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The Five Hottest Marketing Trends of 2022

May 24, 2022

Originally featured in SBAM’s FOCUS Magazine

No putting the viral genie back in the bottle.

Consumers have been through a lot the past couple of years, and marketers need to accept that there’s no going back to pre-pandemic buying behavior.

Lockdowns, shortages, inflation, curbside pickup and social protests are just some of the reasons why consumers’ habits have dramatically changed since 2019. They’re spending fewer dollars, trusting less, living virtually and losing interest more quickly.

Time for a reality check.

So how can businesses stay ahead of the curve and build a marketing plan that will win this year and beyond? It starts by understanding and using some of the hottest marketing trends today in your strategies.

Hot Marketing Trend #1: Thoughtful Storytelling

We know stories sell, but with shortening attention spans, a barrage of content on apps like Instagram and TikTok, and 91.9 percent of U.S. companies now marketing through social media, it’s becoming more challenging to hold consumers’ attention.

Your brand needs scroll-stopping stories that make their points quickly and resonate loudly. Consumers want to be shown why they need your product in the most unique way possible. A moving story doesn’t need to take long to tell, but it does require putting some thought into how it’s told. We still need a “hero,” an obstacle and a happy ending…or at least a lesson learned. The greater the obstacle, the greater its impact.

Most importantly, good stories can inspire consumers to act, which is why this hot marketing trend of 2022 should be one of your top priorities. Here’s how this looks in action:

  • Who’s doing it right? New York-Presbyterian Hospital
  • Why it works—Telling amazing stories of patients and their recoveries gives this hospital the ability to promote doctors and staff in a way that feels good and makes a lasting impression.

Hot Marketing Trend #2: Connected Brand Communities

Isolation has brought consumers to their devices for interaction, but they’re overloaded with irrelevant ads and spammy emails that feel too impersonal.

That’s why another hot trend of 2022 is creating better customer experiences, including more connected and empowered communities that they can join. No matter if you call it your “tribe” or your “posse,” make sure you give your customers a way to belong to something bigger. This bond gives people a sense of purpose and unity solidified around your brand.

Jon Dick, SVP of Marketing at HubSpot, says, “The best marketers will tap into their customers’ desire to connect, learn, and grow with their peers by launching unique community programming.” If you want to see how a brand builds a sense of community, check this company out:

  • Who’s doing it right? Gymshark
  • Why it works—Gymshark’s blog and social media channels post tutorials and tips in such a way that encourages customers to join the conversation, take action and spread the word.

Hot Marketing Trend #3: Short-form Video

The pandemic has people spending more time on platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels, and the use of short videos is growing rapidly.

While the videos are short (ranging from 15 seconds to three minutes), they are mighty. According to HubSpot, “84 percent of people were convinced to buy a product or service based on the brand’s video.”

Short-form video offers a platform to tell an engaging story that can influence brand recall, awareness and purchase intent in as little as two seconds. It can also leverage micro-influencers and promote user-generated content (UGC).

It’s clear that shorter video content will be one of the hottest trends in marketing this year. Watch this fun Nike video on Instagram for some inspiration:

  • Who’s doing it right? Nike’s roller-skating reel (6.6 million views)
  • Why it works—It’s beautiful, tells a touching story quickly and focuses on a specific target market.

Hot Marketing Trend #4: Micro-influencer Partnerships

Consumer trust is critical when it comes to successful marketing, but that trust is fading.

According to a Havas Group study, “less than half of brands are seen as trustworthy” today. In contrast, some studies show trust in small brands is growing. Consumers are also putting their trust into the hands of influencers; 61 percent of them trust the influencers they follow on social media.

Consumers find micro-influencers (social media promoters with 1,000 to 100,000 followers) more trustworthy than mega-influencers since they aren’t constantly peddling paid products to followers. Micro-influencers also tend to have a higher level of engagement and produce unique content, which is better for your brand’s success when you know your target audience. Here’s a wonderful example of how this can work well:

  • Who’s doing it right? #SephoraSquad
  • Why it works—Sephora pairs with a diverse range of micro-influencers who share honest stories and promote their products through niche channels.

Hot Marketing Trend #5:
Voice SEO

“Okay, Google” and “Hey, Alexa” are common phrases now (even among kids!), and voice searches are happening more and more with so many of us consuming on the go.

Since its launch, voice SEO has generated over $2 billion in sales, and it’s predicted that by the end of the year, it’ll account for around $40 billion.

To keep your website showing up on mobile searches, HubSpot suggests that “instead of catering to Google’s manual search algorithm[s], optimize your content by framing it around questions.”

To use this hot trend in 2022, think about what questions your consumers would ask, whether they’re more locally-based queries or general ones, and add it to your content. To give it a try, ask Google some questions on a topic related to your business and what pops up as the top organic listing. Here’s one that ranks on top when asking aloud how to train for a marathon:

  • Who is doing it right? REI Co-Op
  • Why it works—REI Co-Op is making sure to phrase blog titles as questions and listing out steps that answer these common questions to queries online.

Staying up on the latest trends in marketing can be challenging, but these five will have a longer shelf life than most. Thoughtful storytelling, for example, is a core component in any compelling marketing campaign. Also, creating a more connected customer community will be the gift that keeps giving as your group of brand “evangelists” continues to grow through the years. Incorporating unique short-form video and micro-influencers into your marketing plan will provide you with multipurpose content for a variety of platforms and media. Lastly, adapting to voice SEO is an important way to stay current with technology that is here to stay. Keeping these trends top of mind now will help your brand thrive this year and well into the future

Lisa Ellen Smith is president of InVerve Marketing, a visionary leader who has built capacity, relationships and her growing team of skilled, but quirky professionals into a marketing agency that attracts customers from across the country for in-depth digital expertise. The firm has evolved into one of the most successful digital marketing and web design firms in the region.

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