As many marketers know, the months of November through January can be the most pivotal for a business.
Why? This is when many marketing teams dive deep into planning for the next year.
At this point, you're probably starting to get overwhelmed by all the market research, industry news, competitive analysis, and/or team metrics you need to sift through as you plan for 2022. And, this overflow of information can make it incredibly hard for teams to determine what they need to focus on.
To help marketers plan for 2022, I recently published findings from the HubSpot Blog's Marketing Industry Trends Survey, where I collected data from more than 1,000 global B2B and B2C marketers -- and aimed to answer questions like:
- Which industry trends and tactics are marketers investing in?
- What challenges are they facing?
- And, what are their plans and expectations for 2022 and beyond?
To help readers distill and act on this helpful information even further, I've gone deeper through the survey data and made a list of some of the key recommendations marketers should consider in 2022.
Here are just a few suggestions, based on our data:
11 Data-Backed Marketing Recommendations for 2022
1. Produce short-form videos.
Short-form video is popular, effective, and still growing, with 31% of marketers currently leveraging short-form video and 29% planning to leverage it for the first time in 2022.
Short-form video also has the highest ROI of any social media marketing strategy and 30% of social media marketers plan to invest in it more than any other trend in 2022.
Why do consumers engage with short over long-form content? When done right, short-form content is quick, but still concise, enabling fast-paced web users to get most of the information they need very quickly. And, if a short-form video doesn't pack all the information a person needs to convert in it, it usually forces marketers to point out the most important facts that will make viewers eager to learn more.
One example of a great short-form video is from the Instagram account Miss.Excel (a company that offers Microsoft Excel courses). In this quick video, company founder and CEO, Kat Norton, demonstrates her credibility as an Excel coach by showing viewers how to convert a list of names in all caps to proper text.
If you plan to leverage short-form content in the next year, read up on the latest trends and tips from experts in the video space to get inspiration for your strategy.
2. Partner with influencers.
Influencer marketing is the most popular and effective trend, with the biggest ROI. This trend will keep growing in 2022 with 21% of marketers planning to leverage it for the first time.
Additionally, 46% of marketers who leverage influencers will increase their investments in 2022, while 40% will continue investing the same amount.
While you might expect brands to invest in high-priced, macro-influencers with the largest following possible, we actually saw that many marketers are instead opting to hire more affordable, but still highly-engaging nano or micro-influencers.
This wasn’t all that shocking to the Blog team. Because nano and micro-influencers aren’t celebrities with the highest budget content out there, they’re more relatable and trustworthy, which can lead to persuasive and effective product or brand endorsements.
Want to leverage influencer marketing, but don't know where to start? Check out this handy checklist.
3. Prioritize LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram -- but keep TikTok on your radar.
While just 40% of B2B social media marketers leverage TikTok, 65% of those who do plan on increasing their investment in 2022, the highest increase of any social platform. Meanwhile, 43% and 51% of marketers who use Facebook and Instagram will increase those platform investments in the next year.
In the B2C world, our survey found that 24% of marketers say Facebook returns the biggest ROI, while 19.5% and 12.1% point to Instagram and TikTok respectively. However, 62% of B2C marketers plan to increase investments in TikTok next year, compared to 44% of marketers who use Facebook and 56% of those using Instagram.
4. Leverage audio for engagement rather than ROI.
In the last year, audio platforms like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces, and Spotify (for podcasting) showed us just how viral audio content can be -- even when it’s branded.
And, in 2022, audio trends won’t be toning down.
While only one in three content marketers leverages podcasts or other audio content at the moment, 53% of them say it’s the most effective media format they use.
Investment in podcasts or other audio content will grow in 2022, despite low ROI, our survey found that:
- 26% of content marketers plan to leverage podcasts or other audio content for the first time in 2022.
- 51% of those who already leverage podcasts or other audio content will invest more in 2022
- 43% of those who already leverage these strategies plan to invest the same amount in 2022.
When it comes to audio chat room platforms like Clubhouse or Twitter Spaces, just 14% of social media marketers use them, but 68% of those marketers say it’s the most effective social media marketing strategy they use.
Despite having low ROI, similarly to podcasts and other audio content, investment in audio chat rooms will continue to grow in 2022.
