Marketing Trends, Predictions & Promises For 2022

January 10, 2022 | blog | By Mike Sullivan

From disappointing marketing trends to the generally divisive feel in the country, after the cataclysmic pandemic year we had in 2020, we all had great hopes that 2021 would make all things right again. It didn’t. We started off the year watching thousands of people storm the U.S. Capitol angry about the Presidential election. COVID had a huge resurgence throwing the country into some pathogenic Groundhog Day. Then a failed Texas Power Grid left millions without power and caused billions in damages. That was just the first 60 days!

The rest of 2021 brought issues with national and international supply chains, the “Great Resignation,” and massive struggles for restaurants, healthcare, transportation, education, and services companies especially. All topped off with soaring inflation and a general feeling of national dissatisfaction. Clearly, it would be great if marketing and consumer spending was impervious to all of that. But we all know that’s not true. The good news? 2022 is going to be a much better year. How do we know? Keep reading.


1. The Great Resignation Will Continue

In 2021, a full quarter of the American workforce quit their jobs to do something else. While that number is staggering, consider this:  73 percent of employees thought about quitting. That didn’t just change because the calendar did. Broken company cultures. Remote work. Difficult jobs the pandemic made even harder. Companies requiring people to work in the office. Younger workers wanting flexibility and to make a more meaningful contribution. There are dozens of very real factors shaping the employment picture. As both companies and employees figure out the way forward, expect the mass employee rearrangement to continue.

2. Flexibility Will Be An Ongoing Focus

To require people to work at the office or to allow them to work elsewhere? That is the question. And it’s not an easy one. Companies are sitting on expansive office space that took trillions of dollars to build and equip. Now, thanks to the COVID lockdown, everyone wants to work from home. Younger employees seem especially adamant that flexibility has to be part of the plan. According to a recent worldwide EY survey of what nearly 10,000 workers wanted, flexibility ranked just behind competitive pay and ahead of healthcare. It can’t be ignored. This year, one marketing trend we think you’ll see more of is companies taking the position IBM CEO Arvind Krishna took in a recent Fast Company article.  “Why should I, as an employer, care as long as you can get the work done and you’re highly productive?”

3. More Companies Will Pay Attention To Their Culture

The writing is on the wall about the importance of company culture. That’s why for those paying attention, the Great Resignation is really the Great Opportunity.

As people continue looking for companies that are a better match to their values, passions, and aspirations, companies will be forced to examine their cultures and commit to making them better, more inclusive, and positive. Those who don’t will fall further behind the hiring curve and will find themselves becoming irrelevant faster and more acutely.

4. Agencies Will Shift More Of Their Thinking From Ads And Spots To Disruptions And Events

While traditional media isn’t going anywhere, look for agency creative and media teams to spend more time finding non-traditional ways to disrupt the marketplace and reach consumers with attention-grabbing events. Adweek just named The Martin Agency as Agency of the Year (Again). While their TV work for GEICO and other clients is the envy of the industry, in 2021 they also pulled off the launch of a Dogecoin-scented body spray for Axe that literally drove the price of the cryptocurrency past $1, as well as the launch of pink and green Lady Gaga Oreos that, combined, earned 5 billion media impressions without spending a dime. Disruptions and PR-friendly events will still be ancillary to the “big” media plan but look for more and more of them to surface as this marketing trend continues to grow.

5. NFTs, Influencers, and Crypto Will Continue Normalizing

In 2021, NFTs scored big with sports fans but struggled to find an audience in other sectors like QSR, snack foods, and beer. Is that because fans of Lebron James and Tom Brady think of them as being more “collectible” than say Pringles or McDonald’s? Probably. But that doesn’t diminish the allure of what NFTs could represent once brands unlock the value proposition for consumers. Look for them to continue finding their way into the brand mix this year.

