With spring almost here, I hope everyone is well and your businesses are off to a solid start in 2022!

As we discussed in our last newsletter, the world has been transformed by the vaccines, but we’re still dealing with disruptions due to the Omicron variant, as well as inflation, supply chain issues and continued geo-political issues around the world. That newsletter was met with significant enthusiasm and an amazing 41% open rate (i.e. 41% of those who got it, read it), more than double the industry average.  

In January, we outlined the first 6 of those 12 trends and predictions for 2022. These included stubbornly high inflation, shopping migration to social media, the continued power of video, Amazon’s dominance, digital’s rapid pivitozation, and “remote” cultures.

In this issue, we’re going to cover the second set of 6 trends (for our total of 12). After you read them, I’d love to get your feedback as to whether these do justice for what is really going on within the marketplace, so please feel free to connect via e-mail, LinkedIn or Twitter.

Yosi’s Crystal Ball – The Final 6 (of 12) Marketing & Digital Predictions for 2022!

And here they are….

  1. “Influencers” will continue to be a powerful selling tool when they are leveraged properly. – This is a topic I talk to every one of my clients about these days. The trick is to figure out which niche bloggers write either about your category (e.g. plant based foods) or the benefits you offer….and then engage with these influencers to use them somehow as a brand ambassador. And the rewards here can be amazing! And the cost? It can often be zero or close to zero.

    As purchase decisions are more informed than ever in history, online influencers and niche bloggers (even small ones) can help brands reach targeted global audiences. Even B2B and small businesses can get in on this act as the cost can be zero or close to zero. No wonder 95% of marketers who use influencers believe that they are very effective.

    In addition, brand advocates and current customer ambassadors who provide referrals to their friends can also often be a great way to obtain new customers at little or no cost. Consider this…While only 14% of consumers trust advertising, 90% of consumers trust peer reviews and recommendations!

    Do you have a 2022 plan in place to properly leverage influencers and brand advocates at low or even no cost?

  2. LinkedIn is growing significantly as a truly potent sales lead generation and marketing tool – Businesspeople will rely on LinkedIn much more often to make up for the lack of trade shows and significantly less in person meetings these days due to Covid-19. The question is…how can one “network” for new business if you can’t go to trade shows or out for coffee or dinner with a prospective customer? Linked In has quickly become a potent sales lead generation, marketing, and networking tool. 

    Almost all of us have a profile on LinkedIn and we use it to link up and socialize with business colleagues and associates. For example, (and especially if you’re in B2B), you can now very effectively micro target potential leads by geography, job title, seniority, closeness to your inner circle and much more. In addition, it’s becoming popular for people to post content and videos to their LinkedIn feed as a way to spice up their participation and social optimization. I’m working with numerous clients on this, and it is an amazingly new and effective lead generation medium. If you’re looking to drive powerful new sales lead generation avenues for your business, you should certainly look into these new LinkedIn services for your sales and marketing teams going forward.

  3. Marketing Automation is becoming a great way to drive both new sales and lower costs – For business, marketing automation, hyper automation and artificial intelligence are now at the heart of global business and industry. And for consumers, machine learning and artificial intelligence will penetrate further into our lives and impact a lot of processes that used to be manual, especially in digital and online. For example, with tools such as Intercom and Drift, marketers can use artificial intelligence powered live chat tools to communicate with customers.

    Interesting that marketing used to be mainly a ‘creative’ pursuit. Today, it is much beyond that especially given the intricacies of content, social media and search data. So you need more of a digital platform to manage it all. Marketing automation and AI make it much easier to segment contacts, capture and process new leads, schedule e-mail distribution based on consumer behaviors, automate social media postings, manage content flow, track a customer’s lifecycle, integrate cross channel programs, automate workflows, and measure the impact and ROI of specific programs!

    Businesses adopting MA & AI technology will experience significant cost savings, and accelerate their revenue growth…giving them an edge over their competition. Does your 2022 plan have this technology in it yet?

  4. “Purpose” is more important than ever, especially with younger consumers – According to the AAAA, 56% of US consumers are happy to hear about brands that take positive social action. In truth, telegraphing an objective of “purpose” is very important, especially in a time when people have been scared, and many were facing financial hardships (and still are…). Brands should think about what they can do from a charity and social responsibility perspective. For example, Starbucks has provided front line healthcare workers with free coffee. Adding a “purpose” component message to your advertising, PR and/or social media can leave a positive and even lasting impression on your customers and clients. And this is especially powerful when targeting millennials who typically hold brands to a much higher standard.

  5. Voice Search, Chatbots, and Voice Recognition Technology will become much more mainstream in 2022 – In fact, well over 50% of all online searches will be conducted via voice search this year…that’s because voice search is much easier than typing so it tends to do very well, especially with longer FAQ type questions. And amazingly, this past year already saw 7% of grocery shoppers buying some groceries utilizing voice search!

    For marketers, voice search and chatbots are both starting to become such an opportunity because people are now using messaging apps more than they use social networks, so they’re becoming the new platform for sales, services, customer care and content/information. As chatbots take on more human-like personalities, they can take up a portion of customer communications and literally change the conversation for brands, and lower selling and customer care costs as well. For example, Domino’s Pizza uses voice technology allowing people to order pizzas through Alexa, helping to increase their sales. And another nice benefit…chatbots never lose patience with your customers!

    Juniper Research says that marketing spending within voice powered digital assistants will reach $19 billion in 2022, and will be driven mainly by transactional voice such as ordering products and services. Chatbot use will likely grow by 25% annually becoming a $1.3 billion market by 2025, and voiced based e-commerce will reach $40 billion by 2022! So keep your pulse on this one….Its potentially a big game changer for all marketers and salespeople.

  6. There is much more outsourcing of C-Suite “Os –Outsourcing of the CFO, CMO, and CIO positions on a part time basis has started to become much more common these days. This is especially true for small and medium sized businesses who want high level world class strategic thinking, but cannot afford it on a full time basis. If you’re still low on cash due to Covid or you’re trying to lower overhead budgets, you should ask yourself if you can hire an outside CFO, CIO or CMO to work on a “fractional” basis (e.g. 5 or 6 days per month) to oversee key strategic and financial thinking and planning at a fraction of the cost of a full time executive. And you can add more days of work (or subtract less days) whenever you need them.

    By combining the high level thinking of a former big company “C” level executive and the executional capabilities of a more junior internal person, you could experience increased revenue/valuation growth, but at much lower and flexible employee labor costs…leading to lower fixed costs and increased profitability.

So until next time, good luck and good selling in 2022…and please stay safe!