7 Digital Marketing Trends to Watch For in 2022

March 3, 2022
Digital Marketing Trends 2022

Technology is transforming the practice of marketing at a dizzying pace. Fortunately, MBA students at Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business can rely on their professors to make sense of an evolving profession.

Chris Pullig, the chair of the Department of Marketing, and Ann Mirabito, an associate professor of Marketing, bring deep expertise to the table when it comes to unpacking the relationship between brand and consumer.

Below, we share their insights on seven digital marketing trends to expect in 2022.

1. Personalization

Chris PulligChris Pullig

In 2022, we will see more brands appeal to customers by letting them design their own products and services. We are already seeing a more personalized shopping experience became the norm in industries like fashion and design, Pullig said. For example, a well-known Waco-based brand, Magnolia Market, has developed a new AI-enabled shopping platform to help customers imagine specific décor items in their homes. After taking a photo of a specific space, customers can use the Magnolia platform to digitally change the color of their wall or experiment with different furniture arrangements. By using AI assistants to guide customers through the buying process, brands are giving customers an unprecedented degree of flexibility and autonomy.

2. Social Commerce

With traditional media, a customer might discover a brand but become distracted for a while before making a purchase. Marketers of years past learned to factor in that friction. But with the explosion of social commerce on platforms like TikTok and Instagram, it only takes seconds to discover and purchase a new product through shoppable ads, organic shoppable posts, in-app purchases and influencer content. Macy’s, for example, hosts influencer storefronts on its website so that customers can absorb those influencers’ opinions on a product before purchasing. Influencers have played a role in marketing since the advent of mass media, and this phenomenon will persist as social commerce experiences explosive growth in 2022.

3. Technological Integration

We can expect the integration of technology and data across platforms to accelerate. This integration will do far more than sync our user activity and data across phones, laptops, watches and smart home devices. It will catalyze an increasingly frictionless retail experience. Later this year, U.S. merchants will be able to accept Apple Pay using nothing more than an iPhone and an iOS app. Tap to Pay on iPhone will quickly emerge as a new normal across industries, and the more we tap, the more marketers learn about our preferences. Sooner than we imagine, Pullig said, we will be able to walk into a grocery store and receive customized recommendations for products based on the phone in our pockets.

4. Zero-Party Data

Ann MirabitoAnn Mirabito

With more data collection comes heightened concerns about safeguarding consumer privacy, Mirabito said. Apple may be poised to revolutionize payment systems through Tap to Pay, but it also implemented major privacy protocols in April 2021. Until now, brands have relied heavily on advertising cookies to track online activity and create customized ads for consumers. Now that Apple and Google are both moving to scrap that system, companies like Meta (formerly known as Facebook) are watching their ad revenues fall by as much as 25 percent. To circumvent these new restrictions, brands are getting creative. Mirabito points to Reformation, a sustainable fashion company, as an example of a brand with a brick-and-mortar presence that collects email addresses at checkout and links them to style preferences and sizes. Other brands are employing Instagram polls, surveys and other subtle forms of engagement to entice customers to volunteer their contact information and interests.

5. Shifting to Metaverse

Brands will increasingly shift to the metaverse, a virtual world of augmented reality. Few consumers have more than a vague concept of the metaverse, but forward-thinking brands have already begun experimenting with it. Last year, Gucci and gaming platform Roblox collaborated to host the Gucci Garden, a virtual re-creation of an art installation in Florence designed to build brand awareness. Virtual visitors touring the garden in the form of a 3D holographic avatar could actually try on and buy Gucci products. In marketing classes at Hankamer, MBA students are learning frameworks for measuring the effectiveness of this kind of metaverse marketing, starting with measuring user sentiment for a brand.

6. Walking the Talk

Each successive generation of consumers places a greater emphasis on a brand’s commitment to social and environmental impact. As consumers continue to factor brand values into purchasing decisions, successful brands will place these values front and center. It is not enough to make a statement. When it comes to issues like racial equality, companies will wake up to a PR nightmare unless they back their words with actions, like in the case of Nike publicly supporting NFL player Colin Kaepernick and featuring him in an ad. This may take courage on the part of brands, Mirabito said. Many consumers want Olympic sponsors to speak out against human rights abuses on the part of the Chinese government, she points out, but few brands will risk losing access to the Chinese market.

7. Cryptocurrency

Only a handful of consumers use cryptocurrency, but that will continue to change this year. Momentum surrounding cryptocurrency like Bitcoin has slowed in the past several months, Pullig said, but Accenture Credit Suisse still predicts mainstream adoption by 2025. Currently, Microsoft accepts Bitcoin to pay for Xbox Live and other games and apps, while Starbucks allows customers to use Bitcoin to top off their prepaid accounts. As 2022 progresses, we should expect to see more brands working to attract customers by accepting cryptocurrency.

As an MBA student at the Hankamer School of Business, you will encounter these topics and many more as you gain a deeper understanding of branding, consumer behavior and strategy from our experienced faculty. Equipped with the marketing skills you build here, you will be prepared to help any business succeed.

What's Next

Click here to learn more about how an MBA concentration in Marketing at Hankamer School of Business can prepare you to lead in a rapidly changing industry. For general information about Baylor’s MBA programs, visit hankamer.baylor.edu/mba or fill out the form below.

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