In 2020 and 2021, the global COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted nearly every aspect of the economy, from disrupting supply chains and reducing consumer confidence to causing mass closures and layoffs. To confront the challenges of this unpredictable, high-pressure environment and continue operating successfully, business owners have been forced to be agile. For many, this meant implementing bold, innovative tactics. Companies across the world rapidly shifted to digital channels, established ecommerce stores, experimented with fresh marketing strategies, invested in research and technology, and automated production tasks.
Adopting new product, business, and operating models allowed these companies to not only survive but thrive. Those unopposed to innovation solidified their brands, expanded their online presence, and found new ways to engage and convert prospects. They made their companies more efficient, achieved higher resolution rates for customer issues, and saved millions of dollars in the process. Ultimately, the kind of progress that would normally take decades was made in only two years. As we begin 2022, this trend of exponential growth shows no signs of slowing down. Consumer demand for online goods and services has never been higher, yet companies report that they were able to digitize their activities 20 to 25 times faster than they thought possible.
Entering a new year filled with uncertainty may seem intimidating, but you can take certain steps now to ensure you are positioned to take full advantage of growing opportunities. In fact, researchers from McKinsey Global Institute found that businesses have the potential to accelerate their annual productivity growth by one percent between now and 2024. Remarkably, this potential growth is even higher than pre-pandemic rates.
Expert Tips for Digital Marketing Success
With the expert advice below, you can stay apprised of cutting-edge digital marketing trends and craft fresh, relevant content that engages and converts your audience. In 2022, our experts are:
- Prioritizing Videos, Audio, and Short Form Content
Recent research shows that 80% of consumers prefer to watch video rather than reading written posts. Another 54% of consumers want to see more video content from brands they support in the upcoming year. In 2022, experts report that the average person will spend 100 minutes each day watching online videos—this translates to approximately one million videos per second, primarily on YouTube, TikTok, and Twitch. Marketers who utilize video ads on landing pages can increase conversion rates by almost 80% and increase revenue 49% faster than sites without video.
Podcasts have also experienced a surge in popularity as more users consume content from home. There are currently over 2 million podcasts streaming in the US, and the average consumer listens to about eight podcasts per week. Data collected by Edison Research and Triton Digital shows that 162 million US citizens aged 13 and older have listened to a podcast, up from 11 million in 2006.
“I think video content is only going to become more important to B2B entities. Finding a way to tell your story in 15-30 second sound bites will be an effective way to reach an audience which is inundated with messages throughout each and every day.”
“Our 2022 marketing strategy will have an increased focus on using video to drive engagement, both in advertising and our social media strategy. We’re also planning on working more closely with HR to create content that can be used in the hiring process, like explainer videos, TikToks, and other social media posts.”
“With the emergence of audio-first social platforms and the ever-growing popularity of podcasts as the go-to for news, storytelling, professional tips, personal coaching, and more, not including audio as an arm of your marketing strategy would be a mistake going into the new year. These audio-focused tools allow your audience to connect with your brand authentically and in ways not afforded by solely traditional visual marketing.”
“In the year 2022, our marketing strategy will focus more on creating short-form content. This is because we noticed a trend in social media where most people want to digest information fast due to their busy schedules. Next month, we are planning to add business podcasts and short audio clips to our content and will continue doing this until next year if we get good results.”
Chief Marketing Officer, Surf Gear Lab
“We’re going to be spending the same as previous years (in line with inflation) but allocating more budget to digital channels. [Our strategy will] be a lot more focused on digital channels, specifically TikTok and Instagram where we can leverage the power of short videos and influencers.”
- Holding Online Events, Demos, and Product Launches
Over the past few years, many companies were forced to cancel live events, demos, and product launches due to widespread lockdowns. Even though multiple factors will allow people to attend in-person events throughout 2022, the convenience and accessibility of digital experiences has transformed event planning. A 2021 survey of over 8,000 marketers across the globe found that 40% of events are organized as virtual events in 2022, an increase of 35% from 2020. 20% of worldwide trade shows will be organized as virtual events, and 37% of marketers in the US are primed to increase their virtual event spending.
“Investing in online events such as webinars and product launches seems the most effective way to reach out to existing clients and potential new ones. Another strategy will be to directly gather data on the audience attending the event, which can be used to develop consumer profiles to sell products directly to them. This will help build a stronger relationship with the audience.”
