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The Current State of Marketing: 7 Key Trends for 2022

Esther Cohen | December 9, 2021 | 6 minute read

Our latest post takes a closer look at the top marketing trends for 2022 and how you can incorporate them into your marketing mix.

Every year, a few new trends pop into the picture. Most fade away but a few stick around and become cornerstones of marketing.

We’ve seen this play out countless times in the last few years. Live video, influencer marketing, personalization went from buzzwords to marketing mainstays.

As we step into a new year, it’s time to take stock again. What marketing trends should you keep an eye out for? Are these trends likely to stick around? Or will they fade away after the initial hype?

We take stock of the state of marketing in 2022 and seven key trends to watch out for.

 

1. The Metaverse

Earlier in October, Facebook rebranded itself to ‘Meta’ - a “social technology” company. This was a part of a broader attempt by Facebook to focus on the “metaverse” and a vision that goes far beyond social media.

The metaverse is essentially the “meta” of our digital identities - the space between who we are in real life (or ‘IRL’, as you’d say in the metaverse) and who we are in our various online avatars. 

Facebook’s rebrand is a recognition of the increasingly digital nature of our lives. As the amount of time we spend working, playing, and connecting online increases, our digital avatars become an increasingly important part of our identities.

Understanding and exploring these digital identities - whether they’re in the form of a Facebook profile or a fully rendered 3D virtual reality presence - is all a part of the metaverse.

You might or might not believe that the metaverse is an enduring idea, but Facebook’s focus on it alone means that it will continue to gain traction, at least for the foreseeable future. 

As a marketer, jumping on this very new trend might not be easy, but you can have a first-mover advantage. At the least, you can be assured that Facebook will continue to push the narrative and you can ride on the coattails of this giant.

 

2. Crypto and NFTs

If we’re talking about the metaverse, we can’t really ignore crypto. From Doge to Bitcoin to NFTs, cryptocurrency entered the mainstream this year. Given the momentum, it doesn’t look like the hype will die down anytime soon.

A few (brave) brands have tried to tap into the cryptocurrency narrative. Budweiser released its own NFTs and Adidas partnered up with a leading NFT project to create 3D “metaverse” avatars.

Using crypto in your 2022 marketing playbook can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, there are some legitimate environmental concerns about crypto, in particular, NFTs. At the same time, nothing signals that you’re up with the times than tapping into a popular new trend.

If you’re going to leverage crypto as a marketing tool, make sure that it is:

  • Genuine and not a quick cash grab
  • Ties into your broader marketing strategy and has a real reason for existing
  • Uses greener technology

While the jury is still out on the efficacy of crypto as a marketing ploy, it should form a small slice of your marketing mix for 2022. If nothing else, it will help you ride the metaverse hype.

 

3. The Creator Economy

The pandemic years were a boon for the creator economy. With easy access to content creation tools and an audience stuck at home, there was a veritable explosion of online content. Every large online platform saw rapid growth in users.

As some of these users turn from passive consumers to active creators, the creator economy is bound to keep growing in the coming years. 

For brands, this presents two unique opportunities:

  • Working with smaller creators (aka “micro influencers”) to target narrow audience segments at lower costs.
  • Establishing yourself as a “creator-friendly” brand by offering tools, content assets, and a favorable stance on copyright and licensing.

The latter point can’t be stressed enough. Too many brands adopt rather regressive approaches to their own IP. While it's important to protect your intellectual property, it shouldn’t come at the cost of helping good-faith creators use it in their work.

For the next year - and beyond - consider opening up the kimono a little if it helps creators. In an era where everyone can create, it won’t hurt to align yourself with the creator economy.

 

4. The Distributed Marketing Team

Marketing teams were increasingly becoming remote-only before the pandemic, but the last two years have accelerated the trend drastically. It’s not uncommon now for even large marketing teams to be based in entirely different locations.

Building a fully distributed marketing team presents an incredible opportunity for agencies and marketers. For one, it opens up the door to a much wider talent pool. If you aren’t obligated to hire from a single location (or even country), you’ll find that you can easily tap into better quality talent at cheaper rates.

