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What a year! With the war in Europe, projected recession, cost-of-living crisis, multiple prime ministers and u-turns, 2022 hasn’t exactly been plain sailing!

And for marketers, an even more worrying time, with the risk of companies reducing their marketing budget or even stopping it! But it’s not all doom and gloom. 2022 has had its positive moments and proved that, through necessity and resilience, businesses can more than rise to the challenge!

Against this difficult background, we’ve seen some exceptional marketing initiatives in 2022, many with an emphasis on emotion and people. Paddington Bear will now always be associated with Her Majesty The Queen, and this year’s John Lewis Christmas advert pulled on the nation’s heartstrings. We’ve also seen some big shockers in the world of marketing with the acquisition of Twitter by Elon Musk and the confusing plans with verified service and staff cuts, as well as the rapid transition into the virtual world of the Metaverse and even more social media channels to watch out for - who has heard of Mastodon??

For the clients we work with, common themes that have been apparent in 2022 and will continue in 2023 are the need to be agile, authentic, and as human as possible.

Let’s have a look at some key takeaways:

  • Don’t stop marketing

Things are tough and are more than likely going to get tougher, but it can’t be reiterated enough – despite the short-term temptation to cut costs – don’t stop marketing! If you reduce your marketing budget during a recession, not only will your sales fall during that time, but that drop can last for anything up to three years afterwards. It is important to continue to invest in your marketing, particularly when your competitors are not. See a downturn as an opportunity rather than a threat. This blog provides some great ideas on how you can streamline your marketing efforts when working with a tight budget. Remember, marketing doesn’t have to be expensive, and the most innovative ideas happen during difficult times.

  • Content is still king

Video has remained the top marketing content format, and the rise of short-form video with more firms, including B2B, using platforms such as Instagram with Reels and even TikTok. LinkedIn has also made the deployment of video content much easier.

Blogging continues to be a powerful content marketing strategy, with industry-specific and thought leadership pieces that can go on to be used as evergreen content and distributed on social media. This article explains why your business needs a blog. Using empathetic, authentic and emotional content to build social proof and credibility remains key, with case studies, testimonials and reviews being a large component of content marketing for many of our clients this year.

  • Being data-driven

To get the best return on investment, firms utilising and investing in data-driven strategies are seeing the best results. Of course, GDPR has reduced the ability to capture third-party data but using data-driven marketing can help to gain a more accurate view of the target audience, in turn leading to the development of more personalised marketing. With the change to first-party data, firms have been investing in CRM platforms to tailor the customer experience and zero in on their ‘buyer personas’. Here, we discuss why small businesses should have a CRM system.

  • Social media

As predicted, Tik Tok has become huge in the last year, with its trajectory showing no signs of slowing. Influencer marketing continues to soar, but did you know 74% of people are becoming tired of social media ads? Nevertheless, with the right copy, creative and audience research, social media advertising remains very effective.

‘Storytelling’ has also started to play an increasingly significant role in social media marketing as it connects with people on an emotional level and helps to make your brand memorable. Understanding client needs and pain points and incorporating these elements into a ‘story’ through video, testimonials and case studies helps to engage prospects and clients, demonstrating that you can provide the right service or product for them.

  • Marketing to attract talent

One of the unexpected challenges of the post-pandemic era and economic challenges has been the difficulty that businesses have faced in attracting and retaining the best talent.  Marketing can be effectively deployed to demonstrate the benefits of working in your organisation, including the opportunities and quality of work that are available. We have found that we are increasingly working with clients to develop this, using social media in particular.  

  • Being human

This has played a major role in 2022. Digital advances have changed the way we market and communicate, but being human is now more important than ever. People now quickly recognise and are becoming tired of generic automated messaging – in response, personalisation and authenticity have far more of a positive impact. An example of this is the increase in brands using employee engagement, turning them into advocates, helping firms to attract new talent and, in turn, be more attractive to clients.

Linked to authenticity, we have also seen the rise in ‘newsjacking’ – where brands jump on a big news story, run an advert or post on social media, generating likes and shares and bringing their own name into the spotlight. This has been apparent with brands jumping on widely covered media stories such as The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, Women’s Euro 2022, and, more recently, the World Cup.

Looking ahead to 2023

Just like football, marketing requires a lot of strategy, tactics, the ability to respond quickly and team effort to see results. It’s coming home! It is with Cal Partners! If you’re looking for cost-effective marketing support that delivers results in 2023, then book your free consultation here to find out more. Look out for our 2023 marketing trends blog in January.

About the author

Rachel Wright

Rachel is Head of Marketing Operations at Cal Partners and is a Chartered Marketer. She began working in marketing in 2007 and has a particular specialism in the professional services sector.

Marketing for Professional Services

Cal Partners

The go-to strategic marketing partner for ambitious professional services