When HubSpot asked global marketing professionals which trends they planned to invest in for 2022, 34 percent put Influencer Marketing at the top of the list. For many, the meteoric rise of influencers is both maddening and fascinating. But as we continue looking for ways to narrow communication to more and more targeted groups, influencers will increasingly become part of any campaign where the platforms they dominate are part of the media mix. Likewise, as cryptocurrency becomes more mainstream – especially now with high-profile trading platforms – look for more and more brands to find a way onto the crypto bandwagon to build credibility and relevance with younger cohorts.

6. The Rise of Custom Leadership Development Plans

This is the marketing trend we’d most like to see. Corporate training is nothing new. But where employers once employed a “one size fits all” mindset for training and career paths, look for companies to start experimenting with individualized development plans for their high achievers that take into account what those employees want from their work experience, their career, their personal lives, and the impact they want to make congruent with their values. A movement toward maximizing individual performance in service to something bigger begins this year and could be a huge competitive advantage for the brands that invest the time and money to make it happen.

7. Companies Will Pay Greater Attention To Mental Health

We’ve all learned a lot about mental health in the past 18 months – primarily, that the pandemic was, and continues to be, a struggle for way more of us than we knew. The surprise for many was that even without COVID, there are millions of people who have suffered quietly for years with anxiety, depression, burnout, and a host of other challenges. Layer on top of that the pandemic PTSD we’ve all felt, and work just hasn’t felt the same.

Thankfully, where in the past companies might have employed a “suck it up” mentality, now many are listening, showing empathy and compassion, and providing the resources necessary for their employees to find a new normal that’s both healthier and happier. This is more of a national trend than a marketing trend, but it’s great to see companies leaning in.

8. The 4-Day Work Week Will Gain Traction

Whether companies move to a rigid 4-day work week, or a staggered schedule where five to six days a week are covered by a smaller proportion of the staff, look for the idea of employees working four days on and three days off to catch on. The idea is already gaining momentum around the world. Also, the companies that lean into this kind of flexibility will leverage it as a hiring advantage. They’ll shift their mindsets from how many hours their staff worked, to how much they got accomplished. This could easily be one of the biggest marketing trends of the year.

9. More and More Companies Will Adopt the Challenger Mindset

When Michael Eisner was the chairman of Disney, he was quoted as saying, “as long as I think like an underdog, I have a real chance of staying ahead.” Thinking like a challenger brand keeps you hungry. It keeps you focused. Buying your way out of a challenge can be quite satisfying. But thinking your way out always feels better. If you’ve read any of our blogs, listened to our podcasts, or read our book, you know how strongly we believe in the Challenger ethos. For those who choose to adopt the mindset, it’s a powerful and galvanizing force. This year, we expect to see a large number of brands make the shift.

10. Companies Will Continue Looking For New High-Tech Ways To Reach Their Customers

Much has been made about the death of cookies. Even more about how their demise has made it much more difficult to follow people along their digital customer journey. As the next chapter of that story unfolds, look for companies to seek out new technology that can help them engage with their customers. Case in point – Samsung’s new Onboarding Partner Program. Now “marketers using their own first-party datasets can target ads at certain audiences on Samsung’s more than 50 million smart TVs in the U.S.” According to an article in AdAge, “using Samsung Ads—a so-called “advanced advertising ecosystem” built on the South Korean tech giant’s millions of devices—advertisers will be able to know which TVs have seen their linear ads and which ones have not.” This is the beginning of a marketing trend that will continue for a decade.

11. More Companies Will Invest In Collecting Their Own Primary Data

Cultivating, owning, and using primary customer data has always been the Holy Grail for marketers both large and small. For myriad reasons – mostly financial – those efforts have been prohibitive. But as third-party data becomes harder to access and less reliable, companies will ramp up investing in efforts to harvest their own customer data. While certainly more expensive on the front end, once amassed, the information will be priceless. Be it through sweepstakes, surveys, games, or promotion, brands are already hard at work harvesting as much information as consumers will give them. Look for those efforts to increase as the year goes on.

