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.
- How Much Will 2022’s Top Tech Trends Shape Your Digital Strategy This Year? Not Much (Thinks Out Loud Episode 334)
- The Conference Board Economic Forecast for the US Economy
- The economy is booming. 5 reasons that could change in 2022 – CNN
- What Wall Street economists expect for the U.S. economy in 2022
- Countries by GDP: The Top 25 Economies in the World
- A Year of Digital: The Pandemic, One Year On (Thinks Out Loud Episode 320)
- Director, The Museum of Civilization on Twitter: "If hires>quits, the "Great Resignation" is people getting better jobs." / Twitter
- Ethan Mollick on Twitter: "The work-from-home optimists’ case is showing signs of coming true: we seem to be learning how to do it better. Efficiency at working from home is steadily improving in this survey by @I_Am_NickBloom, tracking respondents since the start of the pandemic. https://t.co/Qy8lzrkThU https://t.co/qummYC13w2" / Twitter
- Patrick Collison on Twitter: "In Q1 2019, 39% of Stripe’s hiring was outside Bay Area and Seattle. Last quarter, it was 74%. I think the rate at which tech industry is going global is still under-appreciated, and that this will be a big tailwind for the world over the next decade." / Twitter
- We’re Living Through a Generational Shift to Digital (Thinks Out Loud Episode 317)
- Shopify’s Monster Year Highlights a Generational Shift to Digital (Thinks Out Loud Episode 318)
- Deal With It: Digital Makes Marketing Easier for Everyone, Which Makes Marketing Harder For Everyone (Thinks Out Loud Episode 213)
- Day One at Amazon and Developing a Digital Culture (Thinks Out Loud Episode 325)
- Key Digital Trends Revealed By Big Tech’s Q3 Earnings (Thinks Out Loud Episode 330)
- 3 Ways to Appeal to a New Generation of Buyers | Hospitality Technology
- Digital Will Drive The Next Decade of Business Growth (Thinks Out Loud Episode 308) – Tim Peter & Associates
- Route to Ready: Carvana customer experience – Think with Google
- Amazon Go, Instant Gratification, and the Boring Future of Business (Thinks Out Loud Episode 265)
- Are You a Legacy Leader? Or Are You a Future Leader? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 336)
- You Get to Make it Better (Thinks Out Loud Episode 341)
- Why Would Anyone Want to Work For You? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 337)
- What We Learned About Digital from Frightful Five’s Q4 2021 Earnings (Thinks Out Loud Episode 338)
- The Future Digital Trends You Must Think About Today (Thinks Out Loud Episode 342)
- What Does “Digital” Even Mean Right Now (Thinks Out Loud Episode 343)
- Why Amazon Is Going to Launch a Search Engine (Thinks Out Loud Episode 345)
- Where Content, Community, and Customer Experience Meet (Thinks Out Loud Episode 346)
- What Netflix’s Struggles Can Teach You About Your Digital Strategy (Thinks Out Loud Episode 347)
- What Do the AGFAM’s Earnings Tell You About the State of Digital in Q2? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 348)
- A Far Too Quick Look at the Metaverse, web3, and the Future of Digital (Thinks Out Loud Episode 349)
We have some free downloads for you to help you navigate the current situation, which you can find right here:
- Digital & E-commerce Maturity Matrix. As a bonus, here’s a PDF that can help you assess your company’s digital maturity. You can use this to better understand where your company excels and where its opportunities lie. And, of course, we’re here to help if you need it. The Digital & E-commerce Maturity Matrix rates your company’s effectiveness — Ad Hoc, Aware, Striving, Driving — in 6 key areas in digital today, including:
- Customer Focus
- A Modern Content Marketing Checklist. Want to ensure that each piece of content works for your business? Download our latest checklist to help put your content marketing to work for you.
- A Brief Introduction to Thinks Out Loud. As a bonus, we’ve also included this PDF document that highlights some of our core episodes to help you dig into what the show is about. We think it will help you capture the show’s essence while you’re working your way through the 300-plus episodes published so far. Download it here.
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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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