2022’s most important data-driven marketing trends

What emerging trends and continuing data stories were people following this year, and which trends will continue to drive marketing, sales, and service in 2022?

What will be 2022’s most important data-driven marketing trends? As marketers and business leaders try to grow new business and retain existing customers, it’s clear that many of 2021’s themes will continue to be important in digital transformation, customer experience, and data-driven marketing. What emerging trends and continuing data stories were people following this year, and which trends will continue to drive marketing, sales, and service in 2022?

Top Trend #1: Marketing in a Cookieless World

Marketers and C-suiters are clearly very interested in finding new ways to market in a cookieless world, a world where Apple’s ID for Advertisers (IDFA) is markedly less important than in the past.

According to a Forrester report, APAC marketers are still lagging behind their peers when it comes to their preparedness for a cookieless future. Almost half of APAC marketers still rely very heavily on third-party data, and thus feel unprepared for the phase-out of third party data.

Although Google delayed the phase-out of cookies until 2023, leaders looking to stay ahead are using the extra time to test new strategies, technology, and processes before the cookieless future arrives. Marketers in this region need not panic, but should clearly plan to continue changing their tactics as privacy regulations and consumer attitudes evolve.

Top Trend #2: The Importance of First-Party Data in Marketing, Sales, and Customer Experience

A “sister” to our top trend, the ascendance of first-party data—and technology to put it to work—was a constant theme in 2021, as well as dealing with privacy issues and consumer privacy regulations. Future-focused marketers and business leaders are getting savvy about how to collect and use more first-party data. As the importance of the customer experience continues to grow, so does the need to understand the differences between first-party, second-party, and third-party data, and how best to use each kind to get a single customer view.

Top Trend #3: Millennials Are Changing the Way Everyone Buys Things

Millennials are in their late twenties to their forties and are now the largest target market for most industries. This is especially true in Asia where 58% of global millennials reside. As their purchasing power and influence grows, they’re rewriting the rules for buyer behavior, and marketers and businesses need to pivot to remain competitive. Their loyalty is in many cases more fleeting, as they experiment with different products and services, and expect retailers and brands to understand and respect their thoughts and preferences with personalized appeals. To keep up, marketers are turning to customer data platforms for better personalized CX and fast, accurate analytics to detect trends and respond more quickly.

Top Trend #4: Which Martech Is Best for the Quickly Changing Environment of 2021-2022?

Clearly, businesses are trying to use martech and customer data platforms to cope with rapidly changing retail and ecommerce environments. According to a McKinsey survey, 60% of customer journeys are now digital, which tripled after COVID-19 pandemic: we’re now in the “Age of the Digital Customer.” This acceleration of digital transformation is a driving factor in most of the world’s biggest companies, and there’s intense interest in the differences among the various martech categories, particularly among Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) vs. Data Management Platforms (DMPs) vs. Customer Relationship Management (CRM). It’s worth noting that as companies continue to deal with shifting customer habits and preferences, this trend shows no signs of slowing. In fact, many observers say digital transformation will accelerate in 2022, keeping martech innovation a hot topic in 2022.

Top Trend #5: Intense Interest in the Business of Data and Data-driven Innovation

Finally, marketers and business leaders care about the business of data and which companies can be relied on to drive innovation in this space. They’re interested in different types of data platform technologies, and often turn to Gartner and other experts for answers. They want to know who the CDP innovators are and where investment in data platforms is going. And 2021 was a year of intense investment in CDPs, with the announcement of the largest single round of investment in a CDP company ever, at $234 million. This level of investment—of both innovator talent and money—probably portends a continuing trend in martech that many companies are finding critical to their digital transformation and ability to grow their businesses, in 2021, 2022, and for many years to come.