Trends in business change. To stay relevant, it’s essential to study the trends and incorporate those that make sense for your business. Your marketing department, in particular, should be aware of business trends so that they can optimize your marketing strategy for the most significant customer engagement.
Since we’re focusing on the marketing department, let’s look at the latest trends in MarTech tools. We’ll start with a discussion of what MarTech tools are before looking at the top predictions for MarTech in 2022.
What Are MarTech Tools?
MarTech is a short way of saying Marketing Technology. When you incorporate MarTech into your business marketing strategy, it’s typically referred to as a MarTech stack. The tools in your stack should reflect the overall marketing goals that you have set for your company.
Knowing your company goals and scaling metrics will help you choose the best tools to include in your MarTech stack. MarTech tools can be anything from SEO writing tools for optimizing the organic content of your website to customer engagement metrics. Task management and digital asset management also fall into the MarTech stack category.
Benefits of the Right MarTech Stack
If you’re on the fence about MarTech and how it will benefit your business, you aren’t alone. One research report estimated that businesses only allocate approximately 26% of their marketing budgets to MarTech. This would seem to indicate that while MarTech is not a brand new concept, some companies still don’t fully trust the tech side of marketing.
Companies that do use MarTech are just using about 58% of the full capabilities of their stack. So, what benefits are they potentially missing by not fully utilizing their chosen MarTech stack? Many MarTech tools, digital asset management (DAM), for example, integrate with other software to optimize workflow leading to a time-saving reduction in workload. The increased productivity created by prioritized automated processes and saved time makes an efficient team that recognizes improved results of optimized strategies designed by analyzing intrinsic MarTech data.
The right MarTech stack, used efficiently, can help you stay on top of marketing trends. Being aware of the trends can help you evaluate the stack you currently use or choose a stack that is the most beneficial to your company and your ultimate scaling goals. The ultimate goal is better engagement with your customer base regardless of whether you are a service provider or a product-based business.
Top Trends for 2022
The pandemic that began in 2019 changed life for everyone. Virtual schools, online shopping, and Zoom meetings for business and court proceedings all became the norm rather than the exception. As the digital climate has changed, businesses are being forced to find new ways to deal with their new ways of doing business.
Unfortunately, those businesses that didn’t adapt have been leaving the business world. Those who did adapt are still looking for ways to incorporate the high-quality data that has become necessary for everyday operation in this digital reality. Enter MarTech and the solutions it has to offer.
Like most other digital platforms, MarTech solutions have trends that come and go. Some programs and practices trend for a while. Others are gone as soon as you’ve heard about them. In 2022, the pattern is expected to continue, with some MarTech solutions being on the way out, others remaining steady, and still, others coming into their own. After some research, we’ve compiled information on the trends that we think marketing pros should watch for in the upcoming year.
The End of B2B Marketing Campaigns
Marketing should be about transformational value. The way we perceive B2B marketing will change, or disappear altogether. Unrealistic turnarounds on RFPs (requests for proposals) cause marketers, publishers, and agencies issues. So, the new trend is going to be outcomes-as-a-service (OaaS) platforms.
In OaaS marketing, you plan once, have a consistent digital experience that is supported by improved software releases, and have real-time reporting. Marketers will spend time reviewing key performance indicators (KPI) and focusing on optimization. Vertical integration of software, data, and media are expected with the new outcomes-as-a-service platforms that emerge in 2022. The OaaS will run on globally sourced, privacy-safe first-party data that results in outcomes such as leads and impressions.
An Alternative to Cookies
Account based marketing (ABM) will evolve into intent-based cohort targeting. Marketers will be able to scale marketing efforts based on identified common characteristics rather than relying on a target account list.
Capturing the Dark Funnel
Have you heard the term dark funnel and wondered what it is? Basically, the dark funnel encompasses the information that marketers don’t know about a consumer. It’s the insights that are hidden from the traditional sales funnel marketing method.
In 2022, expect to see marketers working to get a more comprehensive view of a buyer’s path to consumerism. Teams will look for ways to combine multiple sources of intent data to gain a better understanding of the journey a buyer takes. The goal is to combine third-party sources with first- and second-party sources to form a more complete picture of intent.
The Influence of Data Authenticity
The development and marketing of products or services rely upon the data collected by vendors and marketers. A digitally influenced world means data is more readily available to vendors and marketers. However, confirming the authenticity of the information is more challenging than it was.
In 2022, vendors leveraging data to decide which products to create and which customers to target will rely more on trusted sources that have a human connection. The convergence of automated technology and human connection is where decision-making practices will strategically land.
DIY Marketing Becomes Easier
As economies rebound from the effects of the pandemic, in-house marketing efforts will likely continue to expand. Intent-based data in combination with ABM protocols and cloud marketing tools will lend itself to a DIY marketing experience. These tools allow businesses to customize their marketing efforts to their industry.
