Sales and Marketing Trends to watch in 2022

As we head into 2022 we’ll all be asking ourselves what will be the Sales and Marketing Trends to watch in 2022? Many teams will be planning not just campaigns and tactics but looking for new innovation and improvement to drive growth next year and beyond.

2021 has been quite to rollercoaster for many sales and marketing teams, coming out of UK lockdown for the (fingers crossed) last time in March meant that many businesses across all sectors were ready to finally get back to normal – whatever that means. The change in buyer behaviour, shift in family and business values coupled with the rise (and rise) of the connected, informed, and sometimes impatient customer has meant that many of us are looking for better, more effective methods to improve our sales and marketing results. So, as we look forward to 2022 we asked the team at DGT and our customers what trends they’ll be watching and implementing next year.

Authenticity at the heart of Marketing

As well as digital technology, AI and integration, all of which are key themes for 2022 we’re seeing a huge uplift in authentic voices and real, honest marketing start to emerge in response to what can be seen as skeptical or cynical consumers. From brands rethinking and reinventing their core messaging to bold, blunt, and brutally honest creative, authenticity is the first of the marketing trends for 2022. Whilst price and quality will always be critical factors in business success, Marketers looking to stand out, get noticed, or create a stir in their markets are looking beyond price to polarise and build engaged audiences with their brands. Now, we should say that this is not a new concept but rather what can be seen as cyclical – as markets become commoditised and overcrowded, authenticity can be a key tool to drive loyalty and presence.

Authenticity, we should note, is way more than just building a mission statement or publicly sharing your values, instead in 2022 this will mean inviting your customers into the very heart of your organisation, acting with purpose, and reflecting that across the whole of the business. It also means really understanding what you stand for, why that matters to your customers and building a content marketing and acquisition marketing strategy that communicates and attracts customers based on your shared values. Anyone thinking of elevating their marketing to adopt an authentic rather than curated approach, would do well to revisit their customer personas to really ensure that you not only understand your values, but that you have a crystal-clear handle on the pains, challenges, issues, and problems that your customers are facing.

Acceleration and Integration

Data Driven marketing strategies are nothing new, many organisations will or should already have core understanding and insight into their Sales and Marketing funnel, but if 2021 has taught us anything then it must be that connecting the dots (and gaps) within Sales and Marketing strategies is critical to success. As customer behaviour changes and channels, tactics, and results shift, so too does the need for clear insight grow and the role of analysis become increasingly more important. This trend is not likely to slow in 2022, in fact Deloitte’s recent 2022 global marketing trends highlighted this with CMO’s from over 500 companies identifying analytical expertise as the top skill of their highest performance in almost all industries. We’re great believers in analytics and insight here at The Demand Generation Team and regularly help our clients to track, measure and improve their marketing results, but what’s clear to see is that as the plethora of tools, channels, segments, and tactics in use grows businesses need to build agility into their skill sets. Being able to shift creative, messaging, or even channel based on solid data drives better decision making and ultimately better results.

Where integration is concerned we’re also seeing organisations look to plug gaps in existing marketing technology, from simple examples of automating data points between Web, MAP and CRM to more complex instances of reengineering sales and marketing funnels in line with changing landscapes. Ensuring that Sales and Marketing systems are seamlessly integrated isn’t a vanity project but more a huge opportunity to accelerate performance, capturing action and activity in a ultra-timely manner to maximise every conversion point and remove wastage across the board.

Re-Focusing on customer experience

One of the top trends to watch for in 2022 is an ultra focus on customer experience, now we know what you’re thinking, surely this should always be a focus? And yes we’d agree but this year, especially with the demise of 3rd party cookies, marketers across the UK will need to step up their customer experience game. Now, we should note that in this case Customer Experience is not just confined to actual customers but expanded across the whole buyer journey.

