Welcome to this online masterclass from MMC Learning, one of the UK’s leading CIM, CMI and Masters in digital marketing education and training providers.
My name is Rene Power, and amongst a number of the roles, I am a marketing director at MMC Learning. It’s great to have you watching this session with us today.
Delighted to have alongside me, and who’s going to be doing the bulk of the heavy lifting in this masterclass, the wonderful Mike Berry.
Thank you very much. I’m not sure how to respond to that Rene. I’m certainly Mike Berry. We’ll see if I’m wonderful. Nice to be here, anyway.
Mike, as he will explain before he gets into this session is author, lecturer, consultant and trainer in digital marketing with a number of prestigious organisations. MMC is one of those as well.
We’ve got Mike to pull together some thoughts for us in this session, that is all about the things that we think are going to be important trends and things to be mindful of, and to have in and around your marketing plan and your marketing thinking during the course of this year.
Mike’s going to be doing the bulk of the presenting. I’ll be nipping in and out and ask questions and sharing some other insights as well. I’m going to throw it straight over to you, Mike. Thanks very much.
Thank you, Rene. As I say, good to be here, good to be with you all. I hope we can explore some interesting areas and as Rene says, some things which we think are going to be big and maybe a few things that we don’t think are going to be as big as you might expect, at least not in the near future.
It’s all about timescale, isn’t it? With new technologies, particularly, it’s a judgement call on what’s the fad and what’s the trend. If something is going to happen, how soon will it happen?
Of course, we can be interested in the technology, but that’s a very different story from persuading the CFO to give us some mega dollars to spend on it, especially if it’s new and unproven.
We’ll have a discussion about some technologies like that, that maybe it’s worth waiting a bit longer for. Okay. Let us press on.
Digital marketing trends
As we said, it’s called trends and trends are fun, aren’t they? Of course, in marketing and particularly digital marketing, we’re looking for trends. If we can spot a trend and we can make the right decision about the business at the right time, we’re going to capitalise on the trend.
Of course, a trend could be something that we need to get out of or spend less money on. It doesn’t necessarily mean things that are getting bigger and things that are growing.
We will be looking at the big things. In a relatively short time today, we’re going to try and focus on the things which we think are important to discuss and think about. Of course, to put into the context of your own organisation, what’s going to be important for you? That is going to vary, of course.
A little bit about Mike Berry
As Rene kindly said, I’m an author, consultant, lecturer, trainer, you name it, bit of everything. I love my mixed-up life. I love working for MMC, but also, I like the freedom to do other stuff.
I like to travel, which I’m beginning to think might happen again sometime. I like to talk about marketing and digital marketing, and meet interesting people, and also to help people to learn and to take on board new skills.
Educationalists talk about being a facilitator, which is a grand expression, isn’t it?
I guess there is a role for teaching, knowledge transfer, if somebody knows something that you don’t know, it would be good if they told you, generally speaking, but also if you can help them to learn, there’s more chance that it would be relevant and that they’ll remember it.
Every year, I hope I get better at knowledge transfer, but also at facilitating learning, which is very rewarding and great fun.
Of course, marketing is itself a really interesting area and it keeps on changing. I think that’s one of the reasons we all enjoy it so much. I’m sure everyone watching this webinar would agree with me, that whatever worked last year may not work this coming year, and is unlikely to work in five years’ time. That means we need to keep exploring, keep checking, keep testing, keep watching the competition.
Why we need to keep an eye on trends
Of course, test new things. If anyone wants to connect on LinkedIn, you’re very welcome. Meanwhile, let’s get on, shall we? Why are we even talking about trends? Is it because we’re fascinated by technology?
To some extent, some of us are, whether we’re actually very techy ourselves, we’re living through very interesting times, aren’t we? I think most people would find the growth of the internet, of the worldwide web, of mobile technology, social networks, and the massive increase in the amount of data which is available to marketers.
