The start of a new year is an invitation to revisit your brand marketing with fresh eyes. With 12 months of opportunity ahead of you, now is a great time to look at the latest industry trends and identify elements to incorporate in your 2022 marketing plan.
But, before moving forward, a quick look in the rearview. In 2021, the pandemic had a significant impact on brand marketing. Customers craved engagement and interaction with many people working from home and social distancing early in the year. So, marketing programs stepped up, accelerating virtual and hybrid experiences, and creating personalized brand connections for customers. Then, as restrictions eased in some areas, many brands shifted from digital engagement to in-real-life experiences.
The takeaway: Marketing moves fast. To keep your brand relevant with your audience in the year ahead, keep up to date with these emerging marketing trends for 2022.
1. Influencer Marketing.
Influencers remain increasingly popular for brand marketing—both B2C and B2B. HubSpot explains why, “Influencers are often masters of the platforms they use and the field or topic they talk about. They already have an audience that is engaged, interested in their content, and influenced by the information they provide.” This year, the trend leans toward brand partnerships with micro-influencers (typically, thousands to tens of thousands of followers) due to their everyday-people accessibility and higher engagement rates versus celebrities.
2. Short-form Video.
We already know that in our increasingly fast-paced and digital world, video is where it’s at for brand engagement: People share videos at twice the rate of any other form of content. (Wyzowl) Short, sweet, and to the point is the name of the game: two minutes or less is the ideal length. Perfect for use on websites, emails, landing pages, and social media channels.
3. Mobile Optimization.
We’re all spending more time on our mobile devices. In fact, HubSpot reports that more than half of all annual online website traffic comes from mobile devices, including tablets. As a result, mobile-optimized digital experiences are essential to making a positive brand impression—think your website, emails, and landing pages.
4. Permanent Social Media Content.
While ephemeral posts—or those that stay published for 24 hours before disappearing—have their place, creating permanent content is on-trend. Social platforms are rolling out new tools to showcase this type of content, like LinkedIn’s new Cover Stories feature that allows you to create a 30-second video that lives on your LinkedIn profile page.
5. Social and Eco-responsibility.
Today’s consumers want to feel good about the brands that they support. And they expect those brands to be responsible: 70% of North Americans believe a brand should be sustainable. From HubSpot, “Companies have begun to pivot social media strategies to focus more on inclusive initiatives, promotions, and offerings while highlighting causes or missions they support.”
6. Direct Mail.
Did you know 59% of Americans enjoy getting mail from brands? And 73% of American consumers say they prefer being contacted by brands via direct mail because they can read it whenever they want (Epsilon). A counterpoint to ever-present digital content, direct mail creates a memorable, tactile brand touch that’s incredibly effective as part of an integrated content strategy.
7. Inbound Marketing.
A successful inbound marketing effort requires you to produce quality, valuable content tailored towards your target audience and buyer personas and their needs. Focus on engaging, interactive brand continent, a strong and consistent social media presence, and brand touches that elevate the customer experience to something extraordinary—custom packaging, a follow-up text, a hand-written note included in product deliveries, etc.
8. Hybrid Events.
This year, successful events will be those that connect the offline event experience with online attendees—the hybrid model. Technology is making it all possible: Powerful hybrid event platforms create a seamless, immersive experience that offers all the in-person event benefits like broad attendee reach, networking opportunities, vendor engagement, sponsorship opportunities, and more.
9. AR and VR.
The augmented reality and virtual reality market is forecast to reach $209 billion this year, with AR and VR app downloads expected to hit 5.5 billion by 2023. With the rise in demand for new and improved shopping experiences, consumers want to interact with products digitally before visiting a store or purchasing online. AR and VR make that possible—from virtual makeup applications to eyeglass fittings to paint color previews, this new technology is a modern tool for helping convert prospects into buyers.
10. Personalized Experiences.
According to Adweek, a 30% increase in ROI has been seen when marketing experiences are personalized. And that’s because consumers embrace it: 90% of US consumers find personalized marketing contact somewhat to very appealing (Statista). From digital ads to DMs to emails, using personalized content touches to connect with your customer at every stage in the buying process helps build brand trust and, ultimately, loyalty.
Now is the ideal time to review your marketing plan for 2022 and incorporate some of these trends that are relevant to your brand.