Top Twelve Marketing Trends and Predictions for 2022
In the world of marketing, trends change in a flash, but the fundamentals are always constant: Delight your customer at every touchpoint.
Part 1 of this write-up was a mix of eight different marketing trends (backed by solid fundamental principles) for 2022, whereas Part 2 focuses on the importance of research and customer centrality in marketing.
Bharath Kumar B
Head of marketing & CX, Zoho Creator
The growing role of research in guiding marketing decisions
Research is becoming a vital component in marketing operations, as informed decisions ensure that an organization's marketing efforts are moving in the right direction.
Market research tools have typically been deployed for crucial business decisions like market positioning, assessing the market potential of an idea, and so on. Over the years, research tools for gathering and analyzing information have become easier to access and deploy. This availability now helps marketers launch targeted research projects with a focused objective in mind. Hence, micro projects—such as understanding user behavior within a product, studying the customer's perceptions after signing up for a product, and more—are thereby feasible and improve the efficiency of marketing programs.
One of the best approaches to execute such projects is to look at the user's journey as a sum of multiple steps or processes, and to optimize each step of the process. For example, consider a website visit as the start of a user journey with a product. Every aspect of that experience informs what steps to take to influence the visitor's purchase decision—such as optimizing page content and flow, streamlining signup forms and pop-ups, and improving the clarity of pricing plans and benefits offered. By carefully researching and curating every step of the customer's experience, marketers can play a powerful role in improving business outcomes—without invading user privacy.
Does this mean all marketing actions need to be measured and tied to outcomes? No—but it does demonstrate that marketers have the access to data that can influence decision-making. Of course, marketers should use discretion when it comes to applying research-backed decisions versus following their intuitions, and even though this approach gives marketers the ability to measure different data points, it's prudent that they act only on elements that matter to their business.
More people-centric, experience-focused marketing
The last couple of years of pandemic-driven remote and hybrid lifestyles has pushed marketing to get back to the basics: adding value to people’s lives rather than obsessing over funnel metrics. Whether it's a website visitor, a lead, or a potential in a CRM, they're all people with emotions, pains, and desires. All types of content, marketing collateral, websites, and communication are now expected to provide a more human, people-centric experience. In other words, no one wants to be marketed to any more; they want to know the value offered by the things they desire, and have their problems solved—period.
This means an automated email should say, "Hey, this is an automated email from a real person, and the real person will eventually reply to you directly," rather than, "This is an automated mailer. Do not reply to this." That's just a small example of being more people-centric.
This means websites will have fewer steps and gates, leading visitors directly to content that offers value through products. Long marketing form gates that conceal content in websites will not cut it for lead generation. Less is more human; "Chat now with a real person" will become more common.
Time is of the essence in this Instagram generation. Brief but useful video reels, YouTube shorts, and succinct bytes of educational content will become the driving forces in brand building and demand gen. Bigger marketing launches will have to be split into smaller marketable moments that can be spread on fast-paced social media channels.
While data can tell us what was wrong with what happened, more people-centric experimental marketing will be the key to successful marketing—so it's time for marketers to wake up and embrace the new normal.
Head of marketing, Zoho One
Senior product marketing manager, Zoho People
Empathy-based marketing is crucial for building a personal connection with the audience in 2022
In my humble view, the future of marketing lies in adopting an empathetic approach. Consumers are looking to engage with brands that they can relate to. In those cases, integrating empathy with marketing can help brands foster a personal connection with their target audience. When brands put themselves in their customer's shoes and see the world as their customers do, they understand what matters to their customers, what they want, and what they struggle with. Addressing these pain points in marketing communication while being considerate and sensitive can truly take brands closer to their audience. Creating authentic marketing content that acknowledges the target audience's challenges and provides genuine help—rather than just marketing the product—will showcase the human side of brands.
For instance, let's consider marketing HR software for HR professionals, who are often tasked with managing time-consuming administrative paperwork, as well as other strategic initiatives like performance management, training management, and so on. While marketing HR software to HR professionals, address each challenge associated with every aspect of HR management, provide tips to overcome them, and outline how a tech tool like HR software can make things easier for them.
Customer-centric marketing is the future
Marketing has always been about your audience's interests. However, the last two years have introduced new norms in the ways we all live and work, and this has in turn changed buyer journeys, too.
Marketers now need to develop a better understanding of their customers' journey and the shifts in their business challenges. For this, we need to have more direct conversations with our customers. These conversations reveal a lot about their challenges, needs, and circumstances, and this understanding is going to help us—marketers—get "real" in our messages and campaigns.
For many marketers, this type of approach isn't part of their job descriptions, but these conversations will define successful marketing.
The next question is, "Is this easier said than done?" The simple answer is that it will take time and effort—but it will be worth it!
Head of customer marketing, Zoho CRM
We hope these articles on the marketing trends and predictions for 2022 were enlightening and helpful. If you missed Part 1, you can find it here. If you found this article useful, please share it with your marketing team members so you can all stay informed about marketing trends.