sales and marketing data to predict the customer’s next step in the sales cycle. This allows marketers to optimize their customer journey, improving weak points and gaps in the process.
AI is increasingly being used to help marketers with creative tasks, such as headline and copy creation, logo designs, and email newsletter generation. It analyses data from past customer interactions to “learn” how to carry out these tasks effectively and create relevant content.
As we’ve already discussed in this post, AI is the driving technology behind new digital marketing trends like personalized content and chatbots. You can read more about it in this post here.
Why is it so effective?
Put simply, AI allows marketers to analyze, interpret and understand infinite amounts more customer data than humans can. This allows teams to have a far greater understanding of how their target audience behaves. By using this data to predict a customer’s next move, marketers can create new campaigns with more targeted outreach, which in turn increases conversions and ROI. A recent study by consulting firm PwC found that 72% of CMOs consider AI to be a “considerable advantage”.
AI and automation take care of repetitive and time-consuming tasks, which frees up marketing teams to focus on optimization and strategy.
How to implement artificial intelligence in your business
The most popular marketing-related software these days leverage AI, so implementing it is a case of adopting the right tool for your business. And this depends on your firm’s goals and objectives. Chatbot software, AI-powered PPC campaigns, and AI content creation tools are all common examples of marketing software in use in 2021.
11. Direct Mail
What is direct mail?
Direct mail refers to physical marketing material that’s mailed directly to a potential customer’s home, hence the name: direct mail. Examples include brochures and letters with special offers. Compared to the other points in this article, direct mail bucks the trend in the sense it isn’t digital but rather print-based marketing. However direct mail plays an increasingly important part in omnichannel marketing strategies in 2021, with research showing 70% of people engage with a brand online after receiving direct mail from them.
Postcards have become one of the most effective direct mail formats in 2021: with no envelope and short content, they’re much more likely to be read than letters and brochures. It’s also more cost-effective than sending traditional mail. Short copy is another trend, with research finding that direct mail has on average 62% fewer words in 2021 when compared to 2014. The average word count for direct mail in 2021 was just 500 words.
Why is it so effective?
Direct mail is making a comeback due to changing consumer behavior. With the content marketing boom and remote working becoming the new normal, many consumers have become “numb” to digital marketing campaigns. Studies show that 70% of consumers value direct mail for its authenticity and personal nature that makes them feel valued. The same study also found that 56% of physical mail remains in homes for more than 28 days after being received and this naturally increases brand exposure. The sensory nature of direct mail also helps make it effective.
How to implement direct mail in your business
To run a successful direct mail campaign, marketers first need to define their objectives: increased sales, website visits, and social media followings are some of the most common goals of direct mail. It’s also important to define how it integrates with online marketing channels and where it would be most effective in the customer journey. Due to postage and print, direct mail is a costlier way of advertising, so marketing teams need to ensure they have the data and tools necessary to ensure its effectiveness. It’s a good idea to test out and optimize different direct mail campaigns on a small group of customers before targeting a larger audience. Consider using QR codes in your copy to guide the customer to your online channels.