4 CMOs on the Digital Marketing Trends Shaping 2022

Article - Marketing
Jack Bray - Content Marketing Manager at GDS Group By Jack Bray|17th May 2022

“When the context is changing so dramatically, you cannot use the old ways of marketing and expect continued results.” – Raja Rajamannar, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, Healthcare, Mastercard

Traditional marketing is dead – or at least, this is what the prevailing narrative has told us for some years. For many in marketing, it’s an event that has often seemed totally credible. Dwindling returns, rising expenses, ailing audience – these factors have made marketing in the traditional sense appear finite for decades. On closer inspection though, it’s a statement that doesn’t quite line up with reality. Ultimately, traditional marketing plays too significant a role in our efforts to be deemed redundant, but is a shift occurring?

For the majority of the 20’s we’ve been divorced from normality. Hybrid work and lockdowns forced us to live our lives remotely and for many, this hasn’t subsided. Accordingly, we’ve had not only to invest heavily in how we market digitally but also innovate upon it. Traditional marketing lives but digital marketing trends are evolving and at GDS’ recent Digital Marketing summit, we got to see how. Thanks to our esteemed speakers we gained insight into future brand building, common challenges and more. What became clear out of this? That the digital marketing journey is never complete.

The State of Digital Marketing

The past year has been full of unexpected challenges. The pace of transformation is now near instantaneous and customers expect us to adapt to their digital needs as quickly. This means that meeting the digital consumer where they are is imperative to success. In her keynote presentation Emily Fultz – Product Marketing Manager for Salesforce – sought to address this concept.

Understanding customers is core to Salesforce and it’s for this reason that they create the annual ‘State of Marketing’ report. It was from their 2021 Report that Emily was able to reveal some of the key emerging trends. Obviously, the world has seen substantial change over the last year and a half, but in many cases we’ve not given ourselves time to acknowledge it. This is problematic as we need to grapple with the problems that we’ve faced and provide timely solutions. As Emily established, “78% of customers told us that they expect companies to use the crises in 2020 as a catalyst for improvement.” In short, change cannot be iterative as customers won’t settle for less, they’ll settle for a competitor.

Customers expect progress at pace and as Emily suggests, “central to changing customer expectation is this swift and substantial migration to digital channels that’s going to persist for the long-term”. This pressure has forced the modern marketer to rapidly shift gears, such that, “84% of marketers told us that their digital engagement strategy has changed since the start of the pandemic.” We can’t wait for our customers to find us anymore, we need to go to them, utilizing every digital touchpoint available to do so. This is a digital marketing trend we should only expect to grow in the coming years.

Naturally, there have been growing pains throughout this process. According to Salesforce’s research, “75% of marketers tell us that the pandemic has permanently shifted how they collaborate and communicate at work.” In line with this, “69% of marketers say that it’s harder to collaborate now than it was before the pandemic.” This is not an excuse not to engage though, what we must be cognizant of is that growing pains are expected in any new digital endeavor. Ultimately, what separates the leaders from the laggards then, will be those that choose to address any and all of these uncomfortable digital marketing barriers in 2022.

With effective digital marketing “marketers are now able to execute on the expectations that customers have of them to create cross-channel experiences in a dynamic way that engage them at the right time.” This is future of marketing and though “the definition of marketing success was evolving prior to the events of 2020, the radical shifts in customer expectations and business objectives put this into overdrive”. To conclude, now is the time to define the state of digital marketing in your organization.

Digital Marketing & Web 3.0

No matter the industry, we’re at a technological crossroads. Thanks to innovation across AI-based semantics, AR/VR-based experiences, and the blockchain, it’s a only a matter of time before we can fully embrace Web 3.0, but what does this mean for marketing? For Mark Adams – SVP and Head of Innovation for Vice Media – it’s a critical consideration. In particular, there was one question he sought to answer above all else. How do brands inspire loyalty and grow market share in this new hyper-digital environment?

