Trends in integrated marketing communication 2022

Habits will have to chang faster, and more reliably and authentically - the customers will not wait for long

The new year marks new trends. We live in an interesting and challenging time. As we already stressed at the end of the previous year, “from an idea to madness” - that is the modern marketing content that is delivered in person, remotely or in a hybrid manner. This is the new normal. So what has changed in comparison with the previous year? Trends 2021

#1 Quickly, reliably and authentically - communication in conditions of hybrid chaos

I would like to stress this as trend no. 1, since only those who adapt will survive, and it is impossible to manage everything all at once. Google trends suggest many tips. The most searched recipes in Latvia - preparing chanterelle sauce and squash. The most popular “How to...” In USA - how to cut men's hair at home. Companies have no other choice but to adapt to this age of “madness", when a few persons around the world have taken it upon themselves to distribute fake news. A splintering society, suspicions and seeing things that do not exist. We still have good news - increase of trust in companies, that should also be used in creating contents. What are the main signs of chaos - namely, a more dynamic and less predictable consumer behavior. The pandemic, on the other hand, has accelerated current changes in behavior and people need help to orient themselves in the complexity. The customers want an open and accessible digital world, which requires corresponding communication that respects privacy and ensures remote or hybrid forms of communication.

#2 Fast communication appropriate to crisis

Due to the existing global situation, the marketing communication of companies is also currently similar to classic crisis communication, where the keywords for a more successful result are acknowledgment, apology and action. It must be kept in mind that the first 24 hours after each change are always and everywhere the most important, since every company is a part of the bigger crisis. Therefore, each household or company acts as a central information provider. This is an age of easy-to-understand instructions and infographics. Some tips for successful communication - always acknowledge the persons to which the company is or is not open. If someone has not been granted access, it is always possible to provide information about alternatives. This will certainly facilitate more positive communication. It is important to see oneself as part of the crisis - this means that customers must be provided information, but in the form of instructions. Links to Cabinet of Ministers regulations will not do. The company simplifies the associated information in a language that the customer can understand. Of course, with the application of the necessary references. It must be noted that this must be done quickly, since customers do not have time to wait.

#3 Reliable marketing communication

This means that (in addition to previously implemented actions) it is necessary to strengthen or intensify them in various channels. Particular attention must be paid to time zones (if the company is active in international markets). In essence it is work and 24/7 response in cooperation with partners, employees, influencers, ensuring mutual support and, if necessary, defense. In communication, we must always remember the "onion method", namely, we communicate from the internal environment of the organization towards the outside, sorting the target audience according to priority.

#4 Authentic marketing communication that is based on values

Which includes the fast and reliable transmission of brand values. Including in advertising. “People trust advertising that speaks of values rather than products", reveals the latest global Nielsen research. This aspect is closely related to trust, which in turn affects loyalty. It is important to add that the transmission of values can also be accompanied by humor. It should also be mentioned that integrated marketing communication is present in all sections of the marketing "funnel". Continuing the Nielsen research: “Consumers are most interested in advertising that includes humor (49%), family (47%) and values (43%), rather than products supported by celebrities or athletes - these have achieved the lowest assessment regarding trust.” The data makes us reflect on influencers. According to Nielsen: “Only 23% of people trust influencer ads.” More in the article here

#5 Brands are and will be be forced to talk about “sensitive topics”

If at the end of last year we mentioned the trend that brands increasingly talk about “sensitive” topics, then currently it must be said that often they are forced and cannot avoid various acute topics in the news, due to the existing situation - this can, of course, arouse specific customer reactions - outrage, aggression, anger, or sometimes understanding. This means constant explaining, expressing one's position or silence - which can also provoke a reaction. This also requires constant analysis, monitoring and answers to questions. Companies participate in processes, but it should be done with strategic care, avoiding manipulation.

#6 Blindness - not just to advertising, but also to PR activities

Blindness everywhere. Around 50% of people choose to use ad blocking solutions, making it difficult to reach the target audience. For some time already, PR and other direct or indirect sales facilitating activities have come to our aid. Competitors also understand this, therefore there is simply lots of everything everywhere. We recommend fighting the blindness creatively, communicating together with partners, the non-governmental sector, employees, customers, or create stronger factions by uniting forces. This particularly applies to the B2B sector, since content is still king and engagement queen. In the global market this aspect is one of the main marketing strategies.