With the proliferation of MarTech tools available, companies can customize their stack to have an effective marketing campaign in-house. They just need enough people to implement their strategies. The driving force behind the desire for DIY marketing efforts will likely be data privacy along with efficient operations.
Focus on Optimization
Optimization and integration are two things marketing pros want from their MarTech stack. They want their tools to integrate seamlessly with each other, and they want optimal performance. Businesses will likely reevaluate MarTech budgets and review their stack with the goal of eliminating those tools that are rarely if ever, used.
Expect marketers to opt for software solutions that can be customized to fit their needs rather than choosing an off-the-shelf, one-size-fits-all solution. Customization will provide a higher ROI since they will likely be used rather than sit silently in a stack of other tools that are underutilized.
Migration to the Cloud
Cloud usage has increased due in part to the pandemic. This trend is expected to continue in 2022. Before the pandemic, the motivation for using cloud-based technologies was cost optimization, opportunities for commercialization, and faster innovation.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, more people have been working remotely. The remote workforce has prompted the need for reliable, accessible systems that are secure and offer scalability for businesses. Those businesses that couldn’t meet these goals are the ones who struggled to survive—if they did—the continued effects of the pandemic. Cloud-based technologies promote accessibility for both customers and employees, helping businesses to stay operational and relevant in these uncertain times.
Engagement Tools Proliferated
Marketing, at its core, is all about customer engagement. If the customer isn’t engaged in some way, your product or service will fall flat. With expanding customer expectations, engagement tools are expected to gain in popularity for 2022.
Live chats, chatbots, email campaigns, digital ads, and other tools that help companies maximize customer-centric marketing practices are expected to be at the forefront of MarTech’s choices. Click-to-close advancements will allow marketers to better track engagement with digital ads allowing them to identify the programs and channels that are driving customer purchases.
The Issue of Privacy
Consumer trust is an issue with corporations. People simply don’t trust big businesses after dealing with data breaches, hacks, and advertisements that seem like someone was watching you. The solution? Businesses need to invest in tools that help develop first-party data.
Gone is the use of third-party data exclusively. New marketing practices may seem old school, but joining the latest technology to the old makes the marketing efforts effective without being a step backward. Third-party targeting like cookies left consumers feeling like privacy had been invaded, so marketers are looking for new ways to find data that leaves customer privacy intact.
Embrace the Story
Your brand needs a story. Customers engage with the story behind the brand. You can use audio or video tools to help you with this aspect of the marketing journey. While this isn’t technically a piece of tech to add to your stack, tech in your stack can help facilitate this marketing tip.
Most people think customers want to see a nice, polished video associated with the brand. However, consumers spend a large portion of their time with audio rather than video. As a matter of fact, consumers worldwide seem to enjoy live-streaming sales, influencers who shop and record the experience, community, and social engagement over a polished static video.
If your tools aren’t accessible for your team, they won’t use them. Approximately a third of marketing executives say that their teams are not reaching their potential due to tools that aren’t user-friendly. No-code/low-code tools are regularly used by about a third of marketing teams, according to MarTech Alliance.
No-code/low-code tools allow marketing pros to customize the tools they use on a daily basis whether they have a background in tech development or not. Because marketers know exactly what they need to perform their jobs more efficiently, the no-code/low-code tools will allow them to create the exact tech they need. Tool development will be faster because marketers can customize them on the fly.
Big Data Analytics
Data analytics is studying data to retrieve information from software and systems. The information from this kind of analysis allows you to make better informed business decisions. Data analytics strategy software uses built-in cloud tools to provide the ability to find relevant data for a particular task and dashboard capabilities.
The demand for workers who are skilled in dealing with big data analytics will likely increase in 2022. Approximately 96% of companies are already in the planning stages or pre-planning stages for hiring for that need.
Marketers skilled in big data analytics and other digitally-relevant areas will continue to be in demand. Data science, cloud computing, and AI-related skills will particularly be in demand. These employees will want flexibility in workflow and location, meaning they will have more control over their career paths.
A Combination of E-Commerce and Social Media
Social media platforms have continued to grow, and as they grow, so does the expectation that they will drive consumer choice. People who have become accustomed to purchasing online have come to expect the ability to purchase anything anywhere. More people are making decisions regarding products and services based on social media advertisements.
Those who want enhanced engagement and accurate targeting are drawn to social commerce. E-commerce platforms are expected to begin integrating with social media platforms for a more comprehensive distribution metric.
Decreased Cost of Cloud Solutions
We’ve already discussed the increased usage of cloud-based tools. However, we didn’t mention the cost of those tools. The cost of cloud-based solutions has already begun to fall.
