As business people, we are always looking for the next biggest trends in marketing. We listen to the top research and data companies who scientifically (and usually correctly) forecast which direction consumers are going and which marketing tactics to deploy. Even when there was a revelational change in marketing (a dozen-or-so years ago) towards hyper-focus on ‘customer/user experience’, we quickly learned and incorporated into our marketing mix essentials like: meeting the customer where/when they are; being aware of their values while speaking their language; creating real engagements. And many of us (hopefully you’re one of them!) have been very successful by paying attention to and deploying such trends.
And so, in preparing for 2022 many of us did our extensive research on the latest trends and have already incorporated the current list into our marketing plans; elements like: artificial intelligence, virtual reality, utilizing social media in ways beyond partnering with online influencers, personalizing ads to the target consumer with precision, and preparing for the metaverse (even if we’re not quite sure what that means yet).
Now we gauge: which campaigns went well, which didn’t go well; adjust, refine and repeat. Done. Right?
Well, yes and no. While it’s vital for businesses to stay up-to-date on the latest and greatest in advertising tactics, today businesses need to look beyond the ‘top ten’ lists of trends and tactics to be successful. If the last several years has taught us anything, it’s that businesses need to be:
- far more flexible and agile (the COVID-19 pandemic revealed that many businesses didn’t/don’t have a plan B or even C for their marketing and – in some cases – even for their operations)
- sensitive to important social movements and craft their messages so they meet the target audience while being acutely aware of their values (successful companies looked at the cultural protests around the world and then look inward and adjusted their corporate culture and messages to be a part of positive change in the world; other companies did not and were/still are in damage-control mode – or worse)
- active advocates for climate change in their operations as well in their corporate communications (consumers are becoming increasingly more aware of hollow words, hypocrisy and inaction from businesses regarding the environment; companies who know and are responding to this are increasingly more successful)
The seismic changes in the world today are signalling more than just changing or evolving trends. While it’s been coined the ‘new normal’, it’s more like a shift paradigms. And increasingly more, it’s the businesses who realize this current shift and are responding by reflecting internally to modify their own corporate paradigm who are experiencing more success. This internal reflection and adjustment coupled with the actual marketing tactical trends is a combination that can make the difference between moderate success and next-level success.