Customer experience is such a massive topic and spans every single touch point across your business, from site speed to accessibility, mobile experience to cross channel integration and of course right the way through any automation, segmentation, and online interaction you have with your customers. As the “digital generation” (sorry we hate that phrase too) flex their spending power in B2B and B2C, many organisations will be looking to overhaul their channels to maximise their CX across the board. One key trend to watch is the role of unified communications within marketing, combining chat, phone, online and physical, face to face interactions for a seamless approach to customer experience.

Outside of technology many organisations in 2022 will take an active stance on protecting their existing bases, as brands large and small once more look for growth mode ensuring that your existing customers are well heard, well looked after and remain loyal will be a cornerstone of 2022.

Audio as a platform

No, we haven’t gone mad, we’re not thinking of getting back to the wireless but more across platforms including Spotify, Soundcloud and Pandora. Whilst social and search dominate many marketing budgets savvy marketers in 2022 will be exploring audio as a reach platform, especially for awareness.

Spotify even as a standalone platform boasts 381 Million active monthly users which is a lot of ears to tap into but more than this as consumers turn away from traditional media, especially generational audiences, Spotify claim that 63% of millennials feel that audio is the most immersive form of media. Now, of course that’s from Spotify themselves but for many organisations, audio acquisition has not always been front of mind and we predict that going into 2022 and beyond as businesses look for better ways to cut through the noise, audio just may be a trend to watch.

Now, this doesn’t just go for the core audio platforms either – YouTube as we all know is a multi-billion dollar advertising machine but many of its users aren’t consuming all video content, rather music and podcast style audio. With the flexibility of YouTube platform advertising what we can predict with some certainty is that YouTube whether for video or audio will continue to provide businesses with scale and reach long into 2022 and beyond.

Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and the Metaverse

No blog on 2022 Sales and Marketing trends would be complete without at least some mention of Meta and of course, the Metaverse… anyone bored or crazy enough to have tuned into the Meta keynote would have noted the massive implications the platform could have for the way in which we all do business. From virtual games to virtual meetings, virtual dates to your very own virtual “home” (wait don’t we have actual homes?), the point of the Metaverse is in connecting our shared experiences across a virtual platform with a truly immersive experience. Now, we’re not suggesting that we should all go full Ready Player One today, but the concepts are interesting for Sales and Marketing teams alike.

Aside from the obvious opportunities to shrink our world, remove barriers to connection and bring customers and prospects into a more immersive experience VR and concepts like the Metaverse are actively seeking innovation in an otherwise static digital environment, as Google CEO Sundar Pichai said, “It’s always been obvious to me that computing over time will adapt to people rather than people adapting to computers. You won’t always interact with computing in a black rectangle in front of you,”. So, whilst we may not know what that looks like today we are already seeing AR start to emerge more frequently, in training applications, conference and events, shopping and retail and of course in gaming and entertainment. Even in traditional industries like Property and Real Estate applications like virtual viewings and new build show homes are being showcased via virtual reality to help bridge gaps in customer experience. Wherever and whichever “Metaverse” we do find ourselves adopting in the future, Sales and Marketing teams will need to watch carefully for the technology and adoption winners if they are to succeed in a new world order.

2022 – The year of the customer

One thing is for certain as we sling shot into 2022, our customers across all business and sectors are asking for more in almost every area. They (and we) want better service, better quality, better accessibility and better information and support from those that they choose to buy from. And much like any year before it, Sales and Marketing teams in 2022 will need to be astutely listening and hearing what their customers want, delivering value, form, and function at all levels of the buyer journey quickly, effectively, and seamlessly across all mediums. In 2022 as buyers become more digitally mature and more selective in their decision making so too will digitally astute organisations reap the benefits of proactively responding to their customer’s needs – connecting the dots between search, social, on and offline interactions for an exceptional route to growth.

If you’re planning on growth in 2022 then we’d love to talk – pop your details below and we’ll be back to you in a jiffy

Posted by Helen Brookes on Friday 26th November 2021