The most important marketing trends of 2022 so far

The most important marketing trends of 2022 so far

The most important marketing trends of 2022 so far

Q1 2022 is in the books my fellow Beasts!

This year is already proving to be just as chaotic as 2021, and it’s not showing any signs of chilling out (sorry Netflix, but it’s not working).

So I’m about to write the 3,756th article on marketing trends for 2022. But I’ll make this at least 37% better than the other articles by including funny GIFs and memes that only marketers will get.

Like this one…

AND, I will add actionable tips and a “quick tip” at the end of each trend so you don’t get left in the dust this year! 

So let’s look at these trends that are building the future of marketing:

  1. Personalized marketing
  2. Brand is still king
  3. Voice marketing
  4. Augmented reality
  5. Social media – yes, still a trend
  6. Mobile marketing
  7. Marketing automation
  8. Content marketing
  9. Marketing ethics

Let’s do this.

Personalized marketing (with limited tracking)

Thanks to big data and advances in artificial intelligence, businesses have been able to personalize their marketing messages more than ever before.

But, the way businesses collect data will be very different thanks to things like GDPR, and Apple’s announcement in 2020 that iPhones will allow users to block 3rd party tracking cookies.

So, no more 3P cookies = no more targeting based on private info like income, personal behavior and interests.

And honestly, this is a good thing in the long run because data shows that deep detailed targeting doesn’t work anyways.

Additionally, consumers already have a deep disdain for intrusive ads, and by removing 3rd party cookies, it forces companies to focus more on brand-building and doing their own internal research while nurturing their current customers.

What we will likely see is much more data collection on the brands domain, or “1st party cookies”. These cookies don’t collect sensitive information that is then given to many tech platforms and service vendors. Instead it stores information that will help you on that specific website, and is not shared with anyone else.

In addition, brands will begin to collect their own data from existing customers, partner influencers and individual media companies who collect data on their audience (similar to what we do with TV, Radio and print).

Also, live chat, upsells, cross-sells and other “owned” marketing features will use artificial intelligence to better help websites create unique experiences for it’s visitors.

So while advertising will become a bit less intrusive and personalized, marketing will rely more and more on:

  • Product perceived quality (and actual quality)
  • Content Marketing
  • SEO keywords
  • Website design and user experience (UX)
  • Email marketing
  • Building a brand vs. just creating marketing campaigns
  • Customer service

Personalized marketing will continue to be a trend, but it will be less invasive, and more customer-centric in 2022.

So you might be thinking, “if digital platforms cannot effectively target my audience to get them to my website, how will we get people to visit?”

I’m glad you asked. WEll, re-read the list above and then dive into the next section.

Quick tip: Start collecting your own data on your customers so you can personalize your marketing messages accordingly. You can use a combination of Shopify and app data, Google Analytics, and post-purchase email and text surveys to gather data on your audience. Then store it all in a spreadsheet, or even better, a program like Salesforce/TableauDomo or Zoho Analytics.

Brand becomes more important. Every. Single. Day.

Brand has been the reason people buy most things since the dawn of marketing.

But in today’s content-saturated world, it has become the differentiating factor that causes brands like Apple, L’Oreal, McDonalds and Nike continue to dominate their markets; and brands like NoBullKylie CosmeticsShakeShack and GymShark have emerged as growing powerhouses of the 2010s and into the ’20s.

Because technology is leveling the playing field for anyone selling anything online– and retailers only looking for products with emerging or strong brands–companies who are not focusing on their brand will eventually get smoked by those that are.

Apple, L’Oreal, McDonalds and Nike have amazing products and the luxury of building their brands over decades, but the latter have only been around for a few years and are building massive brands valued into the billions of dollars each (Kylie Cosmetics is worth $1.2 billion and ShakeShack is a public company with a $3.16 billion market cap).

How?

Authenticity. Great communication. Great product. Great representation.

Each of these brands leaned into something unique to grow amongst the competition.

