As marketers, we’re used to facing new challenges—but last year took the cake.
We fielded ongoing curveballs from COVID-19, dealt with the impacts of new industry forces like Apple Mail Privacy Protection (MPP), and tried to meet ever-rising consumer expectations.
I’m excited to see what new challenges and opportunities 2022 brings. But starting the year without a concrete list of goals is a recipe for underwhelming performance.
For your marketing program to have maximum impact, it‘s important to set goals now—and hopefully stick to them longer than your New Year’s resolution to hit the gym every day.
Recently, a few other marketing leaders and I shared our 2022 resolutions with TechCrunch.
Read on for an overview of my responses.
Resolution #1: Don’t plan for business as usual
As new virus variants spread at surprising speed, COVID-19 is still disrupting entire industries. Even if cases start to decline as predicted, smart marketers won’t fall into the trap of assuming everything is back to normal.
How can marketers plan to “expect the unexpected?”
We have to prepare to pivot early and often to ensure our larger campaigns and investments succeed, regardless of the status of the pandemic. This will likely include building contingency plans to make in-person events hybrid or virtual, and adjusting forecasts accordingly.
Resolution #2: Find new ways to use short-form videos
Consumers still have a huge appetite for video content—and this won’t change any time soon.
The generation of people who grew up with YouTube and Tiktok are joining the workforce and becoming your target B2B buyers. They expect to get what they want fast—including information from your company. But many marketers are missing key opportunities to engage with this audience in the way they prefer.
In some cases, the solution to this disconnect is short-form video content.
Webinars still reign supreme in the marketing world. But for growth-minded companies, simply hosting a monthly webinar won’t cut it in 2022. Marketing teams should challenge themselves to find ways to address webinar fatigue (accelerated by COVID-19), especially in highly technical industries.
For example, taking long-form content (like webinars) and cutting it up into smaller, more digestible snippets is a quick and easy way to ensure these learnings live on and reach a broader audience after the initial webinar date.
Resolution #3: Prepare for a resurgence of product-led growth models
In 2022, marketers can expect to see a resurgence of product-led growth models. These models typically hinge on creating free products that are appealing, easy to use, and accessible.
For a long time, we’ve believed successful growth models require a free trial period. But with the convergence of product-led growth strategies and the elimination of friction in the buyer journey, this doesn’t have to be the case.
This year, marketers should resolve to embrace this resurgence, but give it a modern twist. Maybe we don’t have to include a trial or free version of our products—particularly since not every company can sustain the investment and resources needed to do so.
Resolution #4: Embrace AI’s potential—but respect its limits
Given the unlimited potential for AI in our industry, it’s easy for marketers to get excited. AI-powered tools can remove a lot from the typical marketer’s plate. Certain tools can improve the user experience and even converse directly with customers and prospects.
But AI is like a house. Without the right technology and engineering infrastructure at the foundation, that house will crumble. It’s important to remember that AI is only as good as the data you feed it. If you train your machine based on bad data, it will come back with faulty trends or not work at all.
We can’t blindly assume AI is the solution to all marketing problems. Implementing AI-powered tools without resolving data decay issues at your organization can sabotage AI projects before they leave the ground.
Resolution #5: Go further with personalization
Personalization certainly isn’t a passing trend. It’s become critical to win and maintain consumer loyalty. This in mind, it’s time to stop enacting simple tokenization and claiming that as personalization. Many marketers add a prospect’s name and company name to their materials and think they’ve checked off the personalization “box.” Our audiences are smarter than that.
From a technology perspective, we need to do more to personalize a customer’s website experience. This requires customization based on who they are, how many times they’ve visited the site, and what we know about them.
Lots of vendors are developing interesting tools that help brands with everything from content personalization to web personalization. When vetting your options, the important piece to consider is the tool’s ability to test and understand the impact of personalization efforts on customers.
A lot of ESPs and companies like Adobe are building impressive tools that enable marketers to home in on the customer journey and demonstrate what the next best action is for each customer.
Resolution #6: Rethink the ideal marketing skillset
New technology solutions pop up daily, all claiming to be the silver bullet that can fix your marketing woes.
And as these new tools multiply, marketers face growing pressure to become more tech-savvy.
Marketers definitely need to be savvy in technology and the implementation of that technology to be successful. But there are many other components of a strong marketer.
A successful marketer today might be equal parts marketing technologist, marketing strategist, and marketing executor. Generally speaking, there’s more value in being able to explain your problems and develop strategies to fix them than to gobble up any technology you get your hands on.
Read the full TechCrunch article to see what my peers had to say about their marketing goals for the upcoming year.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding marketing in 2022, email will remain a critical channel for growth-minded marketers.
For tips to stay ahead of new email trends and maximize your email performance in 2022, join Validity for our monthly State of Email Live webinar.
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