With rising cost pressures and supply chain issues, digital marketers are gearing up for a challenging year. We’re here to give you all the tools you need to build a marketing strategy that outperforms. In our recent webinar panel with Acceleration Partners, Alchemy Worx, and Listrak, we explored 2022’s top marketing challenges and offered digital marketing solutions that advertisers can implement to reach their customers, increase purchases, and grow customer lifetime value. Interested in watching the full webinar on-demand? Watch it here. Let’s review the four main digital marketing trends in 2022 and some tactics you can use to optimize your marketing plans!
1. NAVIGATE RISING COSTS, SUPPLY CHAIN CHALLENGES, AND PRICE PRESSURES
COMMUNICATE YOUR CHALLENGES WITH CONSUMERS
The past two years have been a wake-up call for the supply chain management (SCM) sector to innovate and for companies to invest. Michelle Casey, Vice President of Strategy at Alchemy Worx, mentioned communication is key whether you face price increases, inventory scarcity, or shipping delays. The most effective messaging comes from the brands who take the time to communicate not only the cost increases or supply challenges but identify the business reason behind it. As a bonus, highlight innovations you’re undertaking that resonate with brand strength. Many consumers will appreciate the transparency, and it will resonate as brand authenticity for some.
INVEST IN PARTNERSHIP MARKETING
As brands re-evaluate prices to combat logistics and shipping costs, partnership marketing is a great channel to leverage and optimize at the margin level. Kelly Ground, Head of Affiliate & Brand Strategy at Acceleration Partners, discussed how partnership marketing is performance-based; brands only pay when a sale or an action occurs and will also get their marketing dollars back if a consumer decides to return an item.
FIND A STRATEGY THAT WORKS FOR YOU
In 2021, consumers started holiday shopping much earlier, and messaging about buying before stock ran out was effective. The offers were less extreme than they have been in previous years.Ryan Gibson, VP of Strategy at Adlucent, stressed that retailers are beginning to realize that they don’t need the highest and earliest discount to win the holidays. Find what your strategy is and what works best for you based on what you’re able to deliver. Don’t always try to be the first, the fastest, and the cheapest because maybe that is not realistic for your business. Instead, build promotions that resonate with your customers.
2. NEW CUSTOMER ACQUISITION TACTICS ACROSS EVER-CHANGING TOUCHPOINTS
ALIGN PROMOTIONS WITH CUSTOMER NEEDS
It’s essential to ask yourself a few key questions. What are your business goals? Who is your target audience? And what do those consumers need as they move along their journey? From an acquisition perspective, it’s an intersection of your business goals and what your consumers require. Adlucent recommends aligning your messaging to the digital ecosystems your customers are active on. Next, build a plan that aligns with those consumers across the funnel and their customer journey. With the evolution of maturity moving to the bottom of the funnel platforms, you really need to think about the ways you can start to move into the upper funnel while efficiently getting in front of consumers along all stages of the funnel.
PERFORMANCE MAX CAMPAIGNS
Google introduced a new campaign format called Performance Max Campaigns (PMax). It’s an evolution of their automated shopping campaigns and will be taking over Smart Shopping Campaigns to become the core Shopping solution across Google for automated bidding. Gibson says the benefit of this campaign type is that Google has a breadth of knowledge that an individual advertiser can’t begin to see. They understand the next step in a buyer’s journey and when to deliver an ad to that consumer for that next best action across Google’s network. As more advertisers adopt automated shopping campaigns, Google’s algorithm gets smarter about finding your customers that will have the highest lifetime value – so you can hone in on your most profitable and ideal customers.
TEST NEW (OR OLD) STRATEGIES + TACTICS
Karen DiClemente, Senior Strategy Director at Listrak, says marketers must be willing to test new strategies on emerging channels, like live selling or influencer marketing, to improve new customer acquisition. And sometimes, it’s okay to go back to older tactics that marketers may not think of as valuable anymore – such as direct mailing programs. These traditional marketing methods may still work to acquire new customers. Review what is and is not working to reach your digital marketing goals, and consider letting go of the strategies that aren’t working for you anymore due to external pressures like privacy changes. Don’t forget to come back to the goals of your business and always have a plan that leads to what you’re trying to accomplish.
3. STRATEGIES TO GROW CUSTOMER LIFETIME VALUE AND IMPROVE RETENTION
ZERO FIRST-PARTY DATA + AUDIENCE MANAGEMENT
We are finding ourselves in a hyper privacy-focused world. Zero-party data, a term coined by Forrester, will become more essential to advertisers today. An example of zero-party data collection would be a haircare company asking a consumer to take a quiz so they can formulate a custom shampoo for them. In order to get results, a customer must fill out their name and email address, which is zero-party data at a basic level. In 2022, Casey says there will be a push to collect more zero-party data from the top and down the funnel. To leverage this data, you must have the right toolset and methodology like audience management to effectively make use of it.
