It may seem like we are all walking through treacle when it comes to business in 2022. The devastating effects of COVID-19 have not been undersold by any means, but it pays to be optimistic in business and therefore, marketing. 

So how do we make 2022 a year to remember for marketing? How do we escape the sluggish pair of years that were 2021 and 2020 and freshen up for a year where many predict recovery? It may seem obvious, but by ensuring you are on trend and remaining relevant is key. How to do this is a matter of attracting the right customers and speaking to their interests and what they find important. 

One of the trends predicted for 2022 is that social responsibility will become a priority. There’s a lot to be said for improving one’s reputation, but nurturing this is a long-term game and in the case of social responsibility, it becomes even more important to maintain this. Too often corporate social responsibility is initiated to be performative, brief and laid out as a quick win. 

This is a bleak way to approach it.

Consumers are now all the more aware when companies flirt with such concepts for a quick buck. See the lamentable campaign by Pepsi where a single can was handed to an armed soldier and all was right in the world. A tone-deaf move by a global firm was rightly lambasted for being sycophantic with no real meaning. At a corporate level, long-term, but low key manoeuvres are required, but at SME level, where customers are often more discerning, adoption of CSR or meaningful support for causes means you are seen as genuine and passionate about the needs of the world around you.

Young people in particular value these aspects of a business more. Many pick their careers based on altruism, giving and being socially conscious.

But how to go about it? The rise of influencer marketing has seen a peak in recent years, with saturation limits reached as people tire of the same kinds of campaigns, but specifically working with influencers to promote your CSR activities could well be a way to still make this work. For example, a company working towards zero carbon emissions could work with a ‘green’ influencer to hammer home their message.

Despite its lack of true tracking, investing in social responsibility is a great way to build trust among customers old and new, as well as attracting others. Similar to PR, it is a slow-burning, yet highly effective strategy that can easily become second nature and therefore become a part of your overall marketing strategy and business mission. Reputation, perception and influence are all fantastic attributes to be gained, which can’t be bought easily, rather they are gradually strived for and achieved. 

Furthermore, there’s a prediction that messaging will be transmitted in different ways, so investigating these methods will be worth it to further develop your marketing strategy. These include VR and AR, which is gaining traction as the technology becomes more affordable and available. The rise of the metaverse is something that many are already experimenting with. Could an aspect of your business or even just your marketing be rolled out to this fresh new channel?

It’s also predicted that less marketers are aiming to spend on what has been termed ‘ephemeral’ content, the kind that appears for a short period of time and then vanishes. The likes of Snapchat, Instagram and other platforms have adopted the ‘stories’ feature, but many are reporting on its lack of ROI. This means a return to ‘permanent’ posts that sit on platforms and can be viewed multiple times. As ever though, this is a cyclical model and as the ephemeral content medium evolves, so too will its effectiveness in the market. Combining the two seems an effective approach, with more organic content being posted ephemerally perhaps being a better strategy.

The thing to remember this year is to be open minded to change. Marketing can switch tactically on a dime so being prepared to test, rethink and roll out new concepts and strategies in a constant flow is a great skill to have.