We currently live in a digitally reliant world. With 2022 just around the corner, your business, your market, and the technology around you are ever-changing. The question is: Are you?

Today, we will be discussing some of the projected sales and marketing trends of 2022, as well as some of the technological advancements that are already generating a lot of buzz. You’ll learn how you and your business, company, and/or team can prepare for these upcoming industry game-changers.

Artificial Intelligence

At the forefront of technological advancements in artificial intelligence or AI. It seems like every year, we hear about a new company’s AI endeavor. Many of you may already know some companies that have created humanoid robots to enhance their customer experience. For example, SoftBank created one in 2015 named Pepper. The Japanese tech investment company created the robot to analyze facial expressions and tone of voice as a way to capture emotional cues from people. This data then allowed the machine to respond more appropriately to customer requests. The first batch of 1,000 Pepper robots sold out in just 60 seconds and has since gained commercial acclaim. 

Currently, several offices in the UK are using Pepper robots as receptionists that can identify visitors by facial recognition and offer a more personalized experience. They can chat with prospective clients, send meeting alerts, and even prepare drinks. In Canada, Pepper is being used at airports to greet travelers and offer menus at airport restaurants. On the other side of the world in Japan, robots are being used at banks, medical facilities, in addition to restaurants. 

Even though robots have already made breakthroughs in customer service, each year they become more advanced. In fact, Elon Musk just recently announced Tesla’s plan to create a humanoid robot. According to CNN, the robot will be built by humans for humans, eliminating the need for repetitive, dangerous, and boring tasks. The bot will be 5’8” in height and according to Elon, we can expect the first prototype to be released sometime in 2022. It’s uncertain if the robot will be produced in multiple quantities for purchase, but one thing is for certain, upcoming advancements in Artificial Intelligence are going to bring forth new changes to the sales and marketing world.

Capabilities of Artificial Intelligence

You may be thinking that humanoid robots are only capable of simple and/or mundane jobs. As they become more advanced, however, they can take on a lot more responsibilities. According to Forbes, here are just some of the marketing jobs that we can expect from Robots and Artificial Intelligence: 

  • Website Content Creators and Copywriting

NPR currently uses AI for sports writing and coverage for sports events and games. Moving forward, you can expect more companies to start implementing modern artificial intelligent alternatives for live coverage of events, or repetitive copywriting-type tasks.

  • Marketing or Sales Reps

As we’ve seen with Tesla, usually when a company goes public with their plans to produce a robot, they are seen as innovative and ahead of their time. Many companies, especially those centered around technology, will consider replacing some of their in-person sales and marketing reps with robots in the future. Walking into a store and being helped by a robot or attending a trade show and seeing a robot operating a booth are all future possibilities. Again, programmed by humans to respond like a human. 

  • Call Center Staff and Outbound Callers

I’m sure many of you have already experienced calling your cable company or phone provider and being initially greeted by AI, which then transfers your call to an actual person. Artificial Intelligence can simplify a business’ call center by handling incoming calls and Internet traffic to keep the phone lines open and running smoothly. Moving forward, you can expect more companies to use Robo-dialers and AI to place prerecorded calls, send out customer satisfaction surveys, and gather more information before directing a call.

  • Entertainers and Performers

When Vonazon first started we were known as a trade show marketing company that helped exhibitors to generate more engagement at their in-person events. One of our clients frequently used a robot to greet its guests and would even have full-on conversations with them about anything the prospective client wanted to talk about. It responded back just like a human. However, it actually had a human moving and responding through the robot, almost like a remote-controlled car. Coming out of a pandemic, robots might be the perfect alternative to entertain audiences at trade shows and even act as sales reps all on their own.

Aside from AI advancements, digital technology is also paving the way for new sales and marketing trends. We are slowly starting to see the emergence of shoppable in-person and virtual experiences. For example, Celine Dion recently created an experience where viewers could purchase the items they saw in the music video by simply clicking on them. In fact, RollingStone Magazine recently published an article about a startup company called DroppTV that wants to turn music videos into basic shopping malls. Artists can showcase whatever merchandise they are trying to promote in their music videos and viewers can buy them right away, while simultaneously viewing the video and never leaving it. Artists receive 100% commission of the sales and DroppTV adds an 8% fee to every purchase for their own profit. Think about the magnitude of influence famous people already have and how profitable this venture could be for them. Not to mention, many artists like Kanye West already have their own clothing line, so now, their music videos can double up as visual representations of their creativity and strategic marketing channels.

