Dive into marketing trends for 2022.

While we might think of trends as short-lived, the truth is that marketing trends offer insights into the ever-changing and evolving trajectory of human behaviour. In marketing, and as a business owner or manager, our work is really all about understanding how people tick. Marketing trends tell us a whole lot about human psychology and how we’re changing as a culture and society. Pretty deep, hey?

And that is what we love about marketing! Trends make things interesting. They keep us on our toes, and they ensure there is always more work to be done. The good news is that we’ve done the research on marketing trends for 2022 and distilled it into this blog. Here are some of the top trends to look out for this year.

1. Authentic, inclusive, straightforward advertising from values-driven brands

It’s not the first time we’ve mentioned the growing importance of cultivating an authentic brand, and we’re pretty sure it won’t be the last. This is because consumers are becoming more conscious by the year, and they’re increasingly wanting to spend their hard-earned dollars with companies that have a soul — or at the very least, some explicit values.

Deloitte tells us we’re going to continue seeing a shift away from overly clever or complex advertising that wants to sell customers on a whizzbang new product, and towards ads with simple and straightforward messaging.*

“In an increasingly noisy landscape, one creative strategy is to forgo overpromising in advertisements and instead do some soul-searching to establish a marketing message that communicates a brand’s core value,” writes Peter Adams for Marketing Dive.*

This makes it even more important to get clear, within your business, about what it is you’re doing and why — that is, your brand identity, vision and values. The next step is working out how to communicate these elements to your target audience.

The other trend that’s coming up in this area is towards inclusivity. Gone are the days of featuring a narrow selection of people in advertising — consumers want to see brands celebrating diversity and a sense of togetherness over exclusivity or inequality. They are asking to see different body types, skin colours, genders, ages and abilities represented in the media. In other words, consumers are responding in a positive way to what they perceive as a brand’s humanity.

2. Navigating a cookieless world by leveraging zero- or first-party cookies

The future is cookie free (no, we’re not talking about delicious little discs of sugar, flour and chocolate chips — thankfully they’re still around). We’re talking about the cookies you click to “accept” when visiting a website. Third-party cookies provide valuable data to businesses and marketers about consumers’ web browsing habits, and they’re being phased out on Firefox, Safari and (most importantly) Chrome.

This is quite big news because marketers rely on this information to understand consumers and to help them target the right audiences. With third-party cookies gone, the industry will need to adapt by focusing instead on zero- and first-party cookies. This means direct marketing: going straight to the source to find out some of the information we need to market effectively. We can do this through surveys, for example, or by asking new subscribers to input certain data (gender, birthdate, postcode) when signing up for e-newsletters, or by inviting customers to create an account with some of their information when placing an order. It’s data that customers have consented to share with us.

Why is this happening? In part it’s because consumers are becoming more conscious about how their data is being used and shared, and more protective of their personal information. Consumers enjoy when data collection is used in a helpful way (for example, when a website stores your information for next time), but they don’t enjoy when it feels creepy or intrusive. So, it’s all about getting that balance right.

Google hasn’t announced exactly when it will block third-party cookies, but it would be prudent to start setting up some solid CRM (customer relationship management) systems to help capture useful information about your customer base.

3. Blending AI (artificial intelligence) and automation with human assistance to improve customer experience

There’s a reason why so many websites use a “chat” function to interact with visitors. It’s not that consumers love chatting with bots — it’s because most queries can be answered on the spot, meaning customers don’t have to wait for a manual email response.

However, customers also want to have the option to speak with a real, live human. Think of the way in which self check-in kiosks have made checking in at the airport more efficient, but airport staff members are still present and available if needed.

Experts predict that we’re going to see more of a fusion — a harmonious relationship — between AI and human assistance. Deloitte tells us that AI can be immensely useful in scenarios such as “getting the right offers to customers at the right time” — for example, by using data to automatically prompt customers via email who haven’t shopped in a while, or to remind them when they’re running low on a certain product.* Marketers are going to continue to develop systems like this that help make interactions and transactions more seamless.

4. Micro-influencers over macro-influencers

Influencer marketing has been around for quite some time now, and you might be wondering whether it’s finally going to fade out of favour. Bombshell: influencer marketing isn’t going anywhere… But it is evolving a little.

