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What Marketing Leaders Are Investing in This Year

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What Marketing Leaders Are Investing in This Year

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In an ideal world, marketers would have limitless budgets to invest in experimental initiatives and new programs. After all, the customer acquisition and retention landscape are evolving faster than ever. The challenge, however, is that marketing budgets are often limited around what’s proven to work — which tends to look different from company to company.

That’s why it’s so important to have access to industry data. By knowing where we stand against our peers and competitors, we’re better positioned to uncover areas of opportunity. This is especially important considering that 48% of marketers expect their marketing budget to increase in 2022.

In this post, we’ll discuss data-backed areas that marketers are focusing their investments in 2022.

What Marketing Leaders Are Investing in This Year

Protecting consumer privacy.

Consumers are increasingly concerned about their digital privacy and protecting their information. Given this, Think With Google says that marketers will need to increase their investments in privacy solutions and respecting peoples data choices in 2022.

This means that consumers want to know how you’re using their data for marketing purposes, and they want to be able to review and manage the way their data is used and opt-out if they want to.

When you collect information from consumers for different marketing activities, they also want to know you’re collecting it. Recent data from Google found that consumers are happy to provide their data to companies they trust, so long as they know how you will use it.

Podcasts and other audio opportunities. 

As of April 2021, there are over  2,000,000 podcast shows and over 48 million episodes. 

The demand for audio content has exploded, and Brands recognize this opportunity. In 2022, roughly43% of B2C marketers plan to increase their investment in podcasts in 2022, and the data is virtually the same for B2B marketers. 

Marketers are also leveraging other opportunities that have risen brands to leverage, likeClubhouse and Twitter Spaces, which offer audio-only opportunities where users can participate in voice conversations with others. 

Other platforms are looking into and testing creating similar options within their apps, like Instagram Live Rooms (also incorporates video). TechCrunch reported that LinkedIn is testing a similar feature as well. 

Social Responsibility and Diversity Marketing 

Early 2020 brought businesses to a reckoning, as increased attention to social justice issues was at the forefront of conversations during the first few months of the year. In addition, COVID-19 highlighted employees’ struggles in the workplace, and consumers care about how brands they buy from treat their employees. 

Almost two years later, these issues have remained extreme topics of interest for consumers worldwide, and they care more than ever about the stances businesses take on public issues, demanding change and awareness from brands on diversity, equity, and inclusion. One of the ways they want to see this represented in business is diversity marketing and commitment to social responsibility. 

Given this, 82% of marketers reported that they planned to continue investing the same amount or increasing their investments in social responsibility for 2022. 

It’s an effective practice for marketers to commit to, especially considering that people are more likely to consider a product after seeing an ad they think is diverse or inclusive, and 64% take action after seeing an ad they believe to be diverse and inclusive.

However, in the same vein, it’s even more critical that businesses are genuine about the diversity measures they take. Consumers can see through the fluff, and Edelman found that59% of consumers think that companies need to follow up on their statements on diversity with concrete action, or they risk being seen as exploitative and opportunist. Read this post to see examples of businesses that have exemplified the practice of inclusive marketing.

Permanent Social Media Content

You’re likely familiar withInstagram Stories, which are pieces of content on the platform that disappear after 24 hours unless saved as a highlight. 

While this type of content is valuable, marketers in 2022 will also be leaning into permanent social media content —HubSpot Blog data showed that 85% of marketers plan on increasing their investments or investing the same amount. 

Permanent social media content remains on your different profiles for users to return to over and over again or to discover for the first time when they follow you. This can be in-feed posts, videos, or anything that remains and can be viewed days later after being published. 

Influencer Marketing 

Influencer marketing used to be a trend, but as 86% of marketers plan to continue investing the same amount or increasing their investments, it’s now a commonplace marketing tactic. Its popularity is due to the fact that partnering with influencers is a worthwhile investment — the ROI for influencer marketing is $5.78.

In addition, many influencers are experts of the ins and outs of how their platforms work and the industries they operate in, so they know what performs best on their preferred platforms and how to best interact with their audiences.

When collaborating with influencers, marketers also benefit from exposure to their audiences, helping generate brand awareness with followers and generate social proof.

Short-form Videos

HubSpot Blog survey data shows that 89% of marketers plan to continue investing the same amount or increasing their short-form video content investments. 

As a refresher, short-form video is considered to be any video that is up to 2 minutes and 30 seconds in length. Marketers are likely increasing their investment because of trend culture, where it’s easy for a video to go viral and get shared among audiences over and over again. 

For example, TikTok only houses short-form videos up to three minutes in length. Many businesses that use the platform leverage it to inform audiences about their products quickly so that users can get started right away. 

Investing in Marketing Technology

60% of marketers reported that, in 2020, they were set to increase their marketing technology spend. A2021 HubSpot Blog poll of over 1,000 global marketers found that 70% of marketers already use marketing technology in their roles, and 33% plan to start in 2022. 

Marketing technology, often referred to as martech, is a term used to describe the software and technology used to attract and retain customers. Many martech tools help marketersautomate repetitive marketing tasks to save time, like sending an email or scheduling social media posts. As of 2021, there are more than 8000+ martech solutions for marketers to choose from to meet their automation needs.

Join other market leaders in leveraging these trends.

Although not an exhaustive list, marketers are focusing on and investing in the trends mentioned above for 2022. Understand how each one will affect your business, and join other marketers in these investments.

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MARKETING

For a Better Long-Term Content Strategy, Find a Purple Audience

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For a Better Long-Term Content Strategy, Find a Purple Audience

“The stock market is not the economy.”

