In this week’s In-Ear Insights (the @trustinsights podcast), @katierobbert and @cspenn answer the most common question in our inboxes: what are the 2022 marketing trends we should be paying attention to? Find out why trend spotting is unreliable, what data sources to check for actual trends, and what Katie and Chris think are actual trends worth paying attention to as we roll into 2022. Tune in to find out!
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What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for listening to the episode.
Christopher Penn 0:02
This is In-Ear Insights, the Trust Insights podcast.
And in this week’s In-Ear Insights, the big topic on everybody’s minds, at least as determined by the contents of my inbox, are people wanting to know what are the 2022 marketing trends cainy In your point of view, what are the 2022 Marketing Trends?
Katie Robbert 0:26
Oh, yeah, yeah, well, let me just take a step back and give you my 62nd rant on trend setting your trendsetters.
And I suppose more I’m picking on like, you know, the fashion and lifestyle industry because when someone’s a trendsetter, when you ask them, Well, how did this try to come about? It’s because I said so.
And so that’s a terrible way to set a trend.
And my assumption, I could be wrong.
And I would love for someone besides you, Chris, to tell me how these things come about is people just kind of pick something and call it a trend.
And if they just keep talking about it over and over and over and over again, then other people start to pick up on it.
It’s the, you know, that sort of that snowball effect.
And so if someone you know, Chris, like you who’s influential in a certain industry continues to talk about something other people are saying, Oh, well, Chris is talking about it.
So I must be need to talk about it as well.
And that’s typically how these trends come about, which is just not a great way to determine like, what’s trending.
So that being said, I have no idea what’s in store for 2022.
Chris, over to you.
Christopher Penn 1:37
I mean, honestly, given the unpredictability of the world, in the last two years, I would say anybody putting out a sort of trend is probably take it with a grain of salt by Grant, I mean, a large cubic block about the size of you know, one meter by one meter, because we don’t know.
And there’s so much unpredictability.
The other thing I will say, and this is me being cynical and old.
Katie Robbert 2:05
Oh, because I was that positive.
Christopher Penn 2:08
You know, is that very often when I see all these trend, roundups, it, everything that is a trend is something that person has for sale, right? So, here’s this thing, and oh, by the way, we sell this thing.
So it’s clearly going to be a trend.
You know, we saw this with CDP’s, and DMPS, and DSPS, and all these things, and they weren’t trends.
They, I mean, some of the words on the word out, but they were definitely very self serving trends.
So I think that’s another aspect of trend watching that you have to be very cautious of.
Katie Robbert 2:43
were the alleged trends in 2021 supposed to be and did they happen?
Christopher Penn 2:51
So big things that were supposed to happen, you know, cryptocurrencies and NFS are supposed to take over everything, which did not happen.
Nf T ‘s did get some play this year.
They are they there is a booming market is also highly unrealistic, unregulated market, and it is a very select group of people who buy and sell in that market.
Now they are for the fortunately for people who are in that market, very wealthy, because he has people who have nothing better to do with that money.
But it is not nearly as mainstream as, as those who participate in that institute would like to think.
And the thing about all the marketing trends that we’ve seen is they’ve been the same trends for like the last five years.
So this is the year of mobile marketing.
Oh, I mean, it’s kind of in the year of mobile marketing since 2007, when the iPhone came out.
This is the content marketing is doing this is the year that social media marketing is doing this.
People have been talking extensively, for example, about Tiktok, which Yes, actually is a legitimate trend.
So those are sort of the I guess the obvious trends
Katie Robbert 4:01
wasn’t clubhouse supposed to take over everything to
Christopher Penn 4:04
it was social audio was supposed to be the big thing.
I’ll evolve actually, quick Google here.
So what the 2021 top 15 marketing trends were supposed to be more digital transformation.
This was a trend contributed by a consulting company, consumers ignoring digital ads, which is not really rent and sort of status quo, more automation by an automation company.