CEO, Gadget Review
“We believe live-streamed tech demos can be a big standout, especially if we’re demoing some of the newest tech. People experience some level of FOMO when they see a broadcast is live, and they want to tune in just to make sure they aren’t missing anything interesting.”
- Directly Communicating with Customers
Consumers recognize that they are living their lives very differently now, and their expectations for interactions with businesses have changed dramatically as a result. In general, many consumers feel more vulnerable than ever, and this has led them to be more thoughtful and selective in their purchasing decisions. In 2022, consumers want clear communication, a customized experience, and interactions that are as effortless as possible. Promptly respond to reviews—both positive and negative—to show that you care about their feedback and will work to keep them happy.
Providing customers with the individualized attention they crave and demonstrating that you understand their unique needs, preferences, and circumstances is crucial for making them feel valued. Even more importantly, you’ll be giving them back a much-needed sense of control.
Chief Marketing Officer, Buddy
“The main must-do in our marketing efforts in 2022 will be to focus on direct communication with our customer base. Going to where our clients go (like developer hubs) and speaking to them in an honest, jargon-free, and mutually intelligible manner saves a great deal of budget. So long as we know what we’re talking about, it means our outreach is that much more effective.”
“In 2022, it’s all about reviews, reviews, reviews. We’ve found that since the pandemic, the quality and quantity of reviews and feedback has increased. People have more time to share their thoughts, which is a boon if you’re ready to facilitate their comments. More reviews are coming one way or another, so be ready!”
- Demonstrating Brand Voice and Values to Gain Loyalty
A positive reputation has always been necessary for businesses hoping to attract prospects, convert them into paying customers, and retain their loyalty. However, today’s consumers rank integrity as the number one factor when deciding whether to interact with a brand. 80% of people prefer to buy from brands with beliefs and values that align with their own, and 56% say that the company’s moral and environment practices are crucial for securing their business.
Brands must take social and ethical responsibilities seriously, present a trustworthy voice in their marketing material, and show a strong commitment to improving their local communities. Not only are consumers gravitating towards ethical retailers, but 90% are willing to pay more for their offerings.
“Cohesive branding with a strong, engaging brand voice and message to engage and incentivize a user is crucial for a successful demand acquisition plan. Ask yourself: ‘Can my audience recognize my branding if I removed my logo?’ If the answer is no, your branding is not strong enough to beat your competition or leave a lasting impression.”
Chief Marketing Office, Frank Recruitment Group
“People are interested in more than just your product or service now—they want to be emotionally invested in your story. Do your values reflect theirs? Do you align with them and where they want to be? Is your brand’s digital footprint spotless, and is there a level of customer service that’s so high it turns your customers into advocates who do your work for you?”
“Quite simply, success in 2022 means being SEO-conscious and highly present on social media platforms. Additionally, social consciousness and authenticity have become more and more important. The ability to [touch on] these areas within your marketing platform will vastly contribute to your success.”
Head of Marketing, Passport Photo Online
“Gaining backlinks from the best websites to prove to Google that our website matters will not be the primary objective of any marketer anymore. They will strive to gain customers’ loyalty. Only a valuable online presence with content that generates their links will make a difference.”
- Making Offerings More Affordable and Accessible
Within the past two years, consumer purchasing patterns have shifted from discretionary spending to buying the essentials and rebuilding their financial safety nets. With 49% of consumers emphasizing saving rather than spending, this poses a sizable challenge for companies that are trying to reach and convert new customers. Implementing strategies like payment plans, exclusive discount programs, and other incentives can encourage customers who are on the fence to make the investment in your offerings. Improving accessibility and removing unnecessary obstacles drives sales, strengthens your reputation, and increases brand loyalty.
“Offer payment plans to convert your customers. Here’s what you have to factor in—people may haves less to spend now than before Covid. Businesses have failed, jobs have been lost and medical bills have racked up. Offering a payment plan means you close the sale as opposed to the customers walking away because they cannot afford you.”
Marketing Manager, Tanzanite Jewelry Designs
“In 2021, the business launched a financing option to the ecommerce website. Customers can now purchase items and pay over weeks/months instead of immediately through their credit card or PayPal. One unique surprise is that the business has seen this payment option being used on orders of less than $100 (small items), which tells you that any retailer could take advantage of this service, no matter the average sale.”
