Marketing trends can wax and wane, depending on consumer behavior, technological advances, and several other factors. What was working for your business and driving engagement a few years ago may not hit consumers in the same way anymore. Social media has changed the tides for marketing in a big way over the last decade, sending some businesses scrambling to keep up with ever-changing platforms and evolving fads in their consumer market.
How do you know what the best marketing strategy for your business is? How can one decipher between a passing fad or a long-lasting approach to engagement? Here are some of the biggest marketing trends for 2022 and some insight into how to choose the best route for your business.
Stronger Brand Ambassador Roles
Instead of relying on one or two posts by a popular influencer, brands are partnering with brand ambassadors to establish more long-lasting influencer relationships. This allows brands to become a part of the influencer’s story, instead of simply a one-off post amid unrelated content.
This approach leads to stronger engagement and better brand recognition by consumers because the content is more consistent. When a trusted influencer is weaving a brand into their content consistently, the trust in the brand increases.
High Tech E-Commerce
With everyone hunkering down at home over the past two years, artificial intelligence in online shopping and virtual shopping experiences has increased exponentially. Consumers have come to expect a highly-tailored experience when they shop online. Businesses on the cutting edge of technology utilized to serve their customers’ needs will see the benefits of this to their bottom lines, compared to the businesses stuck in the dark ages of e-commerce.
A Return to In-Person Marketing
One of the perhaps unintended results of the pandemic shutdown has been craving for social interaction of any kind. As our societies have begun to open back up, more businesses are planning in-person events, one-on-ones, and innovative ways to get in front of their target market in a more personal, intimate way. People are itching to put the worst of the last few years behind them and get back to a handshake-and-a-smile way of doing business (as safely as possible, of course).
Inclusion and Diversity Matters
Today’s consumers care about the reputation of the companies with whom they decide to do business. They want the companies they spend money with to be diverse, inclusive, environmentally friendly, and have values aligned with their own.
The days of “staying out of politics,” or doing things the old-school way in terms of hiring and promoting, may be over for some companies. In this culture of rapid social media news spread, one slip-up could swiftly cause a company to be “cancelled” by the market. The consumer marketplace can be highly polarized, and brands will have to step up their game to appeal to a wide variety of people, opinions, and views.
Increased Visual Content
If Instagram and TikTok have taught us anything, it is that people respond to visual marketing. A well-crafted Instagram feed can bring in massive engagement, even turning into revenue if it’s leveraged correctly.
Reaching younger generations of consumers through visually-dominant platforms like TikTok can be a boon for a company if they can pull it off successfully. This means not simply copying the latest TikTok trend, but coming up with compelling, unique content that tells your story and leads to organic views.
What Doesn’t Work Anymore
I’m not sure if this ever worked, but it has definitely fallen out of favor. While email marketing is still a valid way to reach your target market, emailing your list too often with the same information is bound to annoy them and lead them to mash that unsubscribe button.
The same goes for cold messaging on Instagram or Facebook. Consumers today want a more tailored and personalized experience with a brand; they don’t want to feel like they are just receiving a bevy of form emails.
Pop Up Ads
There is nothing more annoying than trying to read an article, watch a video, or otherwise engage with content and then closing out a bunch of pop-up ads. While you may get a click-thru or two from pop-ups, it’s bound to irritate more than effectively engage.
Bad Imagery or Low-Quality Content
Content is king, and if your content is low-quality, consumers will move on to someone who has funneled more time, effort, and passion into what they’re putting out into the world. Make sure you’re putting your best foot forward with images, videos, website elements, logos, and other marketing imagery.
What’s Right for Your Business
No business should jump on every marketing bandwagon that comes along. Each business is different, and what works for the company up the street may fail miserably for your venture.
What are your business goals? Do you want to up your follower count, get into a new industry or market, or perhaps you want to give your current followers better content? Businesses should assess their goals at the beginning of each year — or quarter — to see what marketing trends could best help them meet those goals.
For example, if your goal is to uplevel engagement on your Instagram account, posting more consistent, dynamic content may be something you want to strive for. If you want to drive more traffic to your e-commerce site, making that site very interactive and personalized could lead more people to want to spend money with your business.
Asking your customers what they would like to see from your business is also an excellent way to tap into consumer behavior. Profile your existing customers and look at what marketing approaches have appealed to them in the last year. This will give you insight into your target market and what they are looking for from your business.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to try some things, fail, and try again. No one gets it perfect right out of the gate, and trying a new approach may take practice. Look for indications of best practices in your industry to guide how you may choose to approach a new marketing trend.
Marketing trends come and go, shifting with economic changes, cutting-edge technology introductions, and consumer behavior. Staying on top of what is working (and what may be a flash-in-the-pan) is a great way to remain competitive and innovative in your industry.