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OBI Millennials and Gen Zers Share Top Marketing Trends

We’re already well into the new year and are starting to see some of the trends marketers were discussing back in 2021 playing out. Some of the top ones Search Engine Journal tells us to track include directional data, content proliferation and instantaneous demand.

Beyond those important considerations, we asked our team of millennial and Gen Z marketers at OBI to share their top marketing and content trends worth tracking in 2022. Here’s what they’ll be paying attention to this year.

  1. Capture attention with a 3D immersive ad experience.
    In a world where consumers are increasingly distracted by an ever-expanding volume of images and information, immersive ads can help brands break through the clutter. In the summer of 2020, we saw 3D LED displays bring billboards alive in Asia. This trend hit the U.S. in 2021, with high street brand Zara being the first to transform its Soho, New York storefront into a 3D showcase capturing the attention of everyone both offline and on. High fashion brand Balenciaga also capitalized on the trend to launch its 3D billboard ad at Times Square in New York City.
  2. Get up to speed on the metaverse.
    Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook’s new name, Meta, in late October, expanding its business into augmented and virtual reality. While the metaverse is new for Facebook, the idea of it is hardly new. Back in 2006, Second Life launched as “a real-time, immersive social space for people to interact with one another.”Unlike Second Life, however, the metaverse is not marketed as a game. The public is also much more familiar with XR (extended reality), as well as the technologies involved. Back in 2007, media organizations such as CNN had a virtual bureau in Second Life. Users could also do business with brands including Dell, IBM and Adidas in the virtual community. Fast forward to 2021, as the public is becoming familiar with