When the stock market is up, it doesn’t always follow that the economy is great. When the stock market crashes, it doesn’t always mean the economy is bad.

That’s as true today as it was 25 years ago when I first got into marketing. And it’s a great reminder to avoid basing business decisions on faulty connections.

Over the years, I’ve learned an adjacent lesson about content and audiences: Popularity isn’t a sign of differentiation. People don’t necessarily regard what is popular among online audiences or the media as high quality – or even true.

If you successfully chase trends and feed popular content to audiences, you have not necessarily differentiated your content. On the other hand, differentiating by taking a contrarian or highly niche view of what’s popular doesn’t always work either. How do you blend popularity and differentiation?

#Content popularity isn’t a sign of differentiation, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Red and blue ocean strategies

In their 2004 book, Blue Ocean Strategy, W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne explain red and blue ocean strategies for marketing. Red oceans are crowded markets where popular products abound and cutthroat sales and marketing strategies rule. Blue oceans are undiscovered markets with little or no competition, where businesses can create new customers or die alone.

In strategic content marketing, most businesses focus on the red oceans – offering short-term, hyper-focus feeding. They look to drive traffic, engagement, and conversions by getting the most people to consume the content. So a red-ocean strategy focuses on topics and content that have proven popular with audiences.

But this strategy makes it difficult to differentiate the content from everyone else’s.

This myopic view of content often prohibits testing the other side – investing in a blue-ocean mindset to find and create new audiences with less-popular content.

Short-term, hyper-focused #Content feeding often prohibits the mindset of creating new audiences, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Finding a blue niche in a red world

I recently worked with a financial technology company that provides short-term loans to small businesses experiencing a cash-flow crunch. It’s as sales-driven as any team I’ve seen.

When they started, they put much of their marketing and content efforts into a blue-ocean strategy, targeting small businesses that will need a loan within a month.

Here’s where it gets interesting.

Five years ago, this company wasn’t the only one to recognize the massive opportunity in fast, easily accessible, short-term lending. A red ocean of new customers who needed these loans grew in a relatively robust economy (and historically low interest rates).

The value of these loans grew from $121 million in 2013 to just over $2 billion in 2018. And competition for this audience’s attention grew, too. As short-term, low-funnel content on accessible lending saturated the market, this strategy became less and less successful because so many fintech companies pursued it.

My client’s team knew they couldn’t only count on this red-ocean audience for new business. They recognized the need to invest time in building a new audience – larger, more established, long-term borrowers.

This audience wouldn’t produce immediate lead generation. But the company wanted to diversify its product line and better support the new audience’s loan-related needs.

The genius of this strategy was teaching, targeting, and building demand for new ideas from a niche within the red audience. Put simply: They created a purple audience by targeting a blue audience within the red one.

The blue audience the team targeted consisted of fast-growing smaller businesses that would soon evolve into established, long-term borrowers. These businesses might want to know the benefits of the short-term availability of cash. The team focused the new learning content platform on teaching companies that don’t need a loan now about the benefits of having a solution at the ready when they do.

The purple audiences took time to develop. But when those audience members entered the red ocean, my client company stayed top of mind because it had bucked the popular trends and offered completely different content.

3 triggers for targeting purple audiences

Deciding to invest in cultivating a purple audience requires some thought. These three considerations can prompt the move to a different audience hue.

1. You’re ready to hedge bets on current efforts

So many companies double down on their content to the point where their strategy incorporates the same content at every stage of the customer’s journey. Why? Because everybody is talking about it.

I see some B2B marketing organizations deliver the same “why change” thought leadership content to prospects as they do their customers. Shouldn’t your customers’ needs and wants change after they purchase your solution?

Developing thought leadership you believe is important but current audiences aren’t yet thinking about can be an excellent hedge.

You shouldn’t deliver the same thought leadership to prospects AND customers. After all, your customers’ needs and wants should change after they buy.

2. You believe the consensus is wrong

Many companies fold their content marketing like a lawn chair because their content goes against the consensus. Last week, a chief marketing officer told me, “Our CEO says we can’t go out with that thought leadership message because people will disagree with us.”

You don’t have to invest the entire budget in a contrarian idea. But if you genuinely believe the world will eventually come to your point of view, build the content infrastructure that supports that opinion and experience a multiplier on the investment.

3. You see an opportunity to steal audience

Look at the most popular content, and you see all your competitors fighting over the eyeballs seeking that topic, trying to outrank everyone on search, and fighting a red ocean of potential audience members. Then, look up and ask, “What’s next?”

You might see a slight trend. Or, as my fintech client did, you may notice a niche blue audience in the red audience. Investing in that content can pull audiences from the popular content into your fledgling purple audience.

SAP’s content site The Future of Customer Engagement and Experience illustrates this concept. During the pandemic, the team, led by Jenn Vande Zande, adjusted its editorial focus to steal a segment of the red-ocean audience seeking COVID-19 coverage. Jenn and team designed the content to appeal to people looking not just for lockdown news but also for the most up-to-date practices and industry information for businesses on customer experience in the COVID-19 era.

SAP created a purple audience.

Get colorful

As a marketer, you should think about new audiences. How can you address them with content that may not be widely popular now but can help them better prepare for what you believe is coming tomorrow?

That’s a better question to answer for long-term content marketing success.

Get Robert’s take in just five minutes:

Subscribe to workday or weekly CMI emails to get Rose-Colored Glasses in your inbox each week. 

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: 

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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