A company trying to companies will be trying to focus on growing their meaning and purpose from a another consulting company.
Programmatic advertising was supposed to be the most powerful thing this year.
That’s from a programmatic advertising company.
You see the the the trend, the trend, the trend within the trend? Yes, influencer marketing gets even bigger the death of cookies, which actually did not happen.
That’s next year.
The growing importance of direct mail by a direct mail company MAE, rad advocates, social, social audio, short videos, the live streaming wars and the rise of E commerce capabilities that what did happen Instagram did allow, now has purchasing built right in.
So in general, these are the 2021 trends.
Katie Robbert 5:21
me ask this, perhaps very loaded question.
Why do companies care about trends? Why do we care? Why do marketers care what everybody else is doing? Why can’t we just focus on what’s working for us? And what’s working for our company? Why do we have to be so concerned with what everyone else is doing?
Christopher Penn 5:45
Bobo? I mean, that in a word, that’s exactly what it is, is the belief that you’re missing out on something that and I do think there is some credence to that? Right.
I do think there is some relevance to that.
Because we also know there are no shortage of marketers who are stuck in we’ve always done it this way.
Right? And never consider anything new.
So I think in that regard, trend, you know, trend watching does have some benefit to say, Hey, did you even notice this thing? That least some people think is important.
Katie Robbert 6:17
I can understand the I need to try something new mentality.
But I’m, I don’t know, maybe it’s just me personally.
And that makes me sort of no one.
But I don’t care what everybody else is doing.
I just want to do whatever works for me, and what works for my company.
And what works for my company may not be what’s going to work for, you know, someone else’s company, or what works for me personally, Chris isn’t what works for you personally, and I was thinking about this.
Last night, we’re going to go to another food analogy.
I was thinking about this last night as I was making pasta.
So I’ve been trying to make homemade pasta for a while.
And I finally last night, got to a good place with it.
The process took about two hours, you know, hand rolling it and cutting it and all that sort of stuff.
And in my head.
I was like, Well, Chris would just tell me to use a machine, Chris to tell me, here’s a pasta maker.
And here’s this and here’s that.
And I was like, well, that doesn’t work for me.
But that works for him.
And so it sort of brings me to this whole idea of following trends.
Like, you know, you can think about fashion trends.
Well guess what, most of those don’t work for me because of my body type and my height.
And so it doesn’t matter what the fashion trends are, I have to do what works for me.
And sort of I would assume, Chris, the same is for you.
And so it just it, it might just be the kind of person that I am and me, like, I don’t know, it’s one of those things I still struggle with.
It’s like, Why does Why do you care what everybody else is doing? And so I can I also like, I don’t know, Chris, I’m sort of stuck on this.
You know, people look at trends to see like, what’s new and what they should be doing.
Like if they if they’re stuck in this, like, we’ve always done it this way.
But I feel like that still isn’t the best way to approach it.
Because what’s trending isn’t necessarily what’s going to work for your company, what’s going to work for your brand.
I don’t know, I’m, I’m sort of stuck in this, like, Get off my lawn.
I just want to do whatever I’m doing and don’t bother me.
Christopher Penn 8:22
The thing that I agree with you like, there’s a lot of trends that simply don’t apply, like I look terrible in an all a dress made of all feathers.
And that’s like
Katie Robbert 8:34
I’m gonna get John to Photoshop that one.
Christopher Penn 8:41
But I do think that that awareness of what is is interesting is worth paying attention to the the challenge, I think is greater is that a lot of people are relying on secondhand research for this stuff, right? So you read an article in Forbes or Fortune or whatever about these are the trends and articles like that are very much like conference sessions.
They are a retrospective, right? What’s Trending in a news article in a mainstream publication is a year old.
Right? Because the savviest marketers, are the ones who are out trying stuff before it gets popular and figuring out yeah, this thing structurally has got legs to it, this thing, this thing has the probability of becoming a real thing.
And you get in early.
