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Happy New Year! By now, I’m sure we’d all hoped that the coronavirus pandemic would be well behind us and that ‘back to normal’ would be the ‘new normal’. It looks like we need to continue being aware of possible restrictions on meeting face to face, and in turn make the most of digital marketing opportunities.

Google is ending support to third-party cookies in Chrome – what will that mean for your business?

More importance will be placed on first-party data (information that you have already collected from customers and that you own) and zero-party data (data given directly to a company by a consumer e.g. through a survey or interactive content). Now is the time to own your audience! Use the data you already have: What does it say about your clients or customers? Do you know who they are and what they want from you? Can you use the information to build ideal client personas?

Customer retention

It has been widely reported that it costs 5 times more to attract new customers than to retain existing ones. And that existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products and spend 31% more compared to new ones. Keeping customers loyal is great for your brand growth too. Data suggests that 60% of loyal customers will become advocates and tell friends and family, in turn becoming advocates for the brand.

What should be in your 2022 Marketing Plan?

Direct to customer (D2C) marketing

Having your own opted-in database of contacts means you can target them directly, rather than relying on a social media platform’s algorithm to get your message out there. Refine the audience to include more of those who are your ideal customer. An email newsletter with personalised content that is topical and relevant demonstrates thought leadership and builds social proof. It is also a favoured tactic by marketers for increasing customer loyalty and retention.

Hybrid events

2021 was the year we saw events go online, literally overnight! Although humans are sociable beings, we have embraced the convenience and cost-effectiveness of online events. Online events, like webinars and seminars, are a great for:

  • Demonstrating thought leadership.
  • Showcasing your talents to existing and potential new clients.
  • Gathering data on attendees.
  • Generating re-useable ‘ever-green’ content like blogs, videos, case studies etc.

Be prepared to run hybrid events, with a smaller number of people attending in person and the opportunity to live stream presentations to a wider online audience or send out a recording afterwards together with an accompanying handout that includes follow up ‘calls to action’. We wrote this blog last year on webinar best practice.

Environmental and Social Governance

Businesses can no longer ignore their environmental and social value obligations. Existing and prospective clients and employees understandably want to see evidence that you are committed to environmental and social governance. In turn it makes sense to align this with your marketing. Engaging with a not-for-profit organisation can help expand your brand and reach new audiences, while at the same time giving back to a cause that you are passionate about. It should be more than just mentioning on social media that you support a particular organisation – think about affiliate marketing or corporate sponsorship. A win-win for everyone involved.

Business To Business (B2B) content

Last year, we talked about the importance of Content Marketing and Digital Marketing. These will continue to be important in 2022 but you’ll need to think creatively to be able to stand out from the competition.

  • Choose the social platforms most relevant to your industry and concentrate on being present there.
  • Post content on your website that is search engine optimised with keywords and will be found through browser searches.
  • Use thought leadership to educate your audience with clear, simple messages – what are their problems/issues and how do your services help?
  • Have clear ‘calls to action’ to convert any interest into potential clients.

What makes your offering different and how do you demonstrate that? Try several types of content like animation, blogging, regular podcasts, webinars or video tutorials and don’t forget strong branding and client testimonials.

LinkedIn agrees that content is hugely important in B2B marketing:

"Short articles and posts (e.g., blogs) continue to be the most common type of content asset by far, with 90% of content marketers saying it was in their mix during the past year."

Becoming a great storyteller will appeal more to both your existing audience and potential clients – learning how you helped is far better than the hard sell!

Good olde customer service!

No, not really anything to do with your marketing plan, but the importance of customer service in your business shouldn’t be overlooked, particularly as we have moved to more remote ways of working since the pandemic. What is the point of creating great content, having a brilliant website, generating new enquiries and driving business to your firm, if your team fails to deliver what has been promised? (This Hubspot article goes into more detail.) Clients want to be able to contact you easily, across a number of different platforms (email, web forms, phone, instant message, social media etc) – make it as easy and convenient for them as you can. In-house customer relationship management (CRM) systems should mean that anyone within the firm has access to key information and can quickly address a client query.

Be prepared to evolve

Even without the impact of the pandemic, marketing trends come and go and what worked a couple of years ago for your business may not anymore. It is important to review your marketing strategy on a regular basis, just as you would your wider business strategy. Don’t be afraid to try new things, retire old activities that no longer yield results and allow your marketing plan to evolve. Cal Partners can help you take a fresh look at your marketing strategy and come up with new ways to promote your services. Why not book a free consultation?

About the author

Alison O'Neill

Account Manager, Alison, is a former Forensic Scientist who moved into professional services marketing in 2008 and is a Chartered Marketer and Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (MCIM).

Marketing for Professional Services

Cal Partners

The go-to strategic marketing partner for ambitious professional services