You can't go through something like a year-long global pandemic (and it's not over) and not expect some things to change. Marketing professionals have always lived in a world where consumer preferences are constantly changing and are forced to adapt. Over the past year, marketers have done so in spades, with the abrupt suspension of in-person events, a massive shift to digital marketing and, for many, reduced budgets.
As the economic recovery gathers pace, many marketers will likely find themselves with more money to spend. But how and where to spend it? Will people yearn for a return to the old normal, or will they continue to adopt the habits they've developed over the past year? What message will resonate and what channels will reach the post-pandemic consumer?
As marketing's eyes turn to the future, here are some trends to look for in 2022.
Content alignment will never be any more essential
Any company that wants to own its industry will need to align its public relations, thought leadership and SEO. Consider this Venn diagram of thought leadership, which shows the importance of overlapping visibility, credibility and authority. If you can align these things, you can easily stand out in your industry.
This means having source content on your website and other things you own, such as social sites or sister sites. Once you have built a solid base of authority on different topics, work to gain credibility by adding the PR element, where others cite or mention your content. Finally, make sure people link to your content under certain topics that you may own.
Marketing companies will further take on the ownership
There are more and more sales and marketing companies that are taking ownership of the products or services put out for sale. This change makes sense to me because if you are able to sell someone's product and generate significant revenue, you will ultimately increase the value of that business. If you have an equity stake, you'll be even more motivated to knock it out of the park. It's extremely beneficial on both sides.
If you are in marketing and sales, start by researching which products and services will benefit from your services. Then identify which of those companies will allow you to set up performance indicators to gain ownership as you reach those goals.
A hybrid future for events
When the pandemic forced closures and social distancing requirements, marketers were faced with the cancellation of all sorts of in-person events, from grand openings to big ticket concert series. In their place, virtual events have become a mainstay for interacting with customers and prospects. Increased spending on social media and other digital platforms has contributed to the success of these events.
Now consumers - and the marketers who represent them - are faced with two warring impulses. The urge to gather again is strong, to be sure. But having experienced the immediacy of live events from the comfort of their couch, many consumers are happy to keep things virtual. To meet the needs of both audiences, you'll need to create hybrid events. In-person events will have a strong digital component, and technologies like augmented reality and virtual reality can create an immersive experience for those who prefer not to venture out.
As brands compete for consumer attention in these still uncertain times, marketers will find themselves in a familiar role: that of agent of change. By taking these trends into account, you will be able to stay one step ahead.