The challenge for a lot of marketers is they don’t have or not willing to invest the time to figure out how to find those things before they happen.
And it requires hanging out in places that marketers typically don’t hang out.
It requires hanging with people who may or may not be your customers because they’re not your demographic, but they are people who are circulating and socializing new stuff, you know, real simple example.
I was I was watching Twitch stream last week, I have some folks playing Apex legends.
And I wrote about this recently in one of my newsletters.
And I didn’t care about the game.
But the way the host was managing their community was fascinating.
Like, okay, they you, every time there’s a there’s sort of an in stream chat, people can chat and, and every time you typed in the chat, you earned a few virtual tokens in this hosts room, right? These aren’t worth anything you can’t trade them in for anything monetarily.
But the host that had rewards set up, you know, for 100 tokens, you could tell the host, they had to drink some water right? For 200 tokens, you could highlight your message for 300 tokens, you could ask them a question they would answer on the air as long as it was appropriate.
I was like that is really brilliant for driving engagement and keeping engagement high.
And I looked at the monetization model behind Twitch, like, Ah, I get it, hosts get money from subscriptions, and people who subscribe to the channels, hosts also get money from people for for the duration, which they watch, right, because the more you watch, the more ads they can show.
So there’s this built in incentive system to keep your viewers on as long as possible by coming up with these crazy tail rewards.
When you look at, you know how things like Patreon, and only fans and all these other things work.
There’s so many interesting systems and ideas and things that are trending in certain niches that marketers aren’t paying attention to, because they’re not there.
And they’re not willing to make the time or they’re afraid of it.
They’re just outright afraid to even be associated with something.
And so it’s like, we’re gonna pretend that doesn’t exist.
One of the pieces that we were doing recently on one of our live streams about about temporal vectorization.
And SEO, which is a brand new concept, I probably should write down at some point came from listening to a, an interview series with an adult entertainer who was explaining how they chose the niches they operated.
And I’m like, that’s really smart.
There’s a there’s a good marketing lesson in there.
Again, it’s not a trend yet.
But I could see a company perhaps Trust Insights, taking this concept of temporal vectorization and SEO and turning into something that’s actually valuable.
So the challenge for a lot of marketers is they’re relying on a game of telephone, to have somebody tell them what the trends should be, rather than them going do it.
No research, finding out Hmm.
There’s something here in this corner of the internet, that could be big.
It’s kind of like, if you think about it, a lot of fashion.
And a lot of pop culture and a lot of culture in general comes out of certain groups of people in certain locations, like Atlanta, and its hip hop scene is a huge nexus for certain parts of our culture.
But as a marketer, if you are afraid dip your toe in that water, you might not know what’s going on, like Tiktok is huge.
And people should at least take a look at it.
See, okay, how does this thing work? Forget about whether you should be there or not? Does it? Do you even know how it works?
Katie Robbert 13:10
So it’s interesting, as I’m listening, Chris, you’re not talking about trends, you’re talking about innovation.
And you’re talking about it.
So there’s this company, out of Boston that I’ve always been fascinated with, called IDEO.
And when I was in grad school, we studied it a lot.
Because their whole, what they do is, you know, they have these common problems, but they look in unique places to try to find solutions.
And they spend a lot of time, you know, watching people, you know, just go through their daily life just to understand, you know, behaviors, and they don’t limit themselves to okay, this is a cooking problem, I can only look in a kitchen for a solution.
They’ll go to like a machine shop, or they’ll go to, you know, the junkyard, whatever the thing is, to see how how can we take a solution and apply it to a different place? And that’s what you’re describing.
And so what you’re describing is not trends, you’re describing innovation, which obviously needs to happen before trends can happen.
But I think that’s the missing piece of these roundups, is it really should be what are the innovations coming? Or what are the innovations we should be looking at versus the trends because your point, Chris, the trends means that you’re kind of already behind, because other people have already figured this thing out.
