After two years of businesses bending to the will of the pandemic, the fog is lifting. However, other forces overshadow the clarity of the new year and cloud marketers' crystal balls.
After surveying over 1,000 marketers and execs
, uncertainty about what the economy holds in 2023 remains, but many marketers will continue investing more in people and their plans.
As we work our way into the new year, our focus is on a few high-level areas for our clients, and we've worked out an action plan to take on the changes.
The battle for customer attention rages on
We are truly living in an economy where attention has become a scarce resource. The content delivered across social media channels and platforms continues to increase at astronomical rates unimaginable a few years ago. How did we ever live without endless short-form videos to entertain us on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok? The era of “nothing’s on tv” ceases to exist now that every possible video ever created is within arm’s reach on our phone or television remote.
Modern content consumption means that brands must pivot to where their customers give their precious attention. There's an opportunity to incorporate more genuine content and the "in-the-moment" approach consumers crave.
The will to change is more complex than the ability to create content on these channels. It takes a different mindset to engage consumers, a strategy many legacy brands are new to, but the dividends we've seen are tremendous. If you need some inspiration, check out our annual Social Media Field Guide
Economic uncertainty - leading through the noise
In our Marketing Trends survey
mentioned above, there was a mixed bag of sentiment and planning approaches for the new year. But the tea leaves were a bit unclear, which makes planning more difficult.
With or without a recession, plenty of brands continue to deal with labor, inflation and supply chain woes. Now, add the media hype of recession warnings, and you create a lot of noise for execs and marketers to sift through. These factors make planning (and contingency planning) critical for marketing teams. Knowing how all of this impacts your consumer is your north star through the fog.
In periods like this, many marketers sit on their hands waiting for clarity, but it creates competitive opportunities for those willing to invest despite the uncertainty.
A curious mindset
Test and learn approaches have become the norm for marketers and it certainly still applies heading into 2023. Do you have a budget for A/B, testing and experimental techniques? If so, where's that budget focused?
Have you considered or started working with AI, the metaverse, voice, micro-influencers or the continued proliferation of new social media outlets (Mastodon, Post, BlueSky, BeReal, etc.)? Knowing your customers, their expectations and the adoption of new approaches can guide savvy marketers on where to spend their efforts.
What's old is new again (again)
So much of marketing is a cycle, even when you throw a pandemic in the mix. Here are some interesting areas we’ve been busy counseling brands about:
- Events are back but different. What’s your new approach look like?
- Ecommerce brands are turning to direct mail to cut through the inbox clutter. What traditional method do you need to dust off?
- To search is to be human. Amazon, TikTok, Instagram and others should be respected as search engines because your consumer uses them as such. Have you added more than Google to your plans?
- Influencers may seem overblown, but they work. It’s much more complex than the headlines lead you to believe and chock full of opportunities for every brand. If you haven’t jumped in yet, is this your year?
- Digital fatigue is real, but we are creatures of habit; therefore, digital marches on. Are you rising above the noise with high-quality creative and valuable content?
The pandemic may have marked the end of more predictable and stable times for our world, which translates into – staying on our toes (something marketers have been doing for quite some time now). Changes in societal norms, social platforms, ecommerce and digitization, economic shifts and more lead to consumer behavior changes. For marketers that want to win, they'll need to stay nimble.
So, as we end this year, I want to give a massive, heartfelt thank you to everyone we’ve had the pleasure to work with over 2022. Navigating the challenges that seem to always pop up out of the blue is no easy task, but the relationships we’ve formed along the way are truly valued and worthwhile. From the entire thunder::tech team, Happy Holidays! We can’t wait to see what we accomplish together in 2023.
- Jason Therrien