Audience management should be a goal for your company in 2022. It starts with a data assessment or opportunity project to identify those data points that lead to increased engagement or conversion. Once you understand those data points, each one acts as a lever. By moving the levers, you can effectively predict who is going to engage and convert next. Once you have identified high, medium, and low audience criteria, each audience can then be tested for messaging, timing, and channel. Audience management is your way of tuning your tech stack’s predictive AI to deliver the right message at the right time and in the right channel.
INFLUENCER MARKETING TO IMPROVE CUSTOMER LIFETIME VALUE
Loyalty partners offer a reward or incentive to make a purchase. Ground finds that loyalty partners are a great partner to work with especially if you’re trying to keep existing customers happy or encourage repeat buying. There is a higher frequency of purchase throughout the year with loyalty partners and higher average deal size (AOV).
Content partners and influences are shifting. Typically, content partners were focused on new customer acquisition at the top of the funnel. Now, nano- and micro-influencers are starting to reactivate existing customers and keep existing customers happy. Consumers want to buy from someone they trust, even if it’s a brand they’ve bought from before. With the rise of different platforms like TikTok, there are many micro- and nano-influencers to work with. As you are looking into 2022, look at the data you see at the partner level. For example, micro-influencers are activating X amount of customers and driving X amount of repeat customers.
4. TIPS TO PROVE MARKETING’S VALUE TO YOUR INTERNAL STAKEHOLDERS
SET UP PERFORMANCE-BASED AGREEMENTS
As supply chain costs and the cost of materials for retailer products have increased, marketing budgets are typically the first to get cut. DiClemente talks about how Listrakcoaches clients to look at performance-based agreements or channels. This means you are only paying a commission if a sale is complete and if a product is returned you get that investment back. Moving into 2022, look at different strategies and tactics that are performance-based, to convince your CMO or SVP to take a chance on that channel if there is a guaranteed return tied to the investment.
MARKETING IS AN OMNICHANNEL EXPERIENCE
Acceleration Partners sees, on average, a consumer’s journey is at least seven touchpoints across multiple channels, and this does not always include offline. Partnership marketing continues to grow significantly. With more influencers, bloggers, mass media, and loyalty partners getting into the space, consumers have so many options to consider before making a purchase. For internal stakeholders, if your brand is not being talked about or promoted by these partners, the new customer will more than likely end up buying from your competitor. Partnership marketing is no longer a coupon channel but a valuable addition to other marketing channels such as paid social, paid search display, and email.
MEASUREMENT + TESTING
How advertisers are looking at measurement is evolving. Attribution has been one of the main approaches to identify where and what channels customers are coming from. With the changes in the cookieless world and with the loss of fidelity due to the iOS challenges, attribution cannot always be relied on. Another alternative is doing some platform-level incrementality testing, but this can be a challenge because each platform is typically looking at its own results and data. So, it’s not fully clear what’s happening between channels.
Adlucent’s approach is to use incrementality tests across channels that don’t necessarily rely on specific tracking – called Model-Driven Planning. For example, by looking at the matched designated market area (DMA) sets across the country, you can identify DMAs that match. And not just matching by demographic but by your customer’s profiles in those DMAs and building out an A/B type test or representative sample test to deliver controlled results. In this cross-channel example, maybe you want to understand the impact YouTube is having on overall media. It’s not just about looking at conversions from YouTube, but we want to try and build out a testing approach that allows us to push media in YouTube, pull media in Youtube, and understand what results are happening.
You have to develop an environment across your multi-channel teams and work together to achieve goals. Understand the top two or three goals of your business and begin testing. If you don’t understand how some of these channels are working together and you don’t know how to set up a model DMA test, try an A/B test approach and see what happens. It will give you some direction, data, and insight into how to adjust your strategy and figure out where to invest further.
Piloting new channels and projects through a risk view enables us to identify efficacy quickly: modify, expand, or contract as the results dictate. As such, the importance of data-driven marketing to promote channel effectiveness to internal stakeholders cannot be stressed enough. It starts with understanding what KPIs are the most important to your boss’s boss. Casey from Alchemy Worx says It’s about going beyond channel engagement to the conversion, revenue, and ROI metrics that matter to the company’s bottom line. The best way to future-proof and expand your influence is by understanding what others’ paychecks and bonuses are tied to. Can you bring a revenue office more money? Can you get a CMO more customers? By championing the effectiveness of your channels, you can prove marketing’s value.
From navigating a world of rising costs to proving marketing’s value to internal stakeholders, there are many different tactics marketers can use to achieve their business goals in 2022. Invest in testing, craft personalized promotions, try partnership marketing, and leverage zero-party data to increase purchases and customer lifetime value. If you’re a retailer that’s interested in trying out one of the tactics above, feel free to reach out to our team.
Watch the full on-demand webinar today to get more insight from our expert panel. Do you want a condensed version of all the main tips above? Download our Solutions for the Top Marketing Challenges in 2022 guide.