Aside from shoppable music videos, there is also an emergence of shoppable hotels, shoppable rental housing, and shoppable cooking shows. Marketers are trying to think of more and more ways to connect with consumers through engaging content and lifestyle ventures. These types of subtle marketing efforts will definitely increase in the new year.

More 2022 Marketing Trends

That’s not all, here are five other marketing trends you, your business, and/or your team should potentially prepare for:

1. Hybrid Events

During the pandemic, sales and marketing professionals were forced to adapt when in-person events became impossible. They had to figure out a way to transform concerts, business events, and work into completely virtual experiences. Even though transforming these normally in-person events was difficult, it showed people that it was possible. Coming out of lockdown, more and more people from all age groups have adapted to digital ways of consuming things. In-person events will certainly be integrated with digital aspects to appeal to this returning tech-savvy crowd moving forward.

2. Strategic Content Alignment

Companies who are trying to emerge as leaders in 2022 and beyond will need to align their PR, thought leadership, and even search engine (SEO) efforts. Overlapping visibility, creditability, and authority will give you the upper hand. Your company’s website should be a beacon of industry knowledge. This will give you a solid amount of authority on a variety of topics. Then, credibility can be achieved through positive PR such as other people quoting or referencing your content. Ultimately, people will start linking things back to your content which will give you a level of industry expertise. This is all part of the search engine game that we play on a daily basis.

3. The Transition to Mobile-First Marketing

In 2021, studies found that there were 6.4 billion smartphone users worldwide and consumer usage on mobile phones increased by 24.5%. As more and more people continue to consume data from their smartphones instead of their computers, companies need to start prioritizing their mobile presence. It’s not going to do your company much good to have a beautiful website that looks great on a computer if it looks like a disaster on mobile devices. In order to keep up with modern times, your website and all your online resources need to be consumable on a smart device since that is probably how your consumers will first be introduced to your brand. If you haven’t done so already, consider doing what we do here at Vonazon. When revamping a client’s website, we always conduct a full site audit on mobile and desktop to ensure that the links and call-to-actions are all functioning properly. We also make sure that the layout and design for each page are compatible with a mobile screen.

4. Nonprofits Partnerships

More and more companies are engaging with corporate social responsibility. CSR is a term that refers to the practices and policies undertaken by a corporation to make a positive influence on the world.

Here at Vonazon, we have a group of employees who run our company-wide wellness program called the Culture Gurus. They aim to create a balanced work environment and come up with various nonprofits that our company can donate to. Just recently we partnered with MICOP, an organization that connects indigenous migrant communities in the State of California with the resources they need to overcome the barriers they face. Our team was able to collect more than 100 back-to-school items for indigenous migrant children here in Ventura County – and it’s only the beginning! We look forward to partnering with more non-profits in the future. We’re not the only ones, however. The global pandemic made a lot of companies realize that in times of fear and uncertainty, we all need to make an effort to help.

5. Alternatives to Third-Party Cookies

Google recently announced that they will postpone their plan to remove third-party cookies in Chrome until 2023, a year later than what they had initially planned. If you aren’t aware, cookies are used to track the sales and marketing activities of prospective customers.  Studies show that Chrome is the most-used web browser with around 2.65 billion global users each year, meaning this decision will have a significant impact on the ad industry. Even though this won’t take place until 2023, web browsers such as Safari and Firefox have already implemented third-party cookie blocking efforts. In fact, some companies are so worried about this shift that it is being called the “cookie-poc-alypse.”

You can prepare for this shift by starting to gather more first-party data such as the data you have in your CRM, subscription data, data from completed surveys, and consumer feedback. Figuring out how to achieve personalized consumer targeting without invading a user’s privacy is going to give your team an edge over the competition.

As I’m sure many people in sales and marketing will tell you, trends are constantly changing. It is our duty as smart business professionals to analyze these trends, and better yet, try and predict them. Each year brings forth new innovations and changes––some will benefit your business, and others might derail your entire sales and marketing strategy. During the global pandemic, much of our life came to a standstill. Don’t be fooled, however, there was a lot happening behind closed doors. Companies had plenty of time to think and come up with new ideas. Therefore, we will likely head into a new era of refreshing inventions and technological advancements. As I like to say, it’s the roaring 20s all over again! As long as you are open to change rather than oblivious to it, you too can accomplish great things in the upcoming decade.