The Marketing Leaders Guide 2022 – My Answers

Each year I create a challenge to help fellow Marketers and Growth Professionals with a product where I bring together experts in the field and ask a series of questions to help build a better year ahead. (Check out last years challenge The Brand Book 2021)

This year, I invited a number of Marketing Leaders from Marketing Director to CMO’s to answer 10 questions that will help many to rethink their approach to 2022, reshape their team/department and consider what they may have missed in planning.

The full Marketing Leaders Guide 2022 ebook is coming out next week, if you would like to be emailed upon its launch email me below:

The 10 Questions

What was your biggest Marketing lesson from 2021? 

It is harder than ever before to gain a cut though for new products and services. Even with the most loyal fans, best customers and the best campaigns. 

It has never been so easy to build a product, to provide a service but never as hard to promote and build intent for these. 

What are the most important skills to have for Marketing leaders to succeed in 2022?

Patience – many Marketing campaigns will need confidence and snipper like precision to deliver successful campaigns. In 2021 many companies forced seasonal events early and created confusion with their customers, being patient and trusting your strategy will be the difference between many companies in 2022. Being patient and having patience internally and externally will go a long way. 

Curiosity – with so many channels and formats available, Marketing Leaders need to be able to stay curious and not dismiss opportunities because of their age (“I’m too old for this” is used too commonly) or their personal bias for or against Marketing shifts.
You don’t have to be the expert across every channel and every trend and shift however you do need to stay curious and understand how the cogs work to help colleagues (and execs) understand the shifts, empower your team and keep confidence and energy high when performance may wavier across the year. 

Organisational Design – For years Marketing leads have wrestled with how to build their Departments, many building teams based on the lack of skills and the requirement to shift channels. 

We have seen many opting to hire teams full of specialists vs hiring generalists, often solving an internal pain point or a skill gap versus answering customer problems and being able to be smart and plan for the long term. 

CoachingCoaching is a skill so many leaders will need to develop, deploy and look to hire for to help their teams to develop. In fast-paced environments and verticals, coaching is often lost and many rely on self-development, smart Marketing Leaders will win by developing the skills across their people and their teams and knowing when to bring in external coaches.

In 2022 we are going to see many professionals looking to maximise their time, especially in the pending hybrid workplace. 

Which skills are you looking for your team members to improve in 2022?

Generally, across the Marketing Departments, there are a few shifts for teams to improve, the majority are looking to develop their creative skills and rely less on cross-functional reliance on resources like design and some lighter weight tech. 

With the big shift towards audio and video, there will be requirements for teams to have trusted partners or learn the skills internally to service the increasing demand to create richer media. The reliance and disappointment with agencies appear to be at an all-time high with many Marketing and Growth teams going to have to build in house agencies or have an external set of freelancers who can spin up quickly. 

What three skills are you going to personally improve in 2022?

Video and being comfortable on video.
We are about to see another rise in video and the demand to be on camera and be on live interviews is going to increase. 

No one is prepared for the always-on world we live in. Being able to be mindful and understanding yourself and your triggers is a skill we could all learn. 

Being able to understand, develop and reverse understand memes and the meme-ification of products, news items and agenda’s. Meme’s gain more cut through and long term cut through than many appreciate. 

Which channel(s) do you expect to explode in popularity and must be used in 2022?

Impact Video – I believe short to mid-length videos are going to continue to grow, the 15-180 second time is vitally important for attention and buy-in across the Marketing funnel therefore video and shoppable video will become a trend many won’t be able to ignore. 

Experimental – there is a continuing shift in consumers demanding experiences and wanting something to connect to, which is going to be a big area of evolution and one I am excited to see moving forward.
Hybrid is going to be a factor many may ignore here and connecting IRL and people wanting to co-experience this while at home is going to be something many have to offer.  

Traditional – Tracking impact and being able to target and track is changing, traditional marketing channels always have had a place in the Marketing mix, I believe there will be a move towards more traditional methods of Marketing, less reliance on big digital campaigns. 
Even today C-Suite members still brag about TV ads…

Which brands really impressed you in 2021 and why? 

I believe the art world’s move towards understanding how the digital ecosystem’s like NFT’s has been hugely impressive. Artists like Damien Hirst has really combined the physical and the digital together and attempted to make NFT’s more accessible.
Remember the Drake cover and the brand’s scrambling to leverage the big cultural moment, this was driven by art.
We are likely to see this shift in Music and some gaming too. 

