The future of marketing: the anti-trends to embrace in 2022 and beyond
If there’s one thing 2021 has taught us, it’s that marketing changes in the blink of an eye. Our rapidly progressing industry is built on the rise and fall of trends that drive innovation and change the course of our future.
But just because something’s new doesn’t mean it’s better or something worth pursuing. The problem with trends is that they come and go. What’s trending right now may become obsolete tomorrow. There’s no knowing what will stick. You need to have the wisdom to stand back, zoom out, and reflect, too.
Most marketers have trouble differentiating their brands, developing a customer experience (CX) vision, or making proper use of all the data they’ve gathered. Do you feel your brand, tech stack, data platforms, and CX live up to your expectations?
I’ll take my chances and assume you answered that question with no.
As we look ahead to 2022, let’s focus on the marketing fundamentals that are shaping the digital industry. The anti-trends that might not be hot and happening, but are too important not to discuss. We believe that your brand, CX, data capabilities, and tech stack need to be at the very core of your game plan.
Our fresh new guide, The future of marketing, takes a deep dive into these four areas and shows how you can truly differentiate your brand and accelerate growth. Download the guide and set yourself up for success in 2022 and beyond.
For those who want a quick recap, here’s a breakdown of the most significant takeaways:
1. Adopt a brand-led marketing strategy
With rising competition and higher customer expectations, in 2022 it will become even more important to build a strong, creative brand.
Branding is both an art and a science. You need skills to define your brand and connect it with an audience. And that’s where part of the problem lies - more often than not, brands don’t invest in talented people or teams who are capable of that or rush the branding process.
Creating a memorable brand is complex and full of sacrifices. It goes way further than your logo or tagline. Do you know who you are as a brand and what it is that you stand for? Did you translate your values and beliefs into a compelling brand personality and visual identity that stand out? If not, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and re-examine your roots.
Because at the end of the day, what matters most is how you define and differentiate your brand. This will define your legacy.
2. Reimagine CX
CX has become stagnant during the past few years. Many brands are struggling to improve and differentiate. There’s a reason for this: most rely on templated frameworks, standardized software packages, and a basic understanding of customer needs to support their brand promise. At best, this will give you a mediocre experience that just functions; but has nothing memorable about it.
In 2022, let’s shake things up a bit and rethink how we see CX. Your CX is not a process you follow, the website or app you launch, a piece of technology you implement, nor the communications you send out. It’s all of those things and more working together.
The core of a successful CX is defining what type of experience you want to deliver. It’s putting pen to paper and documenting how your CX is going to convey your brand promise and achieve your business goals. Once you’ve defined your vision, the next step is translating this into valuable experiences. Many marketers run CX initiatives as business-as-usual programs with boxes to check off on their checklists. Don’t make that mistake.
You need a talented and dedicated team made up of creative thinkers to help you: people that are able to look at things in fresh ways and come up with new solutions you previously didn’t think of. Creative is the central word here. How else are you going to design a distinctive experience that sticks and captures your customers’ attention?
3. Unify data and creativity
While data and creativity are often seen as counterparts, they’re actually an inseparable duo and should be treated as such. In fact, marketers that successfully integrate creativity and data grow their brands twice as fast compared to those that haven’t, according to McKinsey.
See it this way: marketing is all about building emotional connections with customers. Creativity plays a central role in this - it’s how you capture customers’ attention and leave a memorable impression. But your creative efforts need to be guided and validated by data. Otherwise, it will become a shot in the dark.
With the looming death of third-party cookies, integrating data and creativity won’t be optional in 2022 - it will be crucial to building long-lasting customer relationships and differentiating your brand. Let this be the year that you test, experiment, and learn what works for you. Your ads, content, and communications need to engage and attract attention. It’s time to implement a data-driven creative approach.
4. The importance of creative technology
Technology is frequently seen as a source for productivity and efficiency improvements rather than a source of transformative value that can drive and encourage creative innovation. While it may not seem obvious, creativity and technology go hand in hand.
You need technology to express your creative ideas and bring your brand to life. In 2022 we need to start using the creative possibilities that technology offers to our advantage. And to do that we need to embed creativity into every layer of our products, platforms, and experience.
Creative technology is an essential part of any immersive digital experience. Everything that comes with it, from custom code to virtual reality and hand-drawn animations can bring out the true DNA of a brand, set it apart, and leave a lasting, positive impression. Let creative technology help shape your strategy by giving it the attention and monetary investment it deserves.
Hopefully, by now, I’ve provided some compelling reasons to convince you that while trends are great, it’s important not to let yourself get distracted from what’s most important - fix your brand, CX, data capabilities, and tech stack above all else. In 2022, let’s first focus on getting the most out of what you’ve already got.