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Five trends that have helped define this year’s marketing landscape

Following the dramatic events of the prior year, 2021 has been a year of transition where individuals and businesses have continued to adapt to uncertain and changing circumstances.

Whilst there has been a sense of the economy improving, the future has remained unpredictable, making it difficult to anticipate what a ‘new normal’ will ultimately look like. The sales and marketing landscape too has continued to evolve and adapt with a need for security, deeper insight and genuine connections an underlying factor in many trends. We look back at the changing landscape of the last year to gain some understanding also of what we might expect in 2022.

Relationship building

In the past two years, our worlds have been rocked. More than ever individuals need a sense of security in the choices they make and the brands they engage with. The process of building trust and relationships in most aspects of our lives has gained new significance. Buyers need to feel confident that they can rely on suppliers who can truly address their needs. Assigning time to listen to customers, understand their evolving needs and concerns is vital to securing that trust and continuing to meet customer expectations.

Artificial intelligence

AI powered sales and marketing is enabling businesses to better predict who is most likely to buy from them, tailor the customer journey accordingly and build more effective sales and marketing strategies to boost revenue and ROI. From content curation, smart targeting and segmentation, to propensity modelling, chat bots and dynamic content, the number of applications is growing at a pace. Forbes describes five ways artificial intelligence will transform the B2B marketing industry in the next four years.

Conversational selling

Conversational selling is a powerful approach involving an ongoing, two-way, dialogue that connects and deepens understanding of customer wants and needs. With the rise of digital, conversational selling now extends beyond person-to-person interactions with prospects able to engage digitally via chat bots and messaging apps. Whilst these channels offer customers choice and convenience, the key to successful conversational selling is the ability to make a genuine connection and establish trust. In this respect, digital interactions may fall short. As we’ve discussed many times before, nothing is as personal as a conversation with a real human.

Voice

Voice engagement has made its mark in a period of social distancing and limited in-person contact. The proliferation of voice technology, the rise of voice assistance and voice recognition apps as well as the growth of channels such as podcasts has empowered audiences craving a deeper sense of connection. This year digital audio has risen dramatically with 14.6 million podcast listeners in the UK, and this is expected to continue rising in the coming years with a predicted 23% increase in uptake in 2022.

Account-based marketing

ABM has been around for some time but an approach that focuses on targeted, one-to-one marketing has found new resonance in the wake of the events of the past few years. In a climate that remains uncertain, customers put high value on genuine, meaningful interactions, expect brands to have a deep understanding of their needs and to deliver a highly tailored experience across all touchpoints. ABM provides a perfect framework for a true one-to-one marketing approach which aligns sales and marketing efforts across the whole business.

Key themes for the year have been the need to deliver tailored and personal customer experiences, driven by high value, actionable insight. Uncertainty post-COVID has also made it a priority for brands to build genuine connections with their prospective customers built on trust and true understanding. If you are looking to deepen engagement with your clients, build trust and gather valuable insight to inform each stage of their journey with you, get in touch to discuss how we can help.

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