NoBull made a quality shoe specifically for the growing CrossFit community. They had some of the most likable athletes represent their company, and they stayed in their lane until they had a brand big enough to branch out to other sports and signing athletes like New England Patriots Quarterback, Mac Jones. And now they have beat out Reebok as the naming sponsor of the CrossFit Games giving them the highest credibility in front of the 4 million CrossFit Members globally, and the millions more who are fans of the Games.

Kylie Cosmetics leaned on the personal brand of its founder and one of the most “paid-attention-to” influencers of the 2010s and 20s, Kylie Jenner (more on the personal brand thing later).

Some might say Kylie Cosmetics had an unfair advantage. But that doesn’t take into account all of the years of personal brand-building that the Kardashians and Kylie have done through TV and social media which led to being able to launch Kylie Cosmetics to a large audience of fans with their (digital)wallets open.

Try having cameras on you, people berating you, personal judgments and threats to your mental health coming at you 24/7 and tell me it’s not hard work.

Shake Shack grew during the “better for you” fast-casual food boom of the 2010s. Along with SmashBurger, FiveGuys and Chipotle, it catered to millenials that wanted more authentic, “homegrown” ingredients in their food.

Aside from launching in Madison Square Park, inside the greatest city in the world (Concrete jungle (yeah) where dreams are made of), in front of about 8 million hungry residents and 66 million annual visitors, Shake Shack kept their location growth low enough to keep demand high.

This could be seen through the “Shack Cam” webcam that people could use to check the length of the line to get a delicious Shack Burger.

It also designs each of its buildings to fit perfectly with the location of the restaurant. When it launches, they focus on community-building above all else. This focus on the community has allowed them to build one of the most loyal customer bases seen in the food space recently.

GymShark is probably the most perfect example of how influential, influencer marketing is when done, and timed right.

Like NoBull and Shake Shack, GymShark focused on their community by partnering with early YouTube and Instagram fitness influencers in the 2010s to represent their clothes.

Like Kylie Jenner (to a much lesser degree), these influencers already had large, loyal followings that immediately trusted GymShark through association. This, along with the rapid growth of social media and the fitness industry GymShark became one of the most recognizable workout-wear brands on the internet.

Although the success of these brands might seem unachievable, their success strategies should be studied and applied to your own brand to build community and value.

This will be integral to your own success in 2022 and into the future.

Voice marketing

With the rise of voice-assist devices like all Apple products, Amazon Echo and Google Home, marketing through voice commands will continue to become increasingly popular in 2022. Businesses will need to start strategizing how they can take advantage of this trend and reach consumers through this new medium.

A few ways to get started with voice marketing include:

Creating marketing content that can be easily consumed by voice assistants, such as short bullet points or FAQs

Voice assistants work like search engines, they crawl the text on websites, blogs and social media to find answers to the questions people are asking. So make sure your website and social media content are optimized for voice search!

Short bullet points on your website allow Google to easily understand your content and determine its relevance to voice search queries.

Including FAQs and answers on your website or blog can help you rank higher for voice search results, as this is something that people are increasingly looking for when using voice assistants.

Offering customers the ability to order products or services through voice commands

In some cases, preparing to sell your products through voice assistants is the same work you would do to prepare your website for search, social and a good user experience.

Apple’s Siri will crawl the internet to find the best solution for inquiries like “Hey Siri, find me the best pair of shoes for trail running”.

Siri will pull up results in Safari with what it thinks is the best show based on reviews, website traffic and other data.

Amazon’s Alexa is similar, but in most cases it doesn’t pull up search results on a device. Instead Alexa will reply with the answer or direct you on where to go to get the answer if it doesn’t know.

Because everything related to Alexa is surrounding voice and audio, brands can utilize whats called a skill.

A Skill is a software tool that essentially gives Alexa directions on what to do when someone uses certain voice commands.

For example, Starbucks launched its first Amazon Skill in 2017 that allowed Amazon Alexa users to order coffee just by saying “Alexa, order me a Pumpkin-spiced Latte from Starbucks”. The skill that Starbucks developed would then ask for more information, then send that to Starbucks app, and eventually to the local Starbucks to begin making the drink.

