Change is nothing new to the world of marketing. It has always had to evolve at a rapid pace to meet customers’ needs and expectations. However, 2021 has seen more transformation than ever before with social commerce, diversity, nostalgia marketing, and more taking centre stage. There’s no doubt that the coming year will be no different, so we’re unpacking the top marketing trends to watch in 2022.

Experience is Everything

With so much competition, brands need to deliver excellent online and in-store experiences to win the attention of potential customers. Mastercard Economics Institute’s Economy 2022 global outlook report cites customer experience as a top priority for brands, as expectations surrounding online shopping continue to rise. This is in part due to the massive growth in e-commerce spurred on by the current global pandemic.

The idea of the experience economy started in the hospitality industry but is expanding to all industries and presents a significant opportunity for brands to foster positive customer relationships and trust. The experience economy is all about providing an end-to-end shopping experience that adds value to customers’ lives over and above the product they’re buying – whether online or in-store.

How Can Marketers Prepare?

Companies should focus on creating a seamless buying journey for customers with no challenges. After this has been achieved, companies can focus on creating personalised experiences for customers and implementing a USP – or unique selling proposition – into these journeys.

Read on: Customer Experience in the New Normal: How COVID-19 Transformed CX

Seeing the Potential of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)

Linked to the idea of the experience economy is implementing virtual reality and augmented reality technology into brand experiences. AR and VR bridge the gap between online and in-store experiences, allowing brands to immerse users into 3D environments which simulate real experiences. Augmented reality is more accessible to brands as it does not require as much equipment or development, but both trends are gaining traction as the costs for this technology decrease.

A good example of a brand that leveraged VR is the Somewhere Else X Adidas: Delicatessen campaign which allowed users to follow two famous athletes as they embarked on a mountain climbing journey. With VR headsets and sensory remote controls, people could climb the mountain beside the two athletes.

Source: Somewhere Else x Adidas: Delicatessen VR (Trailer) – YouTube

How Can Marketers Prepare?

Marketers can start off by using AR to create interactive experiences that users can access on their smartphones.

Shout Out to Audio Content

Listen up marketers, audio is fast becoming one of the most popular types of content across social media platforms. From podcasts to Twitter Spaces, audio content gives brands the chance to leverage conversational marketing like never before.

Facebook/ Meta has also jumped on this trend by launching Live Audio Rooms, a feature that allows users to host and listen to live conversations and podcasts. 2022 will no doubt see other platforms follow suit.

One of the reasons for this type of content’s rise in popularity is screen fatigue and 53% of professionals say that podcasts and other types of audio content are extremely effective in engaging audiences and creating brand awareness.

How Can Marketers Prepare?

With only 1 in 3 content marketers using audio content as part of their marketing strategies, according to Hubspot’s Marketing Industry Trends Report, the opportunities are endless for brands willing to invest in this strategy. A great way to get started is to use already existing video content as a trial run for audio content.

Big Talk for Voice Search SEO

Speaking of audio, voice search is another trend for marketers to watch in 2022. With 20% of all internet searches being voice based and over 1 billion voice searches per month, this trend is on a clear upward trajectory. As more people use voice assistants in their day-to-day lives, brands need to optimise their sites and products so they can easily be found online.

2022 trends: voice search

Source: Profiletree.com

How Can Marketers Prepare?

Marketers should optimise their sites for voice search by implementing conversational keywords and content that is geared towards answers to questions. According to Hubspot, 41% of marketers plan to increase their investments in voice optimisation in 2022.

Privacy is a Priority

Privacy is a topic that has garnered increased attention throughout the year as people become more discerning about the personal information they share. Significant legislation has also been enacted across the world – from Europe’s GDPR to South Africa’s POPIA, putting pressure on companies to be more responsible with their customer data.

How Can Marketers Prepare?

Although customers are more aware of privacy concerns, 50% of millennials will share their data in exchange for optimised experiences. Marketers should therefore consider implementing gamified content such as quizzes and surveys to collect first-party data that will ensure they can provide personalised experiences without breaching data legislature.

Check out: Surviving Digital Darwinism With Top Technology Adoption Trends in Marketing

Final Thoughts

Change is scary but can also be exciting. Not only is it synonymous with marketing, but it is essential to its survival as brands are driven to innovate and adapt. We can’t wait to see what 2022 holds for marketers and if you think so too, refer back to this blog to find out about marketing trends as they unfold.

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