And really, you should be more open to, you know, experimental marketing or, you know, just research and development in general.
And so that, to me, is a more interesting conversation.
And it’s more interesting, you know, if you’re, you know, asking somebody like what’s coming into next year, I would rather hear someone like you say, well, Here are the different places on the internet that I’ve been exploring to see if I can try to find new ways to solve an old problem that I would much rather pay attention to.
So why do you think we don’t do that?
Christopher Penn 15:12
Katie Robbert 15:16
People have got to get over it.
Christopher Penn 15:20
But think about, think about what that is like, for a lot of people who are not comfortable with people who are not like them.
Right? It is, it is extremely uncomfortable, right? Can you imagine like, imagine where you are politically, and then imagine trying to intentionally spend time with people with opposing views, to see what they’re saying and how they work right? As it can be unpleasant, or to hang out with people who socially might reject you, like, you’re not one of us? Why are you here? Like, what are you doing here, you don’t belong here.
For a lot of people on a personal level, that’s intimidating.
And then layer on to that people’s fear, like, what if I cause brand damage to the company I work for? What if I cause an incident or something like that, you know, imagine, you know you as as the person you are showing up with an entirely different group of people ethnically, language wise.
And we’re just having the whole sensation of I don’t belong here.
And I and everyone reminds me of this on a regular frequent basis, until you earn your way into the communities.
And that’s the second part of it is if you are not practiced in it, earning your way into a community where you don’t belong is a huge amount of effort and can go really wrong.
And so it’s one of the things you have to figure out.
And, you know, the more gray hair you have, hopefully, the more practice you are at that, but I actually find that the opposite to be true.
So those are kind of the main reasons why people don’t do that kind of innovation.
Instead, they rely on other people’s experiences.
And our friend and former coworker, Todd Jefferson used to say you can either wait for the case study or you can be the case study, which do you want to do.
And I always thought that was a very good way of encapsulating this idea of innovation.
And being the trend rather than trying to hop on the trend that has, you know, the train has already left the station is a better investment in the long term, but it’s a higher investment, and it requires you to take that time.
And a lot of people are not willing to make a temple or the companies are not willing to take the time.
In fact, companies may say, Nope, we want to dissuade you from doing this on company time.
Katie Robbert 17:44
I feel like we’re starting to go down the road of emotional intelligence in terms of your awareness, you know, and being open into going into those situations.
And I feel like that could be a whole other podcast topic or series, because, you know, what I’ve experienced, and I’ve, I’ve definitely had my fair share of, you know, trying to go into uncomfortable situations and doing it very wrong, but also navigating their way through it in a more open and welcoming way.
And so there’s definitely right and wrong ways to do it, for sure.
And I’ve been there a lot.
I mean, I oftentimes feel like I don’t belong in most of the places that I’m trying to get into.
And so when you do that, you really just have to listen, there’s a lot of listening, don’t you know, it’s not your job to talk and tell people, it’s your job to just keep listening and learning.
But again, that’s sort of like a different topic altogether.
It’s, I can see you shaking your head, it’s a different topic as you start to get into how you get into those situations.
But really, the point of today’s topic is around what are the 2022 trends? And I think what we’re coming to is, we don’t know yet.
But what we want to do is encourage people to do some of that experimentation, or even just to do some listening in places that you wouldn’t normally listen.
And so, you know, I say a lot that like, I hate social media, and I do, it’s not for me personally, but I do try to keep up with what’s going on for the sake of the company.
So I have signed up for a Tiktok account.
No trying to find me.
It’s completely private.
I have no plans on posting videos, but I wanted to, you know, understand what it was obviously, I’ve seen Tiktok videos, repost it on Instagram, or Facebook or Twitter.
But unless you’re actually in the app, and seeing how it works, it’s hard to really wrap your head around it.
There’s other things like Twitch that I’ve never, you know, signed up for.
But you know, I believe we signed up for Trust Insights too.
