2021 marked our second year of the COVID-19 pandemic impacting every part of our lives. And all industries, including marketing technology, experienced a world of change unlike ever before. The need for digital transformation reached new heights over the past year, and the growth of the cloud and reliance on high-quality data has never been greater. No matter how you slice it, martech is experiencing significant change, and will continue to in the New Year.
With that in mind, here are my top 5 predictions for 2022 and a closer look at what I believe will be the biggest trends in the martech industry this year.
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The end of the B2B marketing campaign and evolution of demand cloud software
The B2B marketing campaign (as we know it) will vanish. We can admit that quarterly RFPs with unrealistic turnarounds burn agencies, publishers and marketers alike. Transactional planning rarely yields transformational value. And, that’s a game we all want to be in. Enter “campaigns or outcomes as a service,” where planning happens once, the digital experience (improved with software releases) is a constant, the campaign is agile, and reporting is real-time. It’s time to plan once and spend your quarterly efforts on brand to demand storytelling, KPI iteration and optimization. Will it happen in 2022? Probably not for everyone, but we have enough customers working like this with us now that everyone will start to notice that there is a better way
Expect to see in 2022, the emergence of a new generation ”Outcomes-as-a-Service” [OaaS] marketing platforms that will vertically integrate software, data and media together. OaaS type platforms will enable marketers to purchase explicit outcomes like leads and impressions just like they do with SaaS. This will be a system of intelligence – not simply a system of record. The fuel to run the OaaS engine will be first-party data that is privacy safe and globally sourced.
Authenticity of data becomes a deciding influence
As the world becomes more digital, data that vendors rely on to develop and market products and services have become even more readily available. But determining the authenticity of that data has also become substantially harder. Relying on trusted sources with real human connections will rise to become a primary factor in 2022 as vendors leverage data to make decisions that range from what products to build to which customers to sell to. The ability to make strategic decisions will increasingly converge at the intersection of human connections and automated technologies.
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Capturing the dark funnel with multi-source intent
With dark social and the dark funnel being top of mind for marketers going into 2022, we’ll see a combining of sources to broaden the spectrum of intent. In an attempt to shed light on the dark funnel, sales and marketing teams will begin seeking ways to fuse multiple intent data sources to get a more robust view of the buyer’s journey. This will expand beyond combining third-party sources, to merging first-party, second-party, and third-party intent for the most complete picture.
A cookie alternative emerges
The solution to the cookie apocalypse is not a new replacement technology for tracking individuals, but the adoption of new target audience operating models. What is clear is the value of genuine first-party data and context are having a renaissance, offering advertisers and consumers the experience and trust they expect. Additionally, Intent-based cohort targeting will emerge as the next evolution of ABM (Account Based Marketing), allowing marketers to identify commonly shared characteristics buried within intent data signals and scale their marketing far beyond a simple target account list. What will not happen is publishers handing over their data to super-sized third parties who carry the majority of the economic benefits and none of the risk.
Martech advancements make DIY marketing easy
I continue to be bullish on in-housing of marketing functions and expect this trend to expand as global economies rebound. The advancement of marketing automation toward ABM and Marketing Cloud functions, combined with new sources of intent-based audience data will usher in a new era of highly customized/industry specific self-service DIY marketing capabilities. Data privacy and operational efficiency will be the driving force for change. The challenge will be hiring staff fast enough.
With 2022 now underway, these are the areas I believe will be front-and-center in martech looking ahead. It’ll be interesting to see to what extent these trends take shape, and the ways they factor into marketing strategies over the next 12 months.
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