The accessibility of cloud platforms will help marketers speed up processes and solutions. Employers will begin to look for employees who are skilled with cloud-based processes. Core toolsets are relatively user-friendly and feed an “everyone can do it” attitude. Cloud-based processes can be charged by the process so that multiple clouds can cause multiple charges.
A Connected Metaverse
Metaverse seems like a term straight out of a sci-fi series. However, Facebook has already led the charge into the Metaverse with its parent company, Meta. Companies have begun to step toward the creation of metaverse infrastructure.
The prediction is that Metaverse and MarTech will overlap sooner rather than later. The concept of an interconnected metaverse is something that can not be ignored for long, with tech giants like Microsoft and Facebook already introducing elements of Metaverse.
Increase in Conversational Marketing
Have you heard of conversational marketing? Conversational marketing engages customers in real-time to give them what they want. AI within intelligent chatbots fuels conversational marketing.
Gone are the days of completing forms to request a conversation with a sales professional. Chatbots allow questions to be relayed in real-time between consumers and salespeople. The chatbots can be programmed to make offers, give tips, or move them through your sales funnel quicker.
Extended reality(XR) allows a person to interact within a virtual environment. There are three reality types that are incorporated into XR in the business industry. Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR) are all variants that are incorporated into extended reality.
All three variants that are part of extended reality have tremendous potential for attracting customers. Extended reality variants help to improve perceptions of products. The top three uses of XR marketing are the organization of virtual events, the launch of virtual stores and exhibition halls, and 360-degree video ad campaigns.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Machine learning and artificial intelligence provide two advantages to digital projects for marketing. AI-based marketing uses detailed information on customer buying patterns. It’s critical to be able to predict the requests of users in order to increase sales. Smart analytics that provide for more effective decision-making, as well as opportunities for excellent speedy performance, are the advantages of AI and ML.
ML-based marketing changes the industry using chatbots to generate email marketing content, risk predictions, pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, and email campaigns that use targeting data. Businesses use AI mostly to get insights from deep analytics and personalize content for each customer. Taking care of consumer personalization is a critical step to planning your startup.
Business intelligence is a combination of apps and technologies that allow you to gather data in order to analyze your business processes. Approximately half of all small businesses use business intelligence tools to plan strategies and goals.
Business intelligence is a popular tool because it’s easy to use. Marketers don’t need to understand programming to be able to use business intelligence software. BI is based on sophisticated data science and artificial intelligence.
BI tools have drag-and-drop functionality for creating information models. Excel sheets and structured SQL databases can be connected, providing versatility as well as the ability to get the most possible out of data.
Amazon’s Alexa started the boost in using voice search capabilities. Businesses have begun to realize that they can stand out in the market by utilizing voice search capabilities.
Average customers tend to prefer using voice search capabilities whenever possible. According to a Gartner study, when it came to browsing sessions at the end of 2020, approximately 30% of them included some sort of voice search during the session. Approximately 27% of people search on their devices using the voice search capabilities.
Mobile-first has been a marketing technique since 2015 when Google used an algorithm to determine positions based upon sites that supported a mobile version. Fast forward to today, and optimization of projects for mobile devices and standard adaptability to mobile platforms have affected search results. Businesses that don’t actively support mobile usage lose significant search positioning and ranking.
The final stage of Google’s mobile-first indexing was implemented around March 2021. Research shows that if a website doesn’t offer a mobile version or if it’s not convenient to use, about 60% of the customer base doesn’t return to the site. If your mobile functionality isn’t up to customer standards, don’t expect customers to recommend your business to others.
Companies have begun investing in mobile optimization as one of their premier SEO tactics because customers choose to connect directly via search engine results. Average customers now have access to ten or more connected devices routinely. When asked about contacting businesses directly via search results, over 60% of smartphone users say they have directly connected through their search results.
Choosing Which Trends to Follow
Several of the trends we found aren’t new to the world of MarTech. The question then becomes how to know which ones to implement and which ones to ignore. The simple answer to the question is to know your business.
It’s easy to overwhelm your marketing department by having a MarTech stack that has the wrong tools in it. You need to know your scalability and optimization goals before choosing which trending features to add. If virtual experiences don’t play a role in your business model, for example, you’ll want to avoid adding extended reality tools to your stack.
Trends in marketing are like trends in other fields. Some come, some go, and some stay for the long term. The trick is knowing which trends will become long-term tools that will benefit your business model. Setting your scalability and customer engagement goals will help you choose the best trending tools to add to your MarTech stack in 2022.
Overall, it seems that the trends in 2022 lean toward improved customer engagement based upon first-party data and moving away from third-party data gathering, like cookies. Cloud-based tools that are user-friendly are preferred over tools that require extensive technical knowledge and coding abilities.
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