#7 Using artificial intelligence in influencer marketing and alternatives to “cookies”

Last year we talked about the lessening impact of influencers, as well as using micro-influencers. Still, companies use them and it seems this will continue. Changes in legislation and influencer monitoring have also taken place, therefore influencers must add #advertising, #paid, #paidcontent or other unambiguous hashtags to their posts. . It must be noted that changes are also to be expected due to introducing AI. Namely, more intensive use of technology should be expected - starting from influencer identification to influencer marketing performance.

It is also to be expected that alternatives to third-party cookies will be found. Google has declared that the "death” of the third-party cookie has been delayed to 2023, but this does not mean that the target audience selection strategies based on cookies are less urgent, since it must be taken into account that the consumers demand greater protection of privacy and control over their data, and companies will have to adapt. More in the article here.

#8 More investments in personalization, AI and hybrid communication

As every year, we will now review the Deloitte global marketing trend 2022 report that states that more and more organizations rethink just about everything - from product delivery to the engagement of employees, customers and the public. The result is authentic and inclusive marketing where consumers are more attracted to brands that take a stand against social injustice. When talking about cookies, Deloitte reports that: “Rapidly growing companies overtake competitors by transferring to a first-party data strategy and by introducing dynamic creative optimization and programmatic multimedia measures.” The majority of companies plan to invest in hybrid communication, allowing them greater personalization, significantly greater innovation and communication opportunities. And, of course, customer service using the capacities of AI. More on this report here and here.

#9 Visualization of story-based content

Yes, the development of voice searching has progressed significantly, and the importance of readable content has not disappeared, however, studies pointing out that people still prefer visual content have not been disproved. Therefore it must be noted that a valuable content - in combination with appropriate visualization and audio - will provide an even greater effect. This definitely includes stories and marketing oriented to conversation/dialog. This is an age of comments and engagement in various channels, appropriate for each generation. Several additional trends in the article here un here, as well as here. This tool could also be useful for content visualization: see here

#10 PR without media events. Reaching the media through Twitter

Events for media will not be as popular, and mostly will take place virtually. It can be expected that automation will become everyday reality, with increasing use of technical solutions. We predict that the press release and its structure will develop, making it more functionally usable for the media. In the global market a single link has long been used with all the required information for the media, instead of e-mails with long accompanying texts and attachments, preferring a short summary that only stresses the main points. It is expected that the newsrooms will continue to become smaller, therefore PR agencies will have to act as news mediators. More here. At the same time it can be expected that the media will rely more on published articles and PR specialists will use a larger number of channels.

Social media, particularly Twitter, will still be one of the fastest ways to reach mass media. More about PR trends here.

#11 Communication “bubbles", closed groups and reputation issues

Meanwhile, society will continue to communicate in “bubbles” (more in the article here) and closed groups, therefore companies will have to think more about the formation of such groups, offering rich, valuable and personalized content. It is possible that such groups will proliferate far too much, since the trend has already been observed, at least in Latvia, which could once again cause a “blindness", as with everything else that has been tried, and we will have to think of something else again. It should also be noted that expressing opinions as experts, particularly on “sensitive” topics, is like a "shot in the foot", due to the the splintering of society and the low level of comment culture, forcing to pay more attention to reputation issues, mindful of the halo and horn effect.

#12 Online presentations in sales, not forgetting about the personal brands of the sellers

In sales we expect a more intensive development of online presentations and hybrid communication - of course, depending on the field and the product sold. E-mail is an invaluable aid in sales, particularly to loyal customers, however, greater automation of this form of marketing can be expected, based on customer behavior and with greater integration of social networks. Personal brands play an invaluable role in sales; of course, this also depends on the product sold and the specific field, however, people desire authenticity.

As can be seen, the integrated marketing communication trends are developing, becoming more digital, hybrid, and based even more on values.

It's no use arguing with reality - the quicker we accept the new conditions, the easier we will adapt and survive. A successful 2022! Thanks to our customers and cooperation partners for their trust! Video article here

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Jolanta Derkevica-Pilskunga, PhD