Focus on digital marketing

It’s still January, dear marketer, so… yes! But as you know, at fma, we are not a fan of clichés. So we are going to wish you a lot of insight and transparency in 2022!

The year is off to an enthusiastic start and we were eagerly looking forward to the annual Digital Trends Report by the Beeckestijn Business School. FYI, the Beeckestijn Business School is a Dutch training institute located in the Amersfoort area with a specific focus on online marketing.

And this year promises to bring a lot of food for discussion!

First, regarding digital trends in 2022, there is the breakthrough of MarOps, or MarketingOps. You could define this as a collaboration between marketing and IT about data and technology. This includes centralization of customer data, CRM, better monitoring of marketing performance and so on. The further breakthrough is obviously linked to the disappearance of third-party cookies and the increased importance of first-party data. Traditional demographic data is enriched and expanded with segmentation based on, for example, behavior. FYI and further food for thought: in the US, almost 80% of companies have an official MarketingOps department. In Europe, the number stands at 30%… We will repeat ad nauseam what we have written many times, dear advertiser: the importance of this (r)evolution cannot be overstated, so make sure you are on board with this trend.

Trend 2 will also come as no surprise: automated media. If we look at the distribution of the advertising market (WARC data), we see that the share of big tech continued to rise spectacularly in 2021. Social media, video streaming, search, e-com and audio are the main ad spending growth drivers. And make no mistake: these channels run almost exclusively on Big Tech’s eco-systems: Alphabet (Google), Meta (Facebook), Apple, Microsoft and Amazon. All 5 of them also focus heavily on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (think of Google’s Smart Bidding). Uh…. shouldn’t we be talking about transparency this time, about data accuracy and about your control? No? Ok… Incidentally, we should be happy in the Low Countries with the efforts that, for example, DPG Media is making to come up with a response. Because without that effort, we know what the advertising market will look like in about 5 years.

What the Beeckestijn specialists see as an irreversible third trend is the Metaverse, i.e. the further digitization of the physical world. A new eco-system based on AI, new digital interfaces, augmented & virtual reality and so on is being built at breakneck speed. To make it concrete, we can mention Mark Zuckerberg’s demo: a virtual meeting with colleagues that appear as a hologram. Or: attending virtual pop concerts. The possibilities are endless. Incidentally, this will coincide in part with the roll-out of the 6G network (yes, people are already working on the development of 6G!). Not relevant for you, you say? Wrong, you have to think about this now! Did you know that Nike has recently gone live with ‘Nikeland’? Not only have they converted their headquarters and created a virtual showroom where you can buy goodies for your avatar, you will also be able to use a special lens in Snapchat, to transform their New York experience store into an augmented reality version of Nikeland. In short, this trend is there to stay and will even become dominant in x number of years.

Digital marketing

There are 2 more trends, dear advertiser, that are currently a much better fit with my generation (if I may): the first is trend 4, which is the labor market shortage. Also for online specialists this trend (and also the following one) is crucial. Finding the right employees to support the digital acceleration will be the challenge for the coming years! Yes, even within our marketing world! Because marketing is also shifting from soft to hard skills, where customer journeys become almost completely data driven.

The fifth and final trend is the continuation and strengthening of the green revolution. Certainly within e-com, it is expected that we will shift up a gear towards CO2 neutrality. Companies like Amazon already understand that and now offer their Prime members the possibility to get multiple orders delivered at one fixed time instead of, say, every day. The nice thing is that this also results in a cost-saving for Amazon itself. Those kinds of trivial innovations can also make a world of difference in your business.

Dear marketer, these are five trends that are here to stay. It will be important for you to get up to speed, on a professional and personal level. It will also be important to be open to everything and to embrace change and, even more so, to focus on it. We will have to wait and see who are going to be the winners of the game in terms of developments. But it’s already crystal clear that every marketing and media organization will have to evolve. You can rest assured that flexibility will become the key that will open many doors.

Oh yes, we also wish you good health this year….