All of that’s interesting stuff in its own right. Of course, a change in technology is only relevant to us in our marketing roles, if it affects our customers and our potential customers.
Technology, for its own sake, may or may not be interesting to you, but if you’re a marketer, I suggest that technology which changes customer behaviour is important. You have to understand it.
“Specifically, how customers are going to be using that technology to make decisions about what they buy, what they keep buying, what content they absorb, how they communicate and basically, the new habits that they are developing, using the changing technology.”
As marketers, we have to be close to that. That’s really the implication for the business. Some of the technologies may just be interesting, and we look at them and say, wow, electric cars, okay. Some of the technologies may be okay, TikTok’s really growing or Google’s changing its algorithm powered by AI.
I would suggest the latter two are the ones that would really matter for marketers. That’s what we’re going to focus on today. There won’t be too much on time travel and thought transference. Not today, Rene, maybe if we speak again in a few years’ time.
Five digital trends that will impact digital marketing in 2022
Okay. To try and get a bit of structure into it, we’ve looked at some headings.
E-Commerce is very much here and now. For a lot of businesses, it is what they do. A lot of other businesses are working with eCommerce companies, and of course, as consumers and probably as business buyers, many of us are using eCommerce every day, if only buying something from Amazon or using e-procurement platforms for the organisation that we work in.
Then, we’ll look at Meta, which we didn’t talk about last year, because no one had ever said it for, unless you were Greek.
Now of course, there’s a lot of buzz about it, but just like the longer word, Metaverse, I think there’s not a lot of clarity. The old analogy about dial-up radio, wireless as it was, talks about noise-
It has to go down as one of the laziest rebrands in tech, doesn’t it?
Yeah. I guess they could have called themselves Verse, but they went for Meta, because that first. Yeah, very interesting.
We’ll talk about that as well in a minute, in terms of what is Facebook’s game here? What do we think it might be? Opinions vary.
I talk to a lot of people all the time, and immediately after, I was talking to some groups that said, it’s totally cynical and it’s just a rebrand, and other people said, no, this is important. This is Facebook planning for the next phase of its growth, which might be just as impressive as the previous growth.
That’s saying something. Let’s talk about that. I think if you have to single anything out, apart from Meta, it would be TikTok [Ed: and the concept of short form instant video], one of the great success stories over the last 12 months, and showing no signs of slowing down.
I think really interesting for lots of reasons, including technology, but also geopolitical, and a Chinese company expanding beyond China. Also of course, highlighting the fragility of any of these platforms, if you put too much credence and budgets and reliance on them.
There was a time during the latter part of the previous US administration where TikTok looked actually rather threatened in the US.
I had a couple of clients I was working with who was seriously worried that they put a big bet on TikTok in terms of their marketing, they wouldn’t be able to do that activity that they had planned and spent a lot of time. As it turned out, we know what happened, and TikTok survives, but we’ll talk about that as well.
Yeah. It’s interesting, I think what TikTok represents, in that type of platform, community, whatever we call that. It’d be interesting to unpack that a little bit more. Yeah.
Yeah, absolutely. How quickly a social network like Snapchat could become uncool to a certain audience, and how old Facebook looks to some of my students, issues like that. Let’s talk about that.
Of course, the big P [Ed: Privacy] which may not be the most exciting or the most creative, but I think it’s one of the most important things that any marketer is going to have to deal with. The changing consumer perceptions, the concerns that people have got about their personal data, about how much they’re disclosing, and also a growing awareness of the value of that data.
Even if people are not terrified that they’re being spied on, they may think, actually, I’m not just going to give away my email address to any big corporate.
I’m not necessarily going to agree to being tracked by the tech companies. I’m going to negotiate. If we can do a deal, then fine. I think that’s an interesting issue, which is only going to get bigger.
Then lastly, Rene, I’d just like to put out a call to digital marketers, to remember they are still marketers. We’ll talk about that as well.