“In 2022, I would like to run exclusive deals and offers as businesses begin to reopen. It will be a top-notch way to get people interested in arriving by providing such extraordinary sales deals or promotions. This strategy will be different from previous years as I provide lucrative discounts and freebies for incentivizing customers.”
- Incorporating New Marketing Strategies
As companies juggle in-person transactions and online channels, they have had to re-think or completely transform their marketing strategies to reach prospects with the best possible experience. Looking forward to the upcoming year, it is no longer sufficient to keep doing things just because “that’s the way we’ve always done it”—keeping up with the competition means continuously improving your strategies.
76% of customers expect ecommerce services, so if you don’t have an online store set up, now is the time to do so—regardless of your niche. Set clear, actionable goals, establish a solid marketing campaign around these goals, and use analytics and reporting to keep track of your progress. Then, determine which tactics are working well, identify any weaknesses, and incorporate new strategies with the greatest potential for a solid 2022.
“Our company is planning to focus more on content marketing as a way to secure new leads instead of paid advertising. Our smaller content marketing efforts have been much more successful. We plan to stop paid advertising altogether and use the money saved from that to help with content creation.”
“I’d personally recommend Native Advertising as your next testing ground. We began that this year and have seen results we would have never believed.”
CEO, Lawn Love
“We’ll be pursuing PPC local ads more aggressively in 2022. We want to hit the ground running with that and really make the most of people utilizing local search again.”
Sales & Marketing Manager, Premier Title Loans
“We will not repeat last year’s mistake by sticking to in-store shopping and instead turn our business into an online retail store. To make 2022 a successful year for us, we are going to implement the following methods: online transactions and inclusion of debit/credit cards as payment options, tech to support our content and products, shifting to complete digitization, and focusing on data analysis.”
“Since Chrome is ending third-party cookies by 2022, zero-party data will be our focus—quizzes, surveys, and other aspects in the interactive section of our website. Basically, trying to understand the consumers without tracking their activities on the web and with their wholehearted consent.”
- Experimenting with AI and Automation
Competing in a fast-paced digital environment requires a high level of customization, attention to detail, and operational efficiency. Today’s artificial intelligence (AI) technologies can provide serious returns for businesses, from better understanding prospects and giving them the best customer experience to streamlining ecommerce and improving financial performance.
In a McKinsey Global Survey of business owners conducted in 2021, 57% of respondents from emerging economies have adopted AI in at least one business function, up from 45% in 2020. 27% report that at least 5% of their earnings before interest and taxes were attributable to AI, and nearly two-thirds say they plan to continue increasing their investment over the next three years. Invest in technologies that can be deployed in a few months, such as cloud-based data platforms and application programming interfaces (APIs).
“Automation and AI continue to be a priority and focus. While this trend isn’t new, it continues to become more prevalent each year. Google hasn’t been shy about their desire around this push to automation either. Becoming more familiar with automation and how it can benefit your campaigns and accounts is wise.”
“In 2022, we plan on enhancing our focus on AI SEO. We’ll bank on automation to streamline repetitive tasks and give wings to our marketing efforts. The marriage of AI and SEO equips us with the ability to improve data collection practices and serve a larger set of customers within a limited bracket of time.”
Key Takeaway for 2022 – Build Strategic Resilience
Reframe your circumstances as an opportunity to adapt and thrive rather than a crisis or an obstacle to overcome. While many things have changed since the onset of the pandemic, one thing remains the same—you need to stay informed so you can reach potential customers and give them what they want. Collect data on your audience, determine the types of media they prefer, meet them on the channels they frequent, and deliver high-quality content that engages and converts. By carefully monitoring the performance of your digital marketing strategy and obtaining feedback from your customers, you can effectively adapt to an ever-evolving market.
Developing strategic resilience in the face of inevitable changes requires you to think beyond simply navigating the current uncertainties. You must prepare for the future by staying abreast of the latest trends. Then, coordinate the tactics, tools, and technologies you need to seize opportunities as they arise. A forward-thinking marketing outlook enhances the value of your business now and ensures you can emerge stronger for long-term success in the future. If you want to meet your goals and stay one step ahead of the competition, kick off the new year by investing in a comprehensive, data-driven digital marketing strategy.