Nearly 50% of marketers who already use audio chat rooms plan to increase their investment in 2022, while 47% plan to maintain their current investment.
5. Go live.
Live video combines the visual and informative benefits of video marketing with the authenticity of unedited and uncensored content. By going live, consumers can see, hear from, and develop an authentic sense of trust from a brand that has decided to put their product, mission, or expertise out on social media for the world to see.
Today, the use of live video is growing, with 32% of social media marketers in our survey planning on leveraging it for the first time in 2022. And, of the 28% of social media marketers who currently leverage live video, 59% say it is the most effective social media marketing strategy they use.
6. Use marketing automation software to streamline strategies.
Automation is no longer a high-priced, inaccessible technology used by giant corporations. In fact, it can help with most areas of marketing, from running complex predictive analytics reports to personalizing marketing emails, to simply streamlining basic tasks to give marketers more time for complex strategies or tactics that require the human touch.
Our survey found that 70% of marketers use automation in their roles, while 33% plan to start in 2022.
7. Champion social responsibility.
While just one in four marketers currently devote resources to social responsibility, professionals we surveyed recognize its importance, with 27% planning to actively embrace it for the first time in 2022.
In 2022, 10% of B2B marketers plan to invest more in social responsibility than any other trend.
As we noted above, social responsibility helps your customers and prospects know what you stand for and that they share similar values or missions as you. For more on why the blog team encourages taking social responsibility, check out this post.
8. Use an omnichannel approach.
Today, 81% of marketers leverage 3 or more marketing channels, and 89% of social media marketers leverage 3 or more social channels.
In a separate Social Media Trends survey, which I’ll report on in an upcoming post, we found that 82% of social media marketers repurpose content across various social channels. However, 69% of B2B companies repurpose content across social media channels, lagging behind B2C companies (89%).
9. Align sales and marketing teams with account-based marketing (ABM).
Just over 27% of marketers struggle with sales-marketing alignment, or smarketing, strategies. Although this challenge is not new to companies, tactics like account-based marketing, or ABM, can help.
Account-based marketing is a sales and marketing alignment tactic where marketers create campaigns, assets, and tactics based on data and feedback directly from the sales floor.
Today, 62% of marketers use ABM in their role, but 27% of marketers who haven’t leveraged it plan to start in 2022.
10. Focus on building hybrid strategies.
In 2022, employees might not be rushing back to the physical office full-time. But, many businesses and marketers will opt for hybrid work environments.
At the moment, half of the global marketers we surveyed are hybrid employees, while just 28% are fully remote.
As you plan for 2022, consider building strategies that work best for a dispersed workforce as some employees will work from home or a remote location either part-time or full-time, while others might rush back into the office.
11. Make the most of your marketing budget.
Between 2020 and 2021, 41% of marketers say their budget increased, while 45% of marketers operated on the same budget from the previous year.
Marketers likely saw their budgets stay fully intact or increase from 2020 to 2021 due to the economic and virtual business landscapes that were accelerated by the pandemic.
For example, businesses with high-priced products saw a lack of sales floor performance as decision-makers needed to spend more cautiously. Meanwhile, online marketing provided exceedingly solid traffic and conversion opportunities as consumers and prospects were stuck inside on the web.
As we move into 2022, the events of the past two years have placed more importance on marketing. For this reason, it's not too shocking that nearly half of marketers (48%) expect their budget to increase in 2022, while 39% expect it to stay the same.
If you're on a team that has seen an increase in budget, it's important to leverage it wisely and build effective strategies that will justify more budget considerations for your team in the future.
Want more recommendations?
After conducting our Marketing Industry Trends Survey, we aren't just stopping after this recommendations post. To help marketers dive deeper into data-backed tactics, we'll continue to publish content around specific findings, trends, and strategies highlighted in our survey.
Below are just a few of the posts we've written recently about specific trends and tactics discovered in our research.
- The HubSpot Blog's 2022 Marketing Industry Trends Report: Data from 1,000+ Global Marketers
- The Marketing Trends of 2022 [A Data-Backed Ultimate Guide]
- The Top 5 B2C Marketing Trends of 2022
- 6 Short-form Video Trends to Watch in 2022
Need even more guidance for your marketing planning? We've got you covered with the free resource below.