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What 2022 Trends Should Marketers Care About? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 335)

Team gathered around and working to identify top trends

Last week, we talked about some big tech trends for 2022 and why, mostly, they don’t matter for your business this year. Which begs the question: Are there any 2022 trends that do matter for business leaders and marketers? And, if so, what should we do about them?

In this episode of Thinks Out Loud, we’ll look at the trends that you should care about this year. We’ll look at what they mean for your customers, your employees, and your business overall. And we’ll talk about how you can use these to your advantage as the year unfolds.

Want to learn more? Here are the show notes for you.

Thinks Out Loud Episode 335: What 2022 Trends Should Marketers Care About? Headlines and Show Notes

Show Notes and Links

Here are the regular show notes detailing links and news related to this week’s episode. Be sure to check out all the links that matter for your business once you’ve given the episode a listen.

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Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

Recorded using a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Mic and a Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface into Logic Pro X for the Mac.

Running time: 18m 54s

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Transcript: What 2022 Trends Should Marketers Care About?

Well, hello again, everyone, and welcome back to Thinks Out Loud, your source for all the digital expertise your business needs. I’m Tim Peter. This is episode 335 of the Big Show, and thank you so much for tuning in. I very, very much appreciate it.

Some Trends Don’t Matter… At Least Not Yet

So, in our last episode, I talked about a number of big tech trends that are getting lots of mindshare, lots… They’re controlling the discourse as we head into 2022, and I talked about why I think that for the most part, they’re not going to be that meaningful for your business this year, why they’re not something you need to worry about overly much.

More than a couple of you reached out to me to say, "Well, that’s super, that these are things we don’t need to worry about, but throw us a bone, man. What do we need to worry about?" That’s a very fair question. It’s a very fair criticism. I certainly didn’t want to set you up with a whole bunch of stuff that was like, "Hey, here’s all kinds of nonsense you don’t need to concern yourself with," without giving you the other the equation.

What Are 2022’s Top Trends?

So, today, I am going to talk about those things that I think are important and are the trends that are going to shape where we’re going in the next year, and I want to be really clear. I’m not going to give percentages or how much I would bet this time as I did last time because for the most part, these are all things we’ve been dealing with for at least the last six months or more that I fully expect will continue for most of this year. I can’t guarantee these will all be still the thing we’re worried about in December of next year, but I don’t think they’re things that are going to go away by the end of March, right? I don’t think we’re talking about a quarter here. I think we’re talking about a healthy chunk of the year in each of these cases.

While Not All Big Trends Are Digital, Digital Still Plays a Role

Before I get into what they are, I want to say that some of these have "nothing" to do with digital with the huge caveat that digital can alleviate them; digital can make them go away or at least make them less of a problem, or digital can make them much, much worse. It can also exacerbate the problem, it can exacerbate the trend.

We’ve Lived Through a Generational Shift to Digital

Before I get into each of those, I want to ask you a question. I want you to think about… I want you spend a moment and think about what we’ve experienced in the last 22 months.

The Pandemic and Macro Trends

We’ve lived through a generational shift to digital. This is something I’ve been talking about a lot during the course of the pandemic. Why? Well, because pandemic. Because…

  • It has forced people to stay inside their houses. It has forced people to stay indoors.
  • And has forced people to avoid the kinds of experiences that were a big part of their lives for all the years leading up to the pandemic.
  • That led people to purchase more goods and fewer services. It led to more stuff and fewer experiences
  • That has created inflation and supply chain issues. Those have increased as people have bought fewer services and more goods.

The pandemic also required or enabled many of these trends. There’s pros and cons here, right? When you build a ship, you build a shipwreck. The inverse is also true: When you have a shipwreck, you get a ship along with it too. You can’t have a shipwreck if you don’t also have a ship.

Work from Home, The Great Resignation, and the War for Talent

It also enabled work from home, and we have great numbers of people who want to continue that now that they’ve experienced it. Of course, that created greater demand for quality talent that can work from home. It’s driven up resignations, right? We’re living through the Great Resignation, and it increased the cost of labor.