12. Video Content Marketing Will Continue To Reign

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, you can multiply that 10x for video content. The popularity of posts with video are greater than ever. With the meteoric rise of TikTok and other short content platforms, that won’t slow down any time in 2022.

According to a Wyzowl study quoted on HubSpot, “people share videos at twice the rate than any other form of content. It also found that 84% of people were convinced to buy a product or service based on the brand’s video.” That’s powerful and, not surprisingly, brands will continue taking a page from TikTok, Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, and others to create content that’s everything from scripted and produced to user-generated teasers for content still one or two clicks away for those who want to see how the story ends. Fallon and Anonymous Content started the current wave 10 years ago with their Best In Show work for BMW of North America. This may be the year the floodgates open in earnest.

13. Consumers’ Expectation for Customization and Personalization Will Continue

Today’s customer journey includes dozens of influential touchpoints and brands have to find a way to be present in as many of them as possible, or risk becoming irrelevant. Customers have more choices than ever literally at their fingertips and, fair or not, they are informing those choices with their experiences from every other consumer front.

You no longer have to deliver your best every day. You’ve also got to be better than every other brand that grabs your customers’ attention. Today’s consumers want exactly what they want, when and where they want it. They also want to personalize the experience as much as possible. One-to-one marketing is still a long way off, but the brands that can figure out how to get close are the ones that will thrive.

14. Brands and Companies Will Continue Focusing On Inclusion and Diversity

Considering the number of mixed-race families represented in the commercials presently running on TV, companies are clearly paying attention to inclusion and diversity in front of the camera. This year, companies will also continue trying to add balance to their internal teams as well. For People Of Color, advertising and marketing have traditionally been difficult industries to penetrate. In fact, according to Statista, even as late as 2020, Advertising, PR, and other related industries were more than 85 percent White.

While the national cultural conversation helped shine the spotlight on our diversity issues in 2021, look for 2022 to be a year when companies start to take ownership of the issue. Watch for agencies to hire and train a more diverse workforce and expand the number of perspectives and world views within their own walls. This is one marketing trend that’s way overdue and one we’re thrilled to see.

15. In 2022, Brands Will Lean Hard Into Storytelling

Year after year, the best and most memorable spots are the ones that tell a great story. This time of year, I think of the classic holiday spots from British retailer John Lewis. “Buster” from 2016. Or “Edgar, the Excitable Dragon” from 2019. It’s been a year, but the spot Kohl’s ran last year about an unlikely friendship between a little girl and her neighbor across the street still makes me tear up. The same goes for the fantastic spot Chevy is running this year for the holidays. Even videos like this 2013 “Christmas Miracle” from WestJet tell a wonderful story.

We live in a divided, cynical world with consumers who are increasingly resistant to being “sold to.” That’s why great storytelling is more needed than ever. There’s not a person anywhere who doesn’t want to feel inspired, moved, or entertained by a compelling story. Great brands understand that and this year, we’re betting we see more storytelling on media across the board.

16. More Companies Will Do Well by Doing Good

If advertising agencies and marketing firms are good at anything, it’s problem solving. And more and more, branding and communications companies are realizing the significant impact they can have by giving back to the communities where they work. The idea of “social responsibility” isn’t new. But there are always new ways to live into it.

Millennials are drawn to companies doing well by doing good. But it’s not just younger professionals. We all want to feel good about the work we’re doing. We want to feel like we’re making a positive difference by doing business the right way. That’s what the Conscious Capitalism movement is all about. In large part, that’s what the Great Resignation is all about. Giving back, being relevant, making a difference. Those are the dynamics that will continue to attract the most talented and driven in every generation. You want to get ahead? Start there.

MIKE SULLIVAN is president and CEO of LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency and a top Dallas advertising agency for digital, social, mobile and user experience. For more about challenger branding, advertising and marketing, leadership, culture and other inspirations that will drive your success, visit our blog BARK! The Voice of the Underdog and catch up on all of our posts.

For more about LOOMIS, or to discuss how we can help your company succeed, CLICK HERE

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Mike Sullivan

President at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency


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