A new year is the perfect time to think about your goals and how technology can play a role in helping you actually reach them. So, here are some key martech trends for 2022 and beyond.
The cookies are a’crumbling
Since 1994, many digital marketers have used third-party cookies to learn about consumers and why they do what they do. But in 2022, you’ll have to rethink your marketing strategy. Google is phasing out the third-party consumer data that’s available to businesses, while Firefox and Safari have already done away with this type of tracking.
Unfortunately, many of us aren’t ready for the shift (change is hard, right?). Adobe says fewer than two in five brands have prepared themselves for life without (third-party) cookies. So what will a post-cookie world look like? Yes, you may have heard some scary terms like “cookiepocalypse,” but I promise, it’s not the end of the world.
Look at this as a chance to find fresh ways to stay connected to your customers or visitors. New year, new you — except this is a resolution you’ll actually stick with. Here are some ideas:
- First, take stock of your current martech stack for collecting consumer data. Does it use third-party cookies? Will the technologies weather the transition to a cookieless future? What resources or support are your tools and platforms offering for the transition? And what new tech will you need?
- Consider customer data platforms (CDPs) that use first-party data, because — this part is important — your CDP allows you to use the data. First-party data are things like newsletters, polls, and surveys.
- Encourage your consumers to want to share info about themselves. Without third-party cookies, you’ll need to offer more value in exchange for critical data. Consider discounts, free content, or loyalty clubs as an offer in exchange for their info. You could also think about things like surveys, which encourage people to share even more than just their contact info.
- Make sure your consumers have control over their data. Be transparent about how you’re using it and how they can change their preferences. If you’re struggling with data privacy, never fear – check out our article on the subject.
Data & AI driving personalized content
Let’s dive deeper into the idea of offering value to your customers. One great way to do this is with custom content. In other words, throw away the one-size-fits-all approach (because really, when has one-size anything actually fit?) and focus on the individual. A fancy marketing term for this concept: personalization.
Personalization is a great way to build lasting relationships with your customers. One survey found that 44% of respondents would be willing to switch to a brand that improved its personalization. In fact, many savvy consumers now expect engaging, custom content.
It’s our job to give the people what they want. And marketing leaders are keeping up with the demand by using:
- Targeted emails. Did you know that some of us check our email a whopping twenty times a day or more? Even with newer martech solutions available, email is still one of the best ways to get eyeballs on your campaigns. These days, though, it’s all about niche email services like Substack and Mailbrew, which help you hone in on your audience even more.
- Artificial intelligence. AI powers everything from online shopping to your favorite streaming video service, and this market trend will only continue to grow in 2022. Keep an eye out for tools like AI recommendation engines. They display different content on your website based on who’s visiting it, their preferences and their behaviors. How cool is that?
Lean into marketing automation tools
We all want to make our jobs a little bit easier, and automation can help with that. You’ll save time, reduce errors and free up a little money in your marketing budget (your boss will thank you). I call it a win-win-win.
In a nutshell, automation tools like Marketo, Pardot and HubSpot give an extra boost to your content marketing efforts. They help with content management and with gaining useful insights into all that data.
Automation will become even more streamlined in 2022 and beyond. Right now, your data may be housed in multiple automation platforms. Companies such as Workato and Tray.io focus on pulling together data across platforms.
If you’re not already taking advantage of automation, well, what are you waiting for? More than half of companies already use at least one marketing automation tool. And, marketing industry experts predict that business leaders are only planning to increase their investment in these tools in the future. Marketing automation is set to grow by nearly 10% a year.
Low-code and no-code platforms
Another trend that’s expected to continue into 2022: low-code and no-code solutions. This marketing technology allows developers without technical knowledge — called citizen developers — to quickly create new applications. This means even a marketing professional like yourself can build apps to enhance your campaigns. All you need is the willingness to make it happen.
Besides apps, low-code and no-code platforms can help you develop databases, websites, and chatbots, all without programming expertise. They will save you development dollars, boost productivity and quickly get your apps out to the public. This year, the low-code and no-code market is forecast to grow to $21 billion.
Although there are lots of awesome benefits to low-code and no-code solutions, they do have some drawbacks. The major downside that we hear most often is limited options for personalization as compared to a fully custom-coded app or platform. But for most marketers, the significant gains in ease of use are a fair tradeoff.
Wondering where headless CMS fits?
It’s a tradeoff: a no-code platform will get you up and running very quickly, no dev team needed. It’s a great choice for smaller or budget-strapped departments. Meanwhile, a headless CMS helps you manage content across platforms at scale, setting you up for a more streamlined content production process. But you’re going to need developers, and not every company needs headless CMS. If you’re a large content-driven enterprise or are looking to become one, then starting out headless might save you some migration hassles in the long run.
I’ve been described as a marketing jack of all trades, but I’ve spent a lot of time becoming a master of marketing ops. I’m full of strong opinions on marketing automation platforms and data management, which I share with reckless abandon. While most of my POVs are colored by my current work with startups, I’ve worked for organizations of all sizes. If you want to get on my good side, hand her a glass of wine, a dog to pet and tell me you’ve used a picklist field instead of open text for “industry”. If you want to pick a fight, start your request with the words, “can’t you just”.