Since then they have released others like the reorder skill allowing you to reorder your favorites just by saying “Alexa, tell Starbucks to start my usual order” or “Alexa, tell Starbucks it’s time for coffee.”

Paying attention to voice search and voice assistants isn’t just for product brands either. Local search inquires are at an all time high as well.

According to BrightLocal, 76% of voice assistant users engage local voice search at least once a week. 46% of users do the same daily.

So that means everyone from restaurants to lawyers should be paying attention to how voice assistants can get them new customers.

Augmented reality

Although Pokémon Go and Snapchat have shown us how fun augmented reality (AR) can be, AR is also highly functional. AR marketing is expected to really take off in 2022.

This is the technology that allows you to view digital objects or information superimposed over the real world. Businesses can use augmented reality to create interactive marketing experiences that engage and excite consumers.

Companies as large as Sephora and Lowe’s and as small as local car dealerships, and realtor’s are using AR to help their customers find and buy smarter and more efficiently.

Although AR tech might seem too advanced or out of reach for your business…

I assure you it’s not.

Some ideas for marketing with augmented reality include:

Creating a virtual tour of your business or product

Software companies like ZapWorks allow you to create a virtual tour of your business or product using just an iPhone and some basic knowledge of augmented reality.

This is a great way to give potential customers a closer look at what you have to offer without having to leave their home.

Using AR to show how your product works

If you have a physical product, you can help show consumers how it works using augmented reality. Threekit creates interactive product viewing experiences allowing consumers to take a detailed virtual look at a product from any device.

This is a great way to help customers understand how your product works and why it’s the best option for them.

QUICK TIP: Augmented Reality is going to do so many great things for both brands, and their customers. It will effectively create a “Try before you buy” economy for apparel, home goods, and even cars. But don’t implement it just because it’s cool. It is probably a waste of money to try to get people to see what your fruit snacks will look like on someone’s pantry shelf.

Social media is still VERY important

Even in 2022, social media will continue to be one of the most effective ways to reach consumers. Businesses will need to strategize how they can best use different platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, TikTok, and Snapchat to reach their target audience.

The best way to think about social media is: because we are social creatures, it will always be there.

But it will also always evolve as we become hungry for new experiences.

We saw this as people got bored with seeing pictures of people’s food and pets on Facebook’s personal news feed, and instead opted for Instagram’s more curated content.

Then they got sick of seeing so many brands advertising to them, so they moved back to more personal content from only the people they know on platforms like Snapchat and Discord.

Now TikTok has evolved beyond just dancing, and allows people to learn about topics and the world in 60 seconds or less, so we are moving over there.

The next social media platform will probably be in the Metaverse or something (god help us).

My point is that “social media” will always be here, and it will always have the attention of billions of people. So if you plan to grow over the next several years, you need to keep up.

Right now here is the data you need to know:

So what should you do with all of this?

One thing will make you the most successful brand that you can possibly be, regardless of social media platform:

Create great content.

Yep, that’s it.

All platforms are constantly evolving to better show people content that enriches their lives.

Even platforms like Twitter–which has some of the most trolley-trolls on the internet–will be forced to revise their content distribution, or else people will leave.

So if you focus on knowing what content will enrich your customers’ lives, creating as much of it as possible, and spreading it across all relevant platforms, you will win.

It doesn’t matter what platform it is, because they all have algorithms that will show you content to the right people.

And if it’s bad content, then it won’t show it to anyone.

Easier said than done, but just start writing, designing and filming great content and you’ll be as good as you can be.

QUICK TIP: I know all the best experts say this, and I’m certainly not the first to tell you this; but stop getting kneecapping by the thought of judgment, and just start filming yourself talking about what you know the most related to your business. Then you can adjust and evolve as you go. It really is the best way to get started for most of us.

Mobile-first marketing

With the majority of internet users now accessing the web through their mobile devices–over 90% globally according to Statista–businesses cannot afford to ignore mobile marketing in 2022.

They will need to come up with strategies that take into account the unique features of mobile devices, such as small screens and limited attention spans.

