As we leap into the new year, it would be interesting to note how brands accelerate their growth and make up for the losses in 2020-21. The past two years have disrupted the marketing landscape like never before; 2022 will see the percolation of these trends, with an objective to maximise customer experience and strengthen brand recall.
Here are some trends that should drive your digital strategy in 2022:
Social media stories: Pioneered by Snapchat, social media stories have caught the fancy of brands to capture consumer attention. Stories differ from social media posts, with the former being live for only 24 hours on the platform. This makes stories a sought-after option to post fresh and engaging content for existing customers. Stories will continue to be an intrinsic component of digital strategy, as brands look forward to cultivating long-term relationships with their customers.
It is no longer about using different social media platforms; rather, it is about how effectively they are used and the effectiveness of a platform.
Creator collaborations: Brands are increasingly reaching out to creators to form meaningful partnerships. These influencers lend more credibility to brands and help them devise engaging content. Further, the use of micro-influencers and nano-influencers have unlocked a wide gamut of opportunities for companies across various segments. We expect brand-creator collaborations to gain more currency, as consumers shift from traditional to new-age platforms. More creators will look forward to monetising their social media presence with several options.
"The use of micro-influencers and nano-influencers have unlocked a wide gamut of opportunities for companies across various segments."
Human-first data experiences: These will continue to redefine the marketing landscape. Personalised emails, products and ads will forge closer ties between brands and their customers. Empathy, something we’ve all been talking about, will actually be executed. However, brands need to draw a fine line between personalised and intrusive communication.
"Brands need to draw a fine line between personalised and intrusive communication."
Data-powered insights will be key to audience targeting and segmentation, and will aid brands in tailoring their marketing strategy to cater to each customer segment. These insights will be crucial to improving conversion rates and maximising customer experience.
First-party cookies: The increasing concerns about data privacy and security may lead to a death knell of third-party cookies, which have dominated the marketing landscape for decades. A switch to first-party cookies looks imminent, with marketers relying on their data to ensure that companies are more mindful about how customer information is stored, shared and retrieved. It also implies that customers will have more leeway over how their data is collected and used.
Geofencing: Location-based targeting has been around for a while, but it will continue to realign itself in an endeavour to ensure a superior experience for customers. Geofencing is a real-time marketing technique that maps customers' locations over days. For example, if X enters a particular locality Y, he will receive a push notification or text message. Geofencing is a boon to hyperlocal e-commerce businesses, as it helps to locate services or products in the vicinity. Amid e-tailers pivoting to 10-minute delivery and 30-minute delivery, geotargeting is here to stay.
Sustainable marketing: The COVID pandemic has reaffirmed the significance of sustainability and giving back to society. According to research, 75 per cent of millennials are likely to buy sustainable products. Green accreditations and eco-friendly business practices will go a long way in earning credibility. Brands need to walk the talk on this approach, however small it may be. It will work as long as it is genuine.
Voice search: It has added a new dimension to user behaviour, accounting for over 20 per cent of web searches and one billion searches every month. Emerging technologies, such as Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant, etc., have facilitated access to voice search anytime, anywhere, and have accelerated its adoption. Voice-activated ads triggered in response to voice search queries, are expected to become a reality soon.
With customers now increasingly receptive to marketing content, responsible brands that understand the pulse of the target audience and tailor their content for multicultural communities, will maintain a competitive edge.
The pandemic has prompted marketers to realign their marketing strategies in keeping with the demands of a post-COVID world. The coming year promises to open a plethora of opportunities, notwithstanding the need for agile professionals, who can strategise quickly and derive intelligent insights from data.
The author Khushboo Sharma is the Founder of Zero Gravity Communications. Her agency is a member of afaqs! Marketplace.