Now more than ever, we need to change our outlook and this extends to how we see ourselves as marketers. According to Mark, “a good marketeer is a truffle pig, obsessed with insights.” This is the new North Star that we need to align ourselves to. How do we define insights of this kind though? According to mark, “there’s only one good test for insights and it’s hair on the arms.” With this in mind, what process can we put in place to ensure that these are kind of insights we generate alongside Web 3.0? Mark provided nine critical steps for organizations to follow.

  1. Data: Start with a problem that is diagnosed properly with quantitative and qualitative data.
  2. Objectives: Give brutally clear strategic objectives that say no to 99.9% of the things that you could do.
  3. Differentiation: Have a differentiated brand position throughout everything.
  4. Campaign Standards: Have an idea at the core of the campaign that has astonishing creativity, clout and courage.
  5. Brand Building Budget: Spend 60% of your budget on long term mass-market brand building.
  6. Performance Ad Budget: Spend 40% of your budget on shorter, targeted performance ads.
  7. Branding: Make sure that everything is heavily and consistently branded in every part of the execution.
  8. Competitors: Invest more in media than all of your competitors.
  9. Channel Strategy: Make sure that whatever you’re going to do is executed across multiple integrated channels.

Our marketing success will soon be determined by how meaningfully we engage alongside Web 3.0. As Mark suggests, “Web 3.0 essentially enables niche at scale”, for marketing this is invaluable. To this end, “it’s our job to be conscious of all of the potentially total addressable markets that we can steal market share from.” Once we do this though, how do we then drive value for consumers.

Digital Marketing & Data

In 2022, informed buyers want to buy from informed brands. This demands that we evolve beyond the age of personalization into an age of personal commerce. Additionally, consumers expect brands to understand their purchasing habits, past and present, to help them to make purchasing decisions in the future. Out of this, they want experiences that work for them time after time. It seems then that the challenges are stacking up.

For many marketers, it may feel like the walls are closing in but we can’t afford to ignore the problems that face us. According to Raja Rajamannar – Chief Marketing & Communications Officer for Mastercard – “when the context is changing so dramatically, you cannot use the old ways of marketing and expect continued results”. Instead, we “have to reinvent and reimagine marketing” for the fifth paradigm of our technological age, a model that Raja calls quantum marketing.

How do we situate ourselves for reimagination on this scale though? For Raja, data – and how it’s employed – will be pivotal. But as he explained, data can be intoxicating, “extraordinary quantities of data are being spewed all day long. As a marketer, this is like being Alice in Wonderland”. When we consider that in 2022, “every connected device is a marketing device,” it becomes clear that opportunities for marketers have never been more plentiful. We must be aware of the risks though.

Brands need to move towards meeting consumers where they are, but we must understand the privilege and responsibility in wielding their data to do so. As Raja put it, “if you are collecting my data, you better be responsible and accountable for protecting my data from a security and safety point of view. As well as this, as Raja suggested above, we can’t use this to bolster the old ways of marketing, we need transformation. To this end, we need to use data not just to get in front of customers, but to actually provide meaningful and reliable experiences.

Many marketers have settled into bad habits, “today we somehow seem to think and feel that consumer attention is the currency. That is going to change”. Once our data is in place, we can look at how we engage this change but as Rajamannar established, it’ll be about finetuning, “my product will be exactly the same, but how I position it, how I communicate it, how I price it, how I reward for somebody using it, that will change”. In 2022 change is critical and data is the key. We can’t afford not to engage as “holding onto the traditional model and expecting to succeed with it is not going to happen. Mass advertising is dead”.

Digital Marketing Lessons

The task of creating a new category puts a whole new level of pressure on the marketing function to deliver results whilst providing definition and getting customers to care. In his keynote discussion Brent Hieggelke – Chief Marketing Officer for CrowdStreet – distilled the learnings from his experiences on the front lines into some key tips to help brands to better distinguish their value.

