Over the last two years, the immense spike in digital advertising campaigns and spend has meant that many smaller companies with less advertising budget have been finding it incredibly hard to stand out in this space and compete amongst bigger brands. Digital has shifted into the leading advertising, customer support and engagement channel for most businesses.
Reflecting on the upcoming digital trends for 2022, the main problems to solve are going to be how to be seen and admired, and how to build meaningful relationships for your brand, business and products in a very complex digital universe, where the majority of the world already lives and is trying to do the same.
Understanding your audience
The starting point is, again (because this should always be the focus), keeping the finger on the pulse of consumers, on specific target audiences for brands and products and on growing communities and the influencers who affect them. It is only through fully understanding who our consumers are, how they behave and how they are influenced that we can understand how to reach them where they are online. Empathy is the key to understanding and engaging with your audience.
Create an experience
In 2022 the way to a customer’s heart is through experiences. We already know that today’s consumers choose their suppliers and brands based on personal experiences with them, and while your customer support channels need to be sound to meet your customers’ needs, so too must your advertising collateral. Forget about how you want your brand to come across and think more about the experiences your particular audience wants/needs at this time in their lives.
Don’t sell. Add value
For social media content your brand should focus on curating a channel that contributes to your customers’ needs on the specific platform and build trust by offering content that meets these needs before requesting that the audience do something or buy something in return. Give the audience what they need in return for their interest in you – content that provides inspiration, some form of utility (such as life hacks) and entertainment (especially with humour) remains key to a winning formula online.
Keep it simple
In terms of technology, we see digital transformation in every business process and user/ customer journey. It’s important to realise that while we can build pretty much anything in the digital universe, the experiences that win are still the simplest ones. While digital innovation is always at the forefront of our solutions-oriented thinking, being innovative doesn’t mean being wasteful or overcomplicating the user journey. Your customers might spend more time online now, but they want to spend time doing what they love and less time on getting what they need from you.
As a small (or a large) business trying to stand out online, consider personalised and direct communication strategically positioned and curated for where your current and future customers are likely to be online. In 2022, it’s not so much about making sure you’re the loudest voice online, but rather the most valuable, empathetic and considerate voice in the spaces where consumers DO want to hear from you!
Esther McGeer is head of digital innovation at hoola. She is passionate about marketing and communication solutions as a means to solve problems for businesses. She seeks to develop and tell stories that will change the way people think about ideas or products.
Want to continue this conversation on The Media Online platforms? Comment on Twitter @MediaTMO or on our Facebook page. Send us your suggestions, comments, contributions or tip-offs via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.