Social networks, influencers and key data for marketing success in 2022


As associations head into 2022 and attempt to recover from some of their pandemic-related revenue losses, digital marketing strategies will certainly play a part. Todd Lebo, CEO of marketing research firm Ascend2, said several trends will be at play in 2022.

“Social media, influencer marketing and first-party data – marketers have identified these three as new opportunities that [they] have to be careful,” Lebo said.

On these three themes, he noted that people are turning to social networks that are gaining popularity, like TikTok, and new features on long-standing platforms.

“Some of the networks have now modified and changed the way you can engage with their audience,” Lebo said. “Snapchat has made some pretty significant investments in its direct response offerings.”

Influencer marketing is also expected to be more prominent this year. When influencer marketing first came onto the scene, many saw it as something limited to mainstream beauty and entertainment products, but the whole realm of influencers has expanded.

“We see this as an emerging marketing tactic for businesses,” Lebo said. “I believe one of the reasons is that influencer marketing probably started a little more narrowly in industries that seemed to relate to them, and now it’s expanding into other industries. There’s also a lot more influencer marketing going on now, so find the influence of these people that you can incorporate into your marketing strategy.

For example, the Association for Advancing Automation shared that influencer marketing helped increase attendance at its automation conference.

The last area that Lebo sees as an important trend is data collection. More and more organizations will rely on first-party data rather than seeking information from others.

“Less third-party data is available, so it’s really important that companies now focus on that first-party data that they can collect and own,” Lebo said.

holistic approach

While social media, influencer marketing, and data are all the rage in 2022, that doesn’t mean other aspects of marketing aren’t relevant. Everything from content marketing to text messaging, also known as SMS, will be in play.

“I think marketers are continuing to work on the aspect of this holistic approach,” Lebo said. “Instead of saying texting works, I’m now going to do a ton of it, finding out how texting can be a small part of the puzzle, versus overuse.”

Having a holistic approach is important because it often takes several contacts with potential customers before they make a purchase.

“We know people don’t just come in to buy,” Lebo said. “You always have to work on all parts of your funnel: so your top, your middle, your bottom. If you max out all of your efforts downward, you won’t attract enough people to the top of the funnel to grow.

Content, Lebo said, is a big part of the top of the funnel and will continue to play an important role in marketing plans. Indeed, it is useful to acquire contact data so that marketers can have several chances to contact them.

“To collect first-party data, you need the kind of content people want to give that information about,” Lebo said. “To make this trade, they say, ‘I’m going to give you more information about me because I want the content you provide. Marketers need to make sure they are allocating budget for content correctly. It’s the fuel that powers many of them. Be careful not to take quality content for granted.

A report made by Ascend2 with Wpromote, Red Alert: Leaders Reveal Disconnect Between Budget and 2022 Marketing Planning, noted an upward trend in marketing budgets. “We saw that they had a larger budget allocation, and they were confident that this budget would be enough for them to achieve their goals,” he said.

As your organization plans its marketing efforts for 2022, what areas are you focusing on? Please share in the comments.

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