Marketers, could you imagine writing a letter to your 2019 self preparing Past You for today’s marketing trends? Try writing an email explaining that teenagers on break from Zoom school learned 60-second dances in their bedrooms, skyrocketing a whole new social media platform to stardom. Or that retail stores would further fall to their e-commerce counterparts because the local Target suddenly became a little too crowded for many people’s liking and they would prefer to buy their candles and electronics online.
That’s the thing about marketing trends, and it’s why we like reporting on them so much - you never know what will change or how quickly. In 2021 alone, we witnessed the rise of several new trends that signify a changing market to which marketers must adapt.
We’re here to help you cut through the noise and stay up to date by rounding up the key performance marketing trends we’ve seen that have the biggest potential impact on your business.
Performance marketing is somewhat of an industry buzzword that refers to marketing campaigns where outcomes are fully trackable. Some influencers in this space use “performance marketing” to specifically refer to being paid in exchange for results. A good example of this is when an influencer tells you to use their affiliate code at checkout for a discount.
At thunder::tech, we tend to use “performance marketing” interchangeably with “digital marketing.” This expands the definition to include social media advertising, display advertising, marketing automation and influencer marketing - basically any effort into which you can put money in and receive quantitative results.
The distinction between performance and traditional advertising has to do with attribution. A billboard may cause sales increases, but we can’t say for certain if the new customers saw that billboard. Digital is better at solving this problem, in that we know how many people saw our ad and how many clicked on it to go to a landing page or website.
Within the performance marketing space, there are several trends clamoring for your attention in 2022. Below, we outline some of the most important ones as well as next steps for capitalizing on each one.
We all know influencer marketing has grown spectacularly in the past few years, but seriously, do you realize just how much this industry has grown? Here are a few stats that prove influencer marketing is just a few years out from being a non-negotiable part of any good strategy.
Influencers are no longer relegated only to B2C or DTC products, either. Any B2B industry has experts in the field who speak at conferences, publish papers and have established their brands online. It’s simply a matter of finding and connecting with them, then paying the right price for authentic, thoughtful shout outs and partnerships.
What’s Next?: Introducing influencer marketing to your brand doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, the faster you rush into it, the less likely you are to see success. Keep in mind influencers are people, and no one likes to be treated like a vehicle for sales instead of what they are - a digital expert who has grown their own brand from scratch overtime.
Lay the groundwork for this trend by seeking out influencers within your industry and identifying those you think would be great ambassadors for your brand. Be mindful of your budget and don’t forget about micro and nano influencers, too. Start interacting with their content and forming a relationship while you work behind the scenes to establish influencer agreements, staff, communication channels and other details before reaching out to inquire about a partnership.
It’s time to cut out the middleman. If selling direct-to-consumer was big before the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s huge now. Brands have caught on to the idea that shipping products directly to customers rather than selling through a distributor can build more personalized connections with consumers and satisfy the desire to avoid big-box retail stores.
Instead, companies like Casper, Warby Parker and Stitch Fix are bringing the store to you. And many DTC companies, like Blue Apron or Dollar Shave Club, are even peddling subscription based models where products show up at your door on a regular basis without you lifting a finger.
Getting down with DTC can also give you more control over your brand. While you can’t control how your product is displayed in every Wal-Mart across the country, you can control the look and feel of your Amazon sales page or your own website.
If you’ve been feeling fed up with third-party distributors, you aren’t alone. Many companies are taking advantage of the internet to save money, boost their brand and increase customer satisfaction.
What’s Next?: Like influencer marketing, setting up a DTC strategy is not something you decide to implement one day after your lunch break and before you clock out for the day. The first step is to consider your company’s current sales channels and distributor network and map out a plan for going DTC with the resources you have on hand. What channels can you repurpose? What partnerships can you use to your advantage?
Once you have a plan agreed to by all key stakeholders in your company, run pilots to test DTC’s effectiveness within your organization. If you’re getting green lights on all sides, it’s time to go public with your new sales channel.
For more information on the boom in DTC, check out this post we wrote when we first noticed the trend taking shape in 2019.
At the time of writing, we’re currently midway through a true crime podcast, a podcast on the importance of accessibility in content marketing, a podcast analyzing the feminism in Elizabeth Taylor’s filmography and a podcast detailing the best places to surf near Sydney, Australia (We live in Cleveland.)
The point is, podcasts are big. Thirty-seven percent of Americans listen to podcasts monthly, which equates to more than 100 million U.S. consumers. They reach all age ranges as 49% of all Americans, 12-34, listen to at least one podcast per month and nearly one-quarter of all 55+ consumers in the United States are listening to podcasts monthly.
These are just a few of the many performance marketing trends floating around the market right now, but they’re trends that can have a profound impact on your business. Companies that aren’t prepared to implement fast-growing strategies like influencer marketing, podcast ads or privacy-centric lead nurturing are in for a rude awakening.
None of these strategies can be implemented overnight, so it’s best to pick the one you think can do the most for your business and start there. Whether you’re updating your site speed, scouring out podcasts that align with your target audience or getting down with DTC, we wish you best of luck. Onward!
Looking to switch up your strategy, but need an extra set of hands (or 40)? Feeling stuck and aren’t sure what direction to give your team? We can help.
thunder::tech’s expert team of performance marketers has seen it all. Click here to learn more about our performance marketing services.