The shift we’re seeing here is away from businesses using influencers with huge followings and towards “micro-influencers”, who often have greater engagement with their followers and offer more bang for your buck. Micro-influencers are also more likely to work with only a few brands, meaning their feed is less saturated with sponsored ads or product recommendations, and they therefore have more cut-through. They also might be operating in a niche market (your niche market!).

The definition of a micro-influencer is broad — they can have anywhere from between 1,000 and 100,000 followers — but the most important thing to look for is whether their personal brand genuinely aligns with yours, and whether their followers seem to interact regularly and engage positively with them. To check whether an influencer is worth the investment, media monitoring company Meltwater suggests running a promotion through both an influencer and your own channels to see which performs better.*

5. Email is king

Experts are predicting that electronic direct mail (eDM) is going to becoming increasingly important, with 91 percent of businesses recently surveyed by Litmus reporting that email is essential to their success (up 20 percentage points since 2019) and over 40 per cent saying that they intend to invest more in email marketing this year.* To leverage the magic of email marketing, businesses need to up their game to make customer emails engaging. This means using content marketing to add value to your customers’ lives and segmenting subscriber lists to ensure that your emails are targeted and relevant.

Another method for supercharging your eDMs is through Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs), which offer a sophisticated, interactive and dynamic user interface that functions more like an app or website than a plain old e-newsletter.

The benefits of email as a mode of interacting with your customers (or potential customers) includes: that it offers personalisation (research suggests that 72 per cent of consumers only act in response to personalised messaging*), privacy (which more and more consumers are concerned about), and automation (which makes your life easier). In other words, it’s mutually beneficial! 

6. Thought leadership and longer, higher quality blogs

In case you didn’t know, the internet is a big place. Like, really big. Search engines are increasingly favouring content that reads as “quality”, which means blogs and other web content that offer the substance and expert advice these engines believe web visitors will find useful.

Content marketing may seem a little overwhelming, but there’s plenty of scope for business or marketers to write about the topics that matter to their target audience. Research shows that 47 percent of surveyed buyers have made purchases from companies that showed thought leadership in an area, despite not ordinarily being seen as a leader in that category.*

This really goes back to our first point about authenticity. Content that’s conversational and speaks to your target audience can go a long way in establishing a brand’s credibility and humanity. Thought leadership can appear as white papers, blogs (including guest blogs), written or video interviews or even webinars or live Q&As (the use of video in all aspects of marketing is another growing trend).

  • Membership programs look set to overtake loyalty programs, as customers increasingly prefer to identify as part of a community (as opposed to a mere loyal consumer). This might involve drawcard benefits such as free shipping or exclusive access to certain products (rather than discounts).*
  • In the post-pandemic world, hybrid events (where people can choose to attend either in-person or online) will continue, giving businesses the option to reach and engage with broader audiences.*
  • Many experts are talking about the growing trend towards virtual or augmented reality, which could mean anything from hosting virtual meetings in the metaverse to virtual try-ons where customers can see how products look on in their home.*
  • The video trend may carry over into the retail space, where digital displays will help encourage brand awareness or highlight particular products.

So, there you have it, folks — a little taste of what’s to come in the heady world of marketing trends. Don’t forget, however, that marketing isn’t about jumping at the first sight of a new trend on the horizon: good marketing will always be flexible and open-eyed yet grounded in solid research and strategy.

Have a question about how to implement these tactics or what they mean for your business? Get in touch with PIER and we can help you navigate marketing in a 2022 landscape.


* https://www2.deloitte.com/global/en/insights/topics/marketing-and-sales-operations/global-marketing-trends.html

* https://www.marketingdive.com/news/looking-ahead-9-trends-that-will-steer-marketing-in-2022/616935/

* https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/topics/marketing-and-sales-operations/global-marketing-trends/2022/end-to-end-customer-experience-ai.html

* https://www.meltwater.com/en/resources/2022-marketing-trends

* https://www.forbes.com/sites/henrydevries/2021/12/16/10-trends-for-digital-marketing-in-2022/?sh=6af2f7e1755a

* https://www.marketingdive.com/news/looking-ahead-9-trends-that-will-steer-marketing-in-2022/616935/

Image * https://www2.deloitte.com/global/en/insights/topics/marketing-and-sales-operations/global-marketing-trends.html