So let’s break it down since you’ve without a doubt been told by someone, somewhere that you need to be thinking “mobile-first”.

Here are some of the things you need to know to build a good mobile strategy.

1. Know that you probably are NOT the top priority: When people are on their phones, they are often multi-tasking, and doing 467 other things in addition to seeing your content or shopping your website.

I can’t tell you how many abandoned carts and product pages I have open in Chrome on my phone as we speak.

So make sure you set up a way to quickly engage visitors and try to collect a thread of data from them before they leave your website or social media post/page.

In most cases, the best way to it engage someone quickly is by getting an email subscription, permission to text them, engaging them on live chat or getting them to follow you on social.

If you don’t focus on figuring out how to quickly engage an audience member–whether on your website or with social content–you will lose them, maybe forever.

2. Pay attention to your website: It’s sad I still have to say this, but please make sure your website content looks good on a cellphone.

So many brands still have content on their websites that has weird spacing, copy that runs off the intended page or area, and has embedded images or videos that are too big for the page😖

This is simple, get your site map and just go through every single page of your website and look for the small issues. This only becomes unbearable if you are a major retailer like Best Buy with hundreds of thousands of products (but they have teams and software to tackle that anyways).

3. Remember, mobile phones are mobile: Many people who are using their phones are doing it while they are out of their house. They are not sitting there over-analyzing your website or content like you and your team are.

Maybe they are at the doctor’s office waiting room, or on the train to work, or walking down the boardwalk while on vacation. Most platforms, apps and websites know this. They use location data to give people better recommendations when they are searching for local services and products that they need. Make sure that you are leveraging Google’s Local Pack by filling out your Google listings information in its entirety. Do the same for each social and digital platform you have a listing or profile on.

Additionally, you can focus your ads and creative on a specific geographical region, and utilize things like local tagging on Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat to make sure you show up when people are looking.

4. Keep it simple: Complex, cluttered websites, images, and videos are soooo 2010. On mobile phones, you only have a small space to make an impact. Make sure that you are generally picking clean backgrounds for your videos, only 1 or 2 main colors for designs, and spacing your copy every sentence or two.

QUICK TIP: Always go into every marketing project planning, designing, and launching content or projects with the intention for them to look perfect on a cellphone. Then optimize for a computer screen after that.

Marketing automation

Let’s face it, technology is making all of our lives easier every day by automating everything from ordering groceries to driving cars. And the same is true for us CMOs, Marketing Directors, and Marketing Specialists.

Marketing automation is a process of using software to automate marketing tasks, such as email marketing, social media marketing, and lead management.

Automation allows businesses to save time and money by automating repetitive tasks, and it can also help them achieve better results by allowing them to target their marketing efforts more effectively. is consuming our work in the best possible way.

In fact, this exact blog post is co-written by an AI tool called Jasper.

Jasper helps make copywriting suggestions based on keywords, briefs, and tone of voice. And once you feed it some info, it will begin to write in your voice!

Copywriters everywhere beware, in the best possible way. Jasper is coming to help make your job easier, faster and better…not replace it.

Similar services are offered for design with companies like Designs.ai, and video with companies like RunwayML.

And this is only creating the content.

Companies like Hubspot are already automating marketing and CRM activities.

HootSuite is automating social media activity.

SmartyAds is automating ad buying.

And MailChimp started by automating email, is now offering full customer journey automation combining website, email, text, and more to make your life easier.

The world is changing, and for well-organized brands with rockstar internal sales and marketing teams, marketing automation will fuel amazing growth for you.

(If you don’t have a rockstar sales and marketing team, these folks can help –> check it out)

QUICK TIP: For many brands simply having one Content Creator to use the creator tools to make images, videos and copy, and one Marketing Specialist to use the content and ad scheduling tools will be enough to get you started. However, eventually, you will need a Director that will handle strategy and ensure overall short and long-term results.

Content marketing

Content marketing is the queen of marketing right now.

She will be the reason some brands make it, and some won’t.