By the way, you have to remember the Great Resignation, there’s lots of data around this, is not people quitting and staying quit. It’s people finding new jobs that allow them to get a better salary, allow them to get a better income, allow them to get better work-life balance, allow them to work from home, allow them to avoid maybe working around people who are less beneficial in their lives and make more money. So that’s been hugely important.

New Ways to Communicate and the Resulting Challenges to Gatekeepers

If we look at social networks like TikTok or business apps like Zoom that have created new experiences for consumers all around the globe, they did so because they fostered connection during this ridiculous reality that is the ongoing COVID situation. All of those have led gatekeepers like Google and Facebook to try to find new ways to monetize their traffic based on these shifting behaviors by customers. They had to get deeper into eCommerce. They had to get deeper into communications or risk losing their market position to the Amazons of the world, to the Shopifys of the world, to the Slacks of the world, to the TikToks of the world. I mentioned this last time that TikTok, for the calendar year 2021, was the most visited domain on the internet ahead of Google. First time Google hasn’t held that position you in a decade.

Why These Matter

So those are the trends that I think are most important that we need to pay attention to. I go off the assumption that you’re looking to grow your business this year. You want to increase your revenues. You want to lower the costs associated with doing that, whether that is the cost of good souls… or, pardon me, cost of goods sold. There’s some sort of bizarre Freudian slip in there. Or the cost of acquiring customers. You’re looking to lower any of these costs.

I expect you’re looking to lower your labor costs. Your labor costs are getting higher, or you at least have them stop going up so fast. You’re looking for easier access to talent and greater talent retention.

The Top Trends Summarized

So that’s what leads me to pay attention not what you want, but what are the things that are getting in the way of what you want that are the actual things you need to pay attention to this year?

  • The Great Resignation
  • The transition towards work from home
  • Inflation and supply chain issues
  • The ongoing mess that is COVID
  • The rising costs of customer acquisition, or as I like to call it, "gatekeepers gonna gate"
  • The rise of alternative — I don’t want to call them social networks — I want to call them "social connections." Whether it’d be TikTok as a social network or whether it’d be something like Slack or Zoom in terms of how people communicate with one another, or for that matter, WhatsApp. Right? Just different ways that people are using different tools that they are using to connect with one another.

Now, as I mentioned, some of these might seem like they’re not "digital," and that’s okay. I’m going to come back around to that point in just a moment. The other thing that I want you to recognize before we talk about the digital aspect of this is that they are all big, big macroeconomic trends, or not all, but many of them are large macroeconomic trends that are going to affect your world one way or the other. You can like to pretend that there’s not much you can do about these, but if you ignore them, it’s a guarantee you’re going to get hurt by your failure to respond to them.

The US is a $20 trillion economy. China is roughly $15 trillion. Japan, $5, Germany, $4, the UK is $3 trillion. The top 10 countries in the world make up roughly 60% of the world’s gross domestic product. These are massive sums. A 5% swing in the US in any direction is a trillion dollars of economic activity. Even a 1% shift represents hundreds of billions of dollars. Obviously, the numbers in other countries are going to be smaller, but still huge. To think that we can just ignore these and that we can be worried about the Metaverse as being the savior for us in the coming year just boggles my mind. It makes no sense to me.

How to Use Digital to Influence 2022’s Top Trends

Instead, we should be looking at how we use digital to create greater experiences for our customers. How can we use digital to create better outcomes? And create better opportunities to find and retain our employees so that they can deliver the kinds of experiences that our customers are looking for?

If we can do those things, it will improve customer retention and drive down our cost of acquisition because we won’t need to find as many new customers all the time. We need to think about greater focus on speed in all interactions, online and offline. You’ve heard me say many, many times before the Marc Benioff quote. Marc Benioff, the chairman of Salesforce.com, likes to say, "Speed is the new currency of business." I prefer to say "Instant gratification isn’t fast enough." We need to think about, "Can we use digital to enable our supply chain more effectively even if it’s just to let people know what’s in stock, what’s not in stock, when they can expect things?"

