In 2022, consumers will expect an unprecedented degree of relevance and increasingly personalized personalization; Image: Shutterstock
2022 – The change of year will become the new normal.
As we enter a third calendar year of life with the coronavirus, it can be said, without a doubt, that the world of consumer marketing has irrevocably changed beyond appreciation.
A digital ecosystem has emerged in its entirety to cover information, access, experience, transaction and has grown in maturity, investment and scale.
Living in confinement has profoundly transformed the way we live, work and connect online. I see distinct areas of rapid change in 2022 related to growing consumer expectations, evolving customer engagement channels, and the dominance of technology and data as a driver of strategy.
Everything online, ‘here and now’
Ironically, despite the bottlenecks and interruptions, expectations for service delivery and turnaround times have more than fallen. No consumer is prepared to wait. Everything must be just a click away and available on the doorstep. As consumers live online, their expectations of digital experiences have never been higher.
Every brand should think about being a digitally driven business. In 2022, a return to normal will fuel consumer action, but the new terms of the transaction will continue and improve.
Customer experience will be the key differentiator
Modern marketing was all about raising awareness, generating interest and facilitating decisions. But the capabilities at all levels have increased so that any differential advantages based on product, price, promotion, and location have been flattened. However, only positive cumulative experience is sufficient as a discriminant.
Delivering a rich customer experience requires an entirely new way of operating and a voluntary digital transformation at every step. A more agile, collaborative and customer-centric approach will be required. In 2022, consumers will expect an unprecedented degree of relevance and increasingly personalized personalization. This will require a tailor-made commitment based on experience. An Amazon shopping experience will not be an aspiration but a benchmark in terms of hygiene.
Get the highest grade or perish
Reputation and reality have a complex relationship. A brand is a versatile concept. Each brand is a reputation. Every reputation is a mark. Unfortunately, reputation never depends entirely on intrinsic value. It is a social construction subject to the sensibilities and judgments of others. Such a judgment is attested in the form of notations. Customers are digitally mature and research-oriented online for virtually every buying decision.
Global WebIndex research, reported for October 2021, shows that 57.6% of the world’s population uses social media. Average daily usage is 2 hours and 27 minutes and 6.7 is the average number of platforms used, per user, per month. With 5.29 billion unique mobile users, more than two-thirds of the world have access to a mobile phone. Therefore, ratings and external confirmation of information will become a majority standard. In 2022, curation verified by the Consumer Choice Group will become a crucial area of digital engagement.
Move from segmentation to hyper-personalization
Hyper-personalization is now possible and scalable. It takes segmentation to another level and drives engagement rates and ROI.
The basis is a constantly improving consumer profile. The tools can collect demographics, location and browsing history to deliver optimal customer experiences in real time, targeted to their preferences. In 2022, if you don’t have a business-relevant Single View of Customer (SVOC), you should be concerned about customer retention, brand loyalty, and advocacy. A one-size-fits-all approach is not effective for interacting with customers and prospects. AI will be used to deliver uniquely personalized campaigns, rather than segment-based CRM marketing.
Authentically inclusive marketing in a cookie-free world
Google has described the end of third-party cookies as an important step towards greater privacy for web browsers. Apple launched it in April 2021 with the iOS 14.5 update and the new consent protocol called App Tracking Transparency which governs and limits how apps and advertisers can use uniquely identifiable data, such as Device ID, to target, measure and optimize campaigns.
Ad technology providers will be unable to accumulate and collate datasets for effective targeting. Their working data and processing capacity will decrease in scope, accessibility and value. Ad targeting, buying and optimization processes will be disrupted and restricted, especially for performance-driven campaigns and personalized audiences. Gaps in cookie data will compromise attribution and optimization.
In 2022, “first-party data” will become “first-price data”. This is a tectonic change.
Artificial intelligence everywhere
Machine learning algorithms are everywhere around us, whether in facial recognition, voice assistants, language translation, automation of robotic processes. AI has invaded everything we do and will become demonstrably ubiquitous in 2022.
High-powered computing, the Internet of Things, and 5G will make AI an easier way to embrace brand excellence.
Sophisticated technological innovations aside, every business needs to examine its data strategy for execution at scale. Marcomm will have to become tailor-made and feed a cycle of tailor-made experiences. Additionally, there will be a need for permission marketing given the changing scenario in privacy and data security.
One last word
2022 will hopefully be the first year “after Covid”. But, notwithstanding, many existing capacities will converge and affect society in ways that are far more than the sum of their parts.
In 2023, customer journeys and personalization programs can be executed by AI algorithms and software applications or bots.
As a brand builder, be mentally prepared to compete with a machine.
Shubhranshu Singh is Vice President – Marketing – Domestic and IB, Tata Motors. Opinions are personal.
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