So it’s like we have the opportunity to explore these things, it makes me incredibly uncomfortable.
But it’s necessary for that professional growth for that growth of the business to make sure that you aren’t falling behind.
And so you have to make yourself uncomfortable to a certain extent.
Now, obviously, we have the luxury of owning the business, so we can kind of pick and choose how uncomfortable we want to get with things.
But I would rather focus on that innovation side of things, you know, what you’re describing.
And so, you know, looking outside of traditional digital marketing, avenues and conferences, to go see what else is happening.
I mean, maybe moving into next year, we start, you know, looking at webinars in completely different industries, maybe in the manufacturing industry, you know, attending a webinar there to find out what the heck is going on, and how they’re solving problems.
You know, there’s a ton of companies that are using AI and not using it for marketing.
So how are they using it? What problems are they solving, that we could then think about and apply it back to the problems that we hear our customers talking about? That’s what I would rather see us do with our time in 2022.
Christopher Penn 21:16
Two thirds of the AI stuff I do comes from financial services.
That’s because they they been doing a lot of these algorithms and stuff for years to great success, and marketing’s never tried them.
So yes, porting solutions from one discipline to another.
No, I think you’re right at the heart of both innovation and trendwatching is listening.
It’s paying attention to what’s going on around you.
It’s listening in different places.
Now, in terms of what is likely to happen in 2022.
Number one, your first tool really should be Google Trends.
Like if you do nothing else, at least type the things you’re looking at.
You’re thinking about in Google Trends and see if there’s a trend there that because that’s that’s that’s sort of a table minimum, if you will, we know with great certainty, I would say that data privacy will continue to increase for consumers and decrease for marketers.
That is it beyond the given at this point in 2023, is when California’s new laws take place.
So 2022 will be a lot of hopefully, marketers getting ready and preparing and things like that we know without a shadow of a doubt that artificial intelligence will continue to make leaps and bounds particularly in rich media content creation, I was trying this thing over the weekend called Real Time voice cloning.
We played with it last week, when I deepfakes, John wall’s voice for the marketing over coffee podcast.
That capability is only getting better language generation is only getting better.
And I think 2022 will be something of a reckoning of remarketing in the sense that every year that we get newer technologies, the cost of this machine generated content keeps coming down and down and down to the point where it will be just a almost free commodity.
And so we’ll have to deal with an enormous amount of garbage generated by marketers.
We know from academic papers where big technology companies like Google and Facebook and stuff are going right, they publish their research years in advance before some kind of product itself comes out because it takes that long to take a technology and commoditize it.
So this, this coming here, we will be seeing Google’s multitask, unified model finally rolling out in production, and it will radically change SEO, it will change it to be multimedia multi discipline.
So if you’re not creating video, if you’re not posting images, if you’re not creating audio, and it’s not all tied together into a coherent brand story, you will not do as well in search, as companies that do.
We know that AI algorithms in general tend to favor larger things.
So you know, companies that have got legacy and history will do better with that.
Influencer Marketing, not going anywhere.
That goes in the category of obvious along with all things mobile.
So there’s a lot of stuff that if you’re paying attention, again, listening to things like developer blogs, academic papers, new research, you can see where the puck is going and you can start skating towards it.
It’s not unknowable.
Katie Robbert 24:33
I don’t have a trend but more so a prediction.
And we’ll see whether or not at this time next year it’s true.
I think that paid media is going to have an overhaul as more and more companies are moving away from relying on Facebook ads.
I think that paid media is going to get increasingly expensive on certain platforms, driving smaller businesses away trying to find more creative ways.
to reach their audiences, and so I think paid media is ripe for a huge rebrand in some ways in terms of how we’re thinking about it.
Um, you know, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we start seeing more, more companies saying like, hey, we can do it over here or more people start, you know, looking into well, what would it look like if I were to do paid ads in Reddit? Or what would it look like if I were to do, you know, other kinds of paid platforms that aren’t Facebook? So I think that’s something that we’ll see a lot more of moving into next year, especially as Facebook tends to just like, implode on itself.