TikTok’s ability to be the product you do not have to download to enjoy is a brilliant move and the way they have created a product that is driven by the entertainment graph rather than just follower and friends graph has created an ecosystem that helps their UGC spread on and off-platform and created a marketing machine that markets the entertaining, the weird and the educational videos alongside each other almost effortlessly.  

TikTok doesn’t now require huge advertising spending, however, TikTok’s deliberate decisions of sponsoring some of the largest sporting events and entertainment events have cemented their position in culture and added trust to older users who were likely more sceptical of the app.  

What are your three big Marketing predictions for 2022?

One to few vs one to all 

Shift to owning your own destiny and having more direct relationships with your customers. Channels and platforms are cutting reach to all-time lows, we have seen companies build relationships across more personal inboxes like email and SMS, smart brands will be thinking about personal messaging and canonical inboxes. Messaging and Retention specialists are going to be incredibly valuable here. 

Going smaller to grow bigger 

Marketing has been one-to-many or one-to-everyone for many years, Marketing typically worked by going after the biggest segment of potential customers and trying to attract them, more recently many Marketers went for audiences based on their psychometrics and demographics and went to specific groups of customers. 

I believe many smart Marketing teams will go smaller and build direct relationships with fewer customers to really understand them and evolve their marketing efforts to grow. We have seen in recent times you do not need huge networks to grow, you just need the right nodes in the network to grow.  

Continued shift to Growth 

Growth is often misunderstood, Growth Marketing (Performance Marketing etc) is an area where some brands are rethinking their organisation design based on the outcomes and goals of the department. I predict many Marketing departments and companies will be building out Growth tribes/smarms/SWOT teams to help bridge the gap between Product and Marketing teams and helping to be laser-focused on what parts of the business own which sections of the funnel and how to collaborate best.

Marketing has never been under so much pressure to deliver and the way most smart departments deliver is to rethink internal and external problems and reshape their operations, which I know many businesses will have to redesign their business and hire smart and brilliant Growth professionals.  

A bonus prediction: 

Many Marketing teams will either be consumed into a consumer or customer style department that is broader than just Marketing or Marketing will and should evolve to take on Customer Support and Customer Success departments to be closer to the customers and offer a truly connected service.

Likewise, Community which will be a big term used in 2022 will be an imperative part of building out the next phase of Marketing Departments. 

How would you recommend Marketing leaders keep their company up to date with important industry shifts and performance changes? 

Deliberate communication at the regular scheduling on a dedicated internal channel. 

Marketing Departments have the opportunity to keep their company updated by creating presentations, videos, audio and keeping their companies attention with creative updates and a way to show cross-functional successes, many others do not have this opportunity or chance. 

Any team that story tells well away from just numbers often gains the most buy-in and gains more respect. Know this and own this.
A tip: Leverage the creativity and knowing what messaging and formats gain cut through, you will be surprised the impact it will have on other teams. 

FWIW: Marketing Departments have struggled to market as well or as much internally as externally and this has led to many Marketing leads struggling to keep respect and buy-in from other execs within their business. 

What is your best piece of advice for Marketing Leaders managing their fellow management team members?  

Show the impact of your department’s work and be transparent through storytelling. Marketing is one of the only teams that have to show ROI, gain respect and cut through by showing what you are working on, knowing what is and is not working and taking your fellow execs on a short journey each time.  

Marketing is the only department that has to pull the future forward and bet big on their campaigns week after week, therefore show ways you are building awareness, developing the brand, gaining advocates and retaining customers through visuals and feedback alongside the numbers which the CEO, CFO and COO will be across every day. 

Do you have two pieces of advice that will help Marketing leaders to thrive in 2022? 

Always be marketing, always be auditing (this is my motto)

Market your team, your campaigns, your projects, it is the only way you will gain cut through especially when hybrid work becomes more common in 2022. Offer workshops for feedback sessions and to provide insights rather than inviting opinions from colleagues. Inspire by marketing and build confidence by auditing your products, services and campaigns, this enables you to build trust and understand how to proactively drive the company strategy forward. Proactive beats reactive almost every time. 

“Be prepared to be the glue”  

Many Marketing departments have to be truly cross-functional and you will need to understand how the business is operating and where you are, often other departments missing their delivery dates or encountering tech challenges creates a blame culture, understand how you can act as the glue, keep the company updates and be prepared to offer solutions to help to move the company or launch forward. Reduce spending hours defending your own department and spend more time ensuring cross-functional work moves forward and bringing your colleagues together will lead to better results. 

Supporting Resources:

Last years Brand Book 2021


Want to know more about why there is a shift to community? Read the below presentation or watch:

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