It’s safe to say that 2020 & 2021 was a wild ride and that 2022 will certainly not revert to the old normal. So, what is it that lay ahead for the Marketing and Advertising industry in 2022 and beyond? 

It has been written more times than most would like to admit, however, it remains true that the pandemic has changed practically every industry, but that it has had a unique impact on the Marketing and Advertising industry. While the past couple of years, prior to the pandemic, has seen consumers gradually transition to digital platforms, the pandemic has accelerated this trend tremendously. One’s attention and time have become a priceless commodity due to work-from-home scenarios and the growing number of screens and devices causing consumers to be busier and more distracted than ever before. From a marketing perspective, this forces the marketer to craft new strategies for connecting with consumers. 

Here are a few strategies that have come up time and again since we have hit the pandemic, and which have also gained more momentum since we have passed through the pandemic.

1. Consumer Journey

The first thing that we need to look at differently now is the consumer journey. The old truth is that consumers must sit at the heart of your marketing strategy. The new truth, after covid-19, is consumers must sit at the heart of your customer journey strategy. In reality, it should have always been that way. 

Consumers are more confident in using digital platforms because of the pandemic creating an opportunity to connect with more consumers than ever before in different worlds and stages in their buying journey. According to the McKinsey & Company Covid-19 South African Consumer Pulse Survey, 79% of South Africans have tried a new shopping behaviour since the pandemic started, and most intend to continue with it beyond the pandemic. 

Marketers should focus on building ecosystems, and digital platforms that are interconnected with other services and products and it should allow them to feel like a one-stop-shop for all their needs. The more needs you can fulfil in one place, the more likely the consumer is to remain yours. Jane Ostler, global head of media effectiveness for the insights division of Kantar, stated in a recent article on Ad Age that one by-product of the pandemic and the shift in how consumers shop “is the expectation that brands deliver their brands and services in ways that meet consumer needs. Those that don’t will be left behind”.

2. Marketing messaging

The second strategy is Marketing messaging. Marketing messaging is and always will be king but Lacking authenticity within your marketing messaging is an instant turnoff for audiences. This became even more true once the pandemic hit and it seems to have stuck around. It is more important than ever before for marketers to strike the right balance in their messaging and approach. Consumers are looking for hope, answers, support, compassion, a laugh, or anything that solves a problem or provides them with a much-needed distraction. 

This is the answer to good marketing these days, not “Here is my product, my product is great, please buy my product.” We need to ask ourselves how are we touching our consumers, and what emotions are we evoking with our products and services. Consumers want to feel valued, so they expect a digital experience that treats them that way. 

The changes brands and companies have to make and continue making is to stop investing as much into media, but focus on investing in the evolution of their products, customer service and the customer experience.

3. Technology and analytics

A third strategy is via technology and analytics. Now more than ever before technology—marketing technology, data, analytics & ad tech—has become the foundation of all marketing strategies of the future. This enables a company to measure its success and adjust its strategies on the fly. As marketers, we are now given the task of blending the worlds of art and science together. We are expected to achieve the perfect balance of a personal human touch and ever-so-accurate marketing automation to unlock the future of our brands. We must use data we receive from analytics to fuel our marketing fires, yet respect the craft of storytelling in order to drive meaningful human connections. 

This new marketing truth is the picture-perfect blend, highlighting the coming together of strategies, operations and technologies required to handle growth in a post-Covid-19 world. 

For companies and marketers accustomed to the ways of the past, the period of adjustment is far from over. What I am confident in is that the simplest truth of all is that we absolutely must prioritize the perspective of the customer above everything and keep that at the core of all our strategies.