Christopher Penn 25:41
I mean, my own three year strategy, which is somewhat reflected in what the company is doing is, you know, at the very beginning, it’s it’s awareness.
In the middle, it’s being as large a publisher as I can manage, with newsletters and stuff like that.
And then at the bottom is community having that group of people that are interested finding, you know, Kevin Kelly’s 1000 true fans, you can find your 1000 true fans, you’ve won the game.
And I think that strategy is, in some ways, it’s timeless, but it reflects what’s happening right now, which is that Rand is everything, right? Brand people who if they know who you are, you want if they remember who you are, when the time to buy, you’ve won, if you don’t have that, all these other marketing tactics, while valuable, will not save you.
Because at the end of the day, the consumer is going to B2B or B2C is going to go hmm, I have this problem.
Who do I know that fixes the problem? Oh, I’m gonna call TrustInsights.ai.
Or they’re not.
And if they are, we win.
And so that’s the kind of strategy that based on the way algorithms work on the way technology is moving, moving, that I feel like we have to pursue and whether that’s a trend or not, I don’t know.
But I know that that’s the way the technology is going.
And we got to go with it.
Katie Robbert 26:58
Yeah, I think for us our trend, or whatever, is we’re gonna stay the course where you continue to do solid work that demonstrates a positive outcome for people.
And we’ll just continue to talk about it.
And maybe it’s how we disseminate it is the innovative part, but the, at the core of what we do, we’re still just going to help people solve their problems in a predictable, repeatable and transparent way.
I don’t see that changing for us, ever.
Um, you know, and I don’t have a personal strategy.
I never know what day it is.
And so my strategy is look at the calendar every day, and try to remember where I am.
So that’s my personal strategy at the moment.
I thought today was Tuesday.
So here we are.
Christopher Penn 27:47
The last piece of advice I would say on this is something comes from, you know, former Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos.
And I think it’s good advice, even if the person who gave it is not necessarily the nicest person in the world.
And that is focus on what doesn’t change, right? There are things that do not change or do not change much, even in things like pandemics and stuff.
And again, using tools like Google Trends can help you service that.
I was talking with a friend this weekend, who’s you know, working on opening up a flower shop that Lauer’s that people think about at certain times a year don’t change, right? It’s February, people are asking about roses guaranteed, right? If it is MAE, and it’s wedding season, people are asking about Lily’s guarantee.
That’s just the way people are.
Those things don’t change what platform you put your stuff up on, whether it’s Instagram or twitch or Tik Tok, that changes, but that fundamental behavior doesn’t change.
And so when you’re thinking about your trends, think about what’s underlying IT industry, what doesn’t change, that you can keep focusing on the big three, your obvious customers always want better, faster, cheaper, that never changes.
What can you do to help them achieve more what they all want? You know, they always want.
Katie Robbert 29:02
I think that that’s solid advice.
And so I guess the takeaway for us is we don’t see lot of huge big things changing in 2022, it’s going to be more of the same just maybe with you know, a different you know, color paint on it.
And ultimately, don’t get so swept up into trends that you forget what your purpose is what you’re doing.
You know, it’s good to look around, see what other people are doing.
But at the core, stay true to yourself.
Christopher Penn 29:33
And if you’ve got questions or comments, or you want to discuss the trends that you were thinking about, or ask questions, there’s data to back them up, pop on over to our free Slack community go to trust insights.ai/analytics for marketers, where you have over 2200 other marketers are asking answering each other’s questions all day long.
And wherever it is that you watch or listen to the show, there’s a good chance that you can find over TrustInsights.ai dot AI slash T AI podcast where you can subscribe to the show in full Get past episodes and more so thanks for tuning in we’ll talk to you soon take care need help making your marketing platforms processes and people work smarter visit trust insights.ai today and learn how we can help you deliver more impact
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