I’ve been in marketing quite a long time, as a practitioner, as a consultant and as an educator. I think we have to keep remembering that some of those basics that the grand old men of the 20th Century, Kotler, Drucker, those guys, Ted Levitt, that they came up with, they’re still true. Those essentials of marketing don’t get old, even if the technologies change.
Okay. That’s some of the headings that we could divide today [Ed: and future blog posts] into.
Of course, we are in a business that encourages hype. I’m not going to point any fingers, but I’ve spent a long time working in agencies. I’ve also been a consultant, and fingers have been pointed at both of those types of organisation.
Because of course, if you’re very knowledgeable about something, which is new, and use a lot of jargon that the customer half understands, maybe they’ll think, okay, we need these people, because otherwise, we’re terrified. We don’t know what’s going on. There is an agenda that some consultants have, which is to seem wise and to be talking in a lot of jargon can sometimes apparently add to that, unless people see through it.
Gartner Hype Cycle
Anyway, this is Gartner, who are famous for their hype cycle, H-Y-P-E, and the hype cycle is quite a well-known thing. It’s talking about the peak of expectations, which at one point, get very exciting.
Then, people realise, this is going to be some time away, and they become disillusioned, the trough of disillusionment. Then eventually, some technologies come back.
Interesting to see QR codes having a revival. I remember them from a long time ago, and we thought they were dead. AI was hyped for a while. Now, AI is just normal. It’s everywhere. We may not be seeing it, but it’s there.
Some technologies take off and some remain flat, and then get superseded by other technologies.
Of course, Gartner are doing this as a piece of content marketing for themselves. It works very well, because I’ve mentioned them three times already.
They’ve got something called the Impact Radar, which I’ll leave you to have a look at. They’re talking about some of the hot issues at the moment.
The AR cloud, for instance, digital ethics, is touching on the issues of data and privacy and personalization that we just referred to, AI is in there as well. IOT, (the internet of things). Of course, these things move at different speeds. Gartner are very clued up. They’ve got some clever people, good analysts, but nobody knows for sure.
When we talk about the Metaverse on the right hand side there, you could say that Facebook is putting a line in the sand and saying, okay, this is going to be the next thing.
They of course have luxury of very deep pockets, so they can afford to launch something and employ apparently 10,000 people in Europe to work on the Metaverse. I don’t know whether they’ve told them what exactly they’re going to be doing. It’d be interesting to hear, because that would include knowing what the Metaverse actually is in the first place.
As I say, if you were starting a business which needed to make money quite early, perhaps you wouldn’t start a Metaverse business.
Maybe there’s a year’s worth of business for a consultancy, saying we know everything about the Metaverse, but as an ex-agency person that did a lot of new business at various times, I suspect they’d have a lot of meetings, but not a lot of income, because people would be picking their brains saying, what is this thing called, the Metaverse, and do we need to know anything about it? Okay, thanks, your half hour is up, and no money would change hands.
I think that’s the downside. I think that’s the real downside of being an early adopter, isn’t it? As we’ll talk about, specifically in relation to that issue, but it could be about any of the things that come popping up in front of us, from any direction, that early adoption. If you’re constantly in that space, then yeah, the challenge is finding like-minded people, and not having to spend all your time educating because-
Yeah. You’re doing the job for the later people in the cycle, aren’t you?
Yeah, exactly. To be a bit brutal about it, there’s not many dollars in just having a lot of meetings, sowing the seed, people picking your brains.
In terms of a business model, I’m not so sure that that’s backed up. Facebook on the other hand, have the leisure and the luxury of making so much money out of advertising, they can sink a lot of money into the Metaverse, or their new technologies in virtual reality, which may not pay back ever, but certainly not for many years.
Something for the everyday marketer to keep an eye on, I would say. Obviously, it’s very interesting and it could be very exciting, but let’s not get carried away. That’s my overall thought on that. We’ll come back to the Metaverse.