Why This Matters to Your Customers

We are having some work done right now on our house. We’re getting some work done, and the amount of information that we are struggling to get from contractors and suppliers to the contractors about the availability of things like lumber or the things like tile is mind-boggling in 2022. That’s what your customers are living with every day.

We need to think about greater focus on mobile so that your customers can actually get the information they want wherever and whenever it’s important to them.

Why This Matters for Your Employees

We have to think about integrating digital into other aspects of your business. How are you using digital to make your employees’ lives better, easier? Are you thinking about their experience, and are you engaging with your employees and with your customers in ways that they want to participate in the creation and curation of a positive brand story about your business to their friends, and family, and fans, and followers? Whether they do it on — I can’t believe I’m going to use this word, but — "legacy" social networks like Facebook or Instagram, or whether they’re using it in group chats on Slack, or whether they’re doing things on TikTok, how are you encouraging them to help you tell the kind of story you want to tell about your business?

Think "Core and Explore"

Those are the trends we need to be paying attention to this year. There are some cool technologies coming down the road. They’re neat. They’re fun. As I talked about last time, there is this aspect of "core and explore" where you should be spending 10% of your time or 20% of your time messing around with some new technologies and new communications channels, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera to see if they can help you improve your business. Or at least as a defensive strategy, to get ready for whatever is coming down the road. But, and I mean this very seriously, but you should only spend 10% or 20% of your time there.

You need to spend the other 80% or 90% on these elements. How do you improve the customer experience? How do you improve your experience for your employees? How do you use digital to make the entire experience faster and easier for the people who interact with it? How do you make it so that they can do it on mobile? Because that’s how you deal with the rising cost of customer acquisition. That’s how you deal with transition towards work from home. That’s how you at least help mitigate the risks of supply chain issues or inflation, and it’s how you make sure you’re in a good position whether we’re going to be stuck with this pandemic for another three months, or another 30 months, or heaven forbid, another one that comes along behind it.

Conclusion: What 2022 Trends Should Marketers Care About?

Those are the trends that matter, at least for the next year or two, and one of the reasons that I think they matter is… It goes back to a quote I use all the time. You’ve heard me say this before, the old Jeff Bezos line about, "We always worry about what will change, but what’s more important is what won’t change." Your customers will expect a great experience every time they interact with you. Your employees will expect the ability to do their jobs from… and I’m going to put "anywhere" in air quotes because again, depending on the role, they may not be able to, but to do their jobs with increased flexibility. People will always want those things, and digital enables you to help meet their needs. When you can help meet their needs, you have a much, much better chance of having your business reach its goals, and that’s why those are the trends you really want to pay attention to this year.

Show Closing and Credits

Now, looking at the clock on the wall, we are out of time for this week. I want to remind you, you can find the show notes for this episode as well as an archive of all past episodes by going to timpeter.com/podcast. Again, that’s timpeter.com/podcast. Just look for episode 335.

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Sponsor Message: SoloSegment

As always, I’d like to thank our sponsor. Thinks Out Loud is brought to you by SoloSegment. SoloSegment provides an amazing suite of search tools to provide search as a service for large enterprise websites. SoloSegment focuses on business results, not search results with easy automated tools that help customers find the content that matters to them and helps drive business results for you. They do this all while protecting customer privacy and improving your business results. You can learn more about SoloSegment and all the outstanding work that they do by going to solosegment.com. Again, that’s solosegment.com.

Show Outro

With that said, I want to say one more time how much I appreciate you tuning in to the show every single week. It means so very much to me. I would not do this show if it weren’t for you. I hope you have a wonderful rest of the week, a great weekend, and I’ll look forward to speaking with you here on Thinks Out Loud next time. Until then, please be well, be safe, and as always, take care, everybody.

Tim Peter is the founder and president of Tim Peter & Associates. You can learn more about our company's strategy and digital marketing consulting services here or about Tim here.

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