More importantly, it also opens up the doors to a broader client base. If you can work from anywhere, you can also work with anyone from anywhere. Your target clients can be as distributed as your teams.

It also helps that a more diverse team can help you understand local context and competencies better. A New York-based agency can tap into, say, the Spanish market better if it has someone from the region onboard its marketing team.

Of course, employees themselves prefer being remote-first. In a survey by Campaign Asia, 57% of agency employees said that they preferred remote-first or remote-only work.

Embracing a more accommodative stance on remote work, and perhaps even building a fully distributed marketing team, can help you grab better talent from agencies that aren’t as forthcoming.

If you do go down the remote team path, you’ll love our previous blog posts:



5. Diversity and Representation

We’ve talked about the importance of diversity before, but in the coming few years, this will become even more important. 

For starters, as remote work becomes the norm, not the exception, your employees will likely come from diverse backgrounds. Any agency that doesn’t understand or appreciate diversity will lose out on top talent.

At the same time, your clients, as well as their customers are increasingly likely to be diverse. Apple, for instance, now draws a majority of its revenues from outside the Americas. Any marketing organization that doesn’t have diversity built into its core will struggle to understand such a diverse audience base.

But diversity by itself is nothing without representation. Your customers don’t want you to just be diverse, they want you to show it as well. A study from Facebook, for instance, shows that audiences prefer brands that represent diversity in their advertising.

As we step into a new year, you’ll want to make diversity a core part of your organization - as a foundational belief, a hiring strategy, and a marketing tool. 

 

6. User Experience 

Digital marketers have harped on the importance of “user experience” for years, but far too often, it was just lip service. In the absence of any real incentives, marketers could get away with brute force SEO, spammy website pop-ups, and aggressive advertising.

In the last few years, however, the algorithms that define digital experiences have become substantially better. Instead of focusing on metrics that can be easily gamed, more and more online platforms are now prioritizing real engagement and user experience.

Case in point: Google SEO. 

A major Google algorithm update rolled out in May 2021 completely overhauled the way the search engine ranks pages. Instead of easily manipulated metrics (backlinks, on-page content), Google now emphasizes real engagement and user experience.

Such a drastic shift highlights the importance of moving away from “hard” metrics (backlinks, page likes, retweets, etc.) and towards providing users with a better experience. If you’re still relying on aggressive pop-ups and pages filled with ads to get attention, you’ll find yourself penalized by platforms and disregarded by users.

As we step into 2022, it’s a good idea to audit your marketing collateral. If you aren’t focusing on user experience as a priority, you’ll struggle to draw attention on most platforms.

 

7. Voice Chat

If you’re not convinced that voice chat is a key trend for 2022, here’s a chart:

This chart tracks user statistics for Clubhouse, the enormously popular voice-only chat tool. Clubhouse experienced explosive growth in the wake of the pandemic. People stuck at home and unwilling to be on camera used it for everything from fifteen minute casual conversations with strangers to family chats lasting hours.

In the wake of the success of Clubhouse, Twitter launched its voice-only chat rooms, Spaces. Soon Discord followed suit, and Facebook is likely next.

At a time when podcasting has registered double-digit growth for five straight years and counts over 160M users, the success of audio-only chat rooms shouldn’t be surprising. Voice chat combines the approachability of podcasts and the community-first engagement of a forum. 

In the coming years as more and more work happens online and “Zoom fatigue” becomes a real problem, the anonymity and approachability of voice chat will continue to attract users. 

If you aren’t doing it already, maybe now is the time to include voice chat in some form in your marketing mix for 2022.

 

Over to You

The marketing landscape keeps changing every year, but at no point has it turned so sharply as it did over the last two years. In our digital-first era, new platforms and technologies seem to emerge every few months, not years.

For marketers, balancing the “new” with the tried and tested can be a challenge. Established mediums should always form the core of your marketing, but if you want to stay on the cutting edge, you’ll have to adopt newer technologies as well.

One way to make this adoption easier is to communicate better. Tools like Workamajig give you unprecedented insight into your organization. From managing tasks to collaborating across teams, Workamajig will help you run a more agile business.

You don’t have to take my word for it - try Workamajig today and see how it can help transform your business.

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