The pandemic may have meant that original marketing plans for 2020 and 2021 were torn up, but – fingers crossed – marketers will be looking to a return to a more predictable way of life in 2022 as the world adjusts to life with Covid-19.
So what will be the big trends that marketers will need consider within their businesses in the coming months? Below we pick five to watch.
1.) The continued power of first-party data
The collection of first-party data has always been a primary aim for businesses. By harnessing information directly from customers, businesses get a clearer, truer picture of the consumer, which can allow them to better understand their mindset, wants and needs.
This enables businesses to target customers more closely with their products and services, using their marketing efforts to deliver a more relevant and personalized message to convince the potential customer that they are the business to buy from.
First-party data can reveal the demographics of a customer and what they’ve bought, while building a more honest relationship between business and consumer, as it’s established directly between the two.
Within this, gamification is a powerful tool for better enabling first-party data collection. It can be done more subtly in a way that customers enjoy, making the exchange of data less painful and giving the consumer value in exchange for their data. For example, knowledge games can include gamified surveys or quizzes that can be used to collect valuable data about product preferences and desires that can help with future product development.
2.) Digital transformation and the struggle to change
A great marketing strategy uses customer data effectively and ambitiously, but this isn’t easy for all. While the pandemic saw a necessary shift to digital as many businesses were forced to readjust during lockdown, for some the shift lacked the required digital infrastructure behind it.
They may have been struggling with legacy systems, a lack of resources and investment, or simply not having the time to revisit their digital efforts. As such they have been struggling to solve the sticking plaster approach first adopted at the beginning of the pandemic, and are still struggling to change.
For others, it’s about understanding how important a digital transformation is for their business. For example, whether their customers prefer the face-to-face or online experience and whether a full digital transformation is even relevant for their business, or was just a more temporary measure to cope with Covid-19. The journey to digital transformation isn’t over yet.
3.) Using personalization to be customer-first and solve for data weariness
In the first trend, we talked about the power of first-party data and its value in creating more personalized messages and experiences. Done well, personalization is hugely powerful, with 90% of marketers saying it significantly contributes to business profitability, and 61% of people expecting brands to tailor experiences based on their preferences.
Except personalization depends on the collection of accurate customer data which customers may be wary of sharing. They’ve had their fingers burnt with spamming or simply don’t see a reward for sharing such information. Gamification on the other hand is an effective way to collect marketing permissions, learn more about your customers’ desires or simply improve brand awareness by engaging customers to spend longer with your brand.
Making consumer interactions more playful also provides a welcome relief from the challenges of the pandemic, and means consumers are more likely to engage because such approaches have a more human, fun appeal than traditional marketing data collection.
4.) More intelligent use of neuro-marketing/behavioural economics trends like nudging
Neuromarketing will also increase in prominence as marketing nuances become ever more powerful, but equally ever more subtle. A great example of this is the power of nudging, a simple but powerful concept that taps into the psychology of behavioral economics to transform browsing behavior to prompt purchasing.
The gentle push (a ‘nudge’) is a suggestion to consumers that they can easily avoid, but that can also influence their decision making, according to Richard Thaler, who won the Nobel prize in 2017 for his contributions to behavioral economics. Putting fruit at eye level (that nudges the consumer to buy) is one such example, he says.
A combination of nudging theory and gamification has even greater potential to influence the consumer, he points out.
5.) The power of connectedness in a community
The pandemic has changed life, but it’s also changed consumer values. Many reappraised their lives during lockdown, revisiting everything from spending to working habits as they adjusted to a new normal.
Consumers began to crave what they had previously taken for granted – community and connectedness, for example. They came together to support local businesses and to check in on vulnerable family and friends.
And, as lockdowns eased, the ability to reconnect through events also became important in providing valuable and memorable moments that built engagement. Having been restrained from contact for so long, there is now a very real consumer need to “play and embrace novel experiences, both virtually and in the ‘real’ physical world,” according to Mintel, a leading marketing intelligence agency with a focus on product launches.
These are just five of the trends that we see being important in 2022, but there will be more. Marketing for 2022 needs to be increasingly relevant to the weary consumer. Marketing that stands out and captures attention will be meaningful, adding worth to the consumer experience, ensuring they listen to the message you are trying to share.
Article originally appeared on The Drum.
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