Opportunities to grow business across the customer lifecycle

There is always a huge interest in digital marketing trends and innovation in marketing around the turn of each year. 2022 will be no different, in fact, it’s particularly true since the pandemic has forced downward pressure on marketing budgets meaning that marketers are looking for new cost-effective techniques. According to the 2021 Gartner State of marketing budget report, marketing budgets have fallen to their lowest recorded level, dropping to 6.4% of company revenue in 2021 from 11% in 2020.

You can see that these cuts are consistent across sector and we can anticipate these reductions across businesses of all sizes. Consumer brands, financial services companies and healthcare seem to have been less impacted by the pandemic as we would expect.

Digital media spend increases while agency spend decreases

The Gartner research shows CMOs have shifted spending commitments across their channels and programs, with the digital channels that we focus on in this article dominating those priorities and accounting for 72.2% of the total marketing budget. The breakdown of budget across paid, owned and earned digital channels is interesting suggesting the ongoing importance of website, email, paid and organic search and social media which all gain a similar level of budget in this survey.

Another significant trend across marketing is the move to in-house resourcing prompted by pressure on budgets. 29% of work previously carried out by agencies has moved in-house in just the last 12-months alone. The focus of in-housing is changing as well – with brand strategy, innovation and technology, and marketing strategy development making up the top three capabilities areas CMOs are moving to internal teams according to Gartner.

Customer lifecycle opportunities

The best marketers are constantly looking for new digital marketing trends based on the evolution of technology, and platforms, to identify new opportunities that they can tap into… if they’re looking in the right place and know the right questions to ask…

I can help here since I’m constantly scanning for the latest developments to help keep our members content up-to-date and to feature the latest techniques in updates to my books.

Each year, towards the end of the year I review the digital marketing trends landscape to help give recommendations on the digital marketing trends marketers should focus on in the future. I like to keep it practical, showing real-world techniques that businesses can apply.

In this 2022 edition marketing trends review, I’ll review the main trends across our RACE customer lifecycle framework which defines 25 practical digital marketing activities relevant to all businesses. This means that you will get ideas from across marketing that can be harnessed by your business.

Improve your digital marketing plans for growth

Our free Digital marketing maturity benchmark report shows that many businesses don’t have a planned approach to take advantage of the latest and evergreen digital marketing techniques. Our RACE Framework gives a simple way to structure a digital marketing plan.

At Smart Insights, we support marketers and managers to plan, manage, and optimize their marketing strategies through a data-driven customer-centric approach.

Use the RACE Framework to set and track your marketing objectives at each stage of your marketing funnel and identify new opportunities to increase leads and sales.

What digital marketing trends should we review?

I believe it’s important for all businesses to review how they are harnessing the latest marketing trends so they can apply the latest innovations through the 70:20:10 rule of marketing focus. Google’s digital marketing evangelist Avinash Kaushik has explained the benefits of this mindset :

70% of the time we’re going to focus on things that we know that are very core to our business. 20% is where we’re trying to push the boundaries. You get into the known unknowns. And the last 10% is a true crazy experimental stuff. Trying to figure out how to do uncomfortable things that we’re going to fail at more than we will succeed at. But with every success, you build a competitive advantage.

So evaluating innovations can help you push the boundaries, but also improve your digital marketing activities in 2022.

Truth be told, at a high level, the trends across digital marketing tactics are similar each year – with a lot of interest in search, social and email marketing, and new web design and content marketing techniques to engage and convert our audiences. Traditionally, technology innovations are the drivers of trends in digital marketing  including changes in:

Look at opportunities from structured data and the SERPs features.

Experienced SEOs pay close attention to the search engine results pages (SERPs), since Google and Microsoft are always innovating how they appear to help improve their experience and monetise their ads. As marketers, they give us opportunities to engage our audiences better than competitors and attract more visits by increasing clickthroughs – if we follow the latest changes.

For example, in August 2021 Google made this change to page titles which affected the SERPs which is worth reviewing against the impact on your business.

The latest SERPs Features summary from Moz shows where you could focus if you are missing out on visits from some of these features such as Related Questions. These have remained important.

Assess the use of machine learning optimization carefully

Although our research shows that the vast majority of businesses say they don’t use machine learning internally, many will use it as an external service since it is a big part of organic and paid search and in particular offers options in Google Ads. . So, this is a major trend to consider if you are not using machine learning options within your paid media so far.

You may have noticed the ‘Smart’ prefix being attached to more and more Google Services. The aim is to help businesses manage the complexity of ad targeting to increase ROI, while of course protecting Google’s ad revenue. Some of these should be treated with caution. For example, Smart Goals in Analytics assesses what a positive marketing outcome is rather than the business specifying it, which is preferable.

Smart campaigns in Google Ads have been introduced to simplify the complex process of managing Google Ads for small businesses. Yet there are large downsides in reduced insight and control over campaigns meaning that small businesses may outgrow this solution.

Ad optimization testing becomes more sophisticated as ad platforms develop

With more than two-thirds of digital ad spend now going to Facebook and Google, optimization on these platforms is becoming ever more important. Yet research by the Boston Consulting Group shows that only 9% of marketers can accurately forecast the impact of a 10% shift in marketing spend.

Using attribution and creative optimization becomes more important to understand complex customer journeys across mobile and desktop devices and different ad placements. For example, on Facebook alone, an ad could appear in a variety of placements, such as in the Facebook News Feed, during Instagram Stories, Reels or within Instant Articles. These Facebook IQ case studies show how more advanced companies are working on ad optimization using Facebook’s new ad placement customization to reach their goals.