Marketing Trends For 2022
The last 18 months had a tremendous impact on shaping our habits as consumers. This year we saw digital become even more embedded in marketing and buying processes, and there's no reason for that to change. If anything, it will be galvanised going forwards. Keeping this in mind, here are some recommendations for how to integrate marketing trends for 2022 into your strategy.
Focus on customer retention
While digital marketing will become even more critical, more businesses offering online services breeds competition, along with oases of opportunity that are under-served or under-marketed. Businesses therefore should keep customer lifetime value at the core of their strategy. It costs far less to keep existing customers than to acquire new ones, so consider what it is that keeps your customers loyal, and how you can increase the value of that relationship – for both customer benefit and growth generation.
Providing a great customer experience is a key part of keeping your customers coming back for more. This involves excellence at every touchpoint, whether your business is digital only or has a physical location such as a shop, office, or showroom. The ladder of loyalty is all about increasing the amount of trust your audience has in your brand, which demonstrates the importance of investing time and energy into an excellent customer experience. Poor experiences can move your customers down the ladder, while positive experiences provide a 'leg up' to the next step. However, remember that the way you respond to these situations can also turn a potentially negative situation into a better outcome, particularly if your customer-facing staff go above and beyond to rectify any issues.
The very first step on the ladder, your prospects are people who are likely to buy from you, but have not yet done so. They may be researching several businesses at once, so your content articulating the benefits of your offering is key in convincing them to buy for the first time.
A customer is a person that has made a purchase before, but is not certain to do so again. Negative experiences with your brand will alienate them quickly.
The middle rung of the ladder is the client, somebody who has made repeat purchases, but may not hold a strong opinion about your brand. They view your business as a means to an end, and are led by the specific selling points of your products or services rather than overall brand messaging.
A supporter is likely to buy from you when you introduce new products or services, as they are already familiar with your brand. They are passive, meaning that their input is chiefly personal rather than recommending your brand to others.
The holy grail of customer loyalty, an advocate for your brand will bring you qualified referrals, and is a 'brand champion'. They virtually do your marketing for you, using word of mouth to promote your services or products, and enhancing trust in your brand by providing testimonials. It will take a lot for advocates to move down the ladder.
Listen to your audience
The next in our list of marketing trends for 2022 is listening to your audience. With a renewed emphasis on content in the new year, auditing your audience to ensure your content is reaching (and resonating with) your key segments is essential. It may well be that the customers who you want to talk to cannot hear you. Equally, expect that people who engage with your business may also be inquisitive about your competitors, creating a risk that your brand could become lost in all the marketing noise.
This does not necessarily mean that your strategy should hinge on social media and marketing communications. Social platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, these can change at any moment - so even while they play a role in building relationships and promoting to your market, the core of your marketing strategy must reside with your website content and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy.
Create data-driven strategies
Finding new ways to appeal to your audience should include generating and collecting data. An email list, for example, remains relevant even in 2022. Inboxes are a personal space, and if customers opt to let you in, you’re likely to get their attention with content that is relevant to their interests, personality, or previous purchases.
Online events (such as webinars or livestreams) are also a great way to spread the word about your business to your existing clients as well as potential new ones and provide opportunities for data collection on the audience attending. The digital space offers a low-cost platform to experiment with these online marketing tools, but ensure that any activities align with your brand values and customer perception to avoid any dissonance, and are integrated as part of a strategy of analysis, planning, implementation and measurement.
Create relevant content
Lastly, expect that content marketing will become more important. Perhaps one of the most important marketing trends for 2022, businesses will need to learn about their consumers more than ever to create content that resonates with them, and converts them from prospects to buyers, and even to brand advocates. We are seeing the rise of consumer to consumer marketing (C2C) on platforms such as Instagram and eBay, along with a renewed focus on supporting independent and local businesses. This means that bringing people to the forefront of your brand will help to humanise your product or service offering, and to build a brand that can create engaging content.
In summary, to compete in a crowded 'brandscape' in 2022, develop a strategy that provides long-term value to your audience, is proactive rather than reactive, and is sustainable throughout what promises to be another interesting year for marketing around the globe.