Content marketing is nothing new, but because technology and privacy efforts are leveling the playing field–and consumers are getting less tolerant of pushy advertising–the only thing left to sway people is the content that a brand puts out.

And it’s not just for brands. The people that work inside those brands have a real opportunity to grow their companies by putting out their own personal content related to the business that they work for.

CEO/founder/influencers are becoming the new way to build massive authority and trust, leading to increased authority and trust in their companies.

Examples of this are Neil Patel and his company NP Digital, Kylie Jenner and her company Kylie Cosmetics (see above), Dwayne Johnson and his 67 different businesses (kidding, not that many…but still, the guy is incredible).

In 2022, the process of creating and publishing valuable content to attract and retain customers is key to your business’s success no matter what industry you are in.

This year businesses will need to continue to invest in high-quality content if they want to stand out from the competition.

QUICK TIP: Adding to the tip above, have your Content Creator use the “Content Recycling” method made famous by Gary Vaynerchuk. This will allow you as a leader, or your team, to make just one long-form piece of content, that ends up with 20-30 pieces of micro content for you to share across many platforms.

Marketing ethics & regular ethics

In recent years, marketing ethics has become an increasingly important issue for consumers. As a result, brands are starting to change the way they advertise to meet the demands of their customers.

One of the most notable examples of this is the shift away from ad-driven or supported websites and platforms, to subscription-based media and content.

This change is being driven by customers who are increasingly unwilling to see ads that interrupt them from getting to the content that they want or need. This is particularly prevalent on mobile devices.

In addition, brands are being forced to be more transparent in their production, hiring and operations.

Consumers want to know that companies are taking steps to try to combat global warming. They want to know that they are treating their employees fairly and hiring based on talent, not social status. They want to know that they are pushing to make the world a better place.

Whether because you want to, or you have to (I sure hope it’s the former), your business will have to show it’s an empathetic company, with empathetic leaders, if you want to survive.

Some examples of companies that WANTED to be better are:

  • Patagonia, whose tag line has been “We’re In Business To Save Our Home Planet.” and have lived by that since its founding in 1973.
  • GlaxoSmithKline releases its drug patents to the lowest income countries and reinvests 20% of its profit in these countries to directly train healthcare workers.
  • During the pandemic, Airbnb added full refunds for cancellations, provided free equipment and benefits to some of its staff they had to layoff, and launched a $250 million fund to pay hosts for canceled stays and another $10 million to pay their mortgages.

Some examples of companies that HAD to be better are:

  • Facebook, which is known to be a toxic digital environment, was forced to suppress hate speech, bullying and political bias (although it’s still under scrutiny for doing just that–I guess it’s a lose-lose when you promote free speech…or don’t).
  • VF Corporation realized they were part of the ~16 million tons of clothes being thrown into landfills every year, and committed their business practices to net-zero emissions by 2050.
  • Every car company has to address gasoline’s impact on the environment, and as of 2022 GM, Ford, Toyota, Volkswagen and everyone else are following Tesla’s lead by coming out with mass-market electric vehicles.

This one isn’t hard in theory folks–just like changes you would make to be a good person, companies need to treat people well, make smart choices that positively impact our climate, and don’t promote harassment.

But then there is the Profit and Loss statement to deal with.

Maybe all companies should be forced to hire ethically-vetted CEOs and CFOs 😳 (did I just say that)

QUICK TIP: Companies need to make money to survive. So a good way to find out what you can do to be better is simply to ask ALL of your customers and employees. Then measure the top common answers, display them for all to see (so they don’t think you made it up), and get started making changes while maintaining or pivoting to ensure profit.

Conclusion

For marketing and business leaders, the next five years will be a time of great change. And it all starts now (if it hasn’t already).

In 2022, technology and consumer demand are predicted to change marketing strategies in ways we can only see a sliver of today.

Artificial intelligence, ethical concerns, mobile devices, and the creator/consumption economy will dictate these changes, not only in 2022, but also for years to come.

Tell me, what is the single greatest thing you are worried about as a business owner or marketer? Leave a comment below.

Written by
John Timmerman
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