As we’re aware, brand category is vital for consumers who are only just coming to your business. It’s a quality or message that helps your organization to quickly distinguish itself from competitors whilst enabling your audience to understand just what it is that you provide. For many businesses, like Coca Cola this will be readily apparent, but for those undertaking a digital or data transformation project – as highlighted above – is it time to shore up or readdress our category?

For those of us looking to do so, here are 7 seven salient points from Brent Hieggelke on how to realize success.

  1. Build 1 Brand – Be singular as you don’t have the budget or time to establish several brands.
  2. Position Purposefully – Pivot off of something already understood by your target audience.
  3. Get Noticed – Do something Remarkable.
  4. Drive Action – Send the right people something they cannot ignore.
  5. Take the Lead Position – Act as if you are THE category owner.
  6. Go Big with Very Little – Take a shot at the absolute best target.
  7. Build a Base then Build your Business – Invest everything you can in your first few customers so that they are powerful advocates and influencers for the next 100.

Gaining the interest of a prospective audience is never a sure thing but with Brent’s tips, any organization can position their brand such that it can be immediately understood by anyone. Essentially, keep things simple, be bold, and your customers will come.

4 CMOs on the Digital Marketing Trends Defining 2022

From the words of our esteemed speakers and the insights that they’ve shared, it’s clear that the digital marketing journey has no predetermined endpoint. For our employees working in this space it means that a new level of communication, creativity and agility are required, it’s our job as leaders to help them to achieve this; groundwork that’s already in motion amongst some of the world’s experts. For us to be successful digital marketers in 2022, we need not only understand what the future of marketing holds for us but also understand its past and present to correct mistakes and lay the groundwork for the next decade.

GDS Summits are tailored 3-day virtual event conferences that bring together business leaders and solution providers to accelerate sales cycles, industry conversations and outcomes. Regarding the Digital Marketing Summit 78% of Delegates said the Digital Summit provided them with actionable outcomes to support their current initiatives and 80% of Solution Providers said they would be interested in sponsoring future events.

For more, click here to hear from attendees on how GDS has helped them to achieve their business outcomes.

Continue the debate at GDS’ Digital Marketing Summits where we bring together senior marketing executives who are actively seeking to share, learn, engage, and find the best solutions.

Apply to Attend

Back to insights

Related content


Protected: Beyond the Summit CMO Edition

Beyond the Summit - CMO Digital Summit
Find out more

Demystifying the CMO Digital Summit: Unpacking the insights

Discover the promising future of senior marketing executives! Explore our latest blog highlighting data from the GDS CMO Digital Summit, revealing inc
Verena Fiebelmann
Find out more

Elon Musk’s Twitter changes to X: What marketers can learn from the app’s radical rebrand

Twitter has rebranded to X following Elon Musk’s takeover – but not everyone is a fan.
Alex Wood
Find out more

Get proactive with social commerce:Is it transformational or just a craze?

Social commerce is rapidly rising, but what is the business value, how can you capitalize on this opportunity and what are the challenges to consider?
Sapphire Smith
Find out more

The marketplace revolution: Why brands must embrace multiple online platforms

GDS Group spoke with Jorrit Steinz, the CEO and founder of Channel Engine, who gave us his insight into the marketplace revolution.
Find out more

Put your money where your mollusk is: How SpongeBob SquarePants is cleaning up ocean plastic

Learn how Paramount and SpongeBob SquarePants are leading the charge in a successful campaign to tackle ocean plastic and promote sustainability.
Jade Gamlin
Find out more

Merkle builds pipeline using Roundtables and In-person events, resulting in conversion

Find out more

From Pixels to Peak Performance:How Paramount Global Are Using AI/ML to Drive Value from Content

Learnings from David Katz, SVP & GM at CBS Media Ventures Digital, Paramount Global
Julia Belle
Find out more

Top 3 Priorities for CMOs in 2023

Discover the driving forces behind today's CMOs' top priorities and gain valuable insights into the exciting evolution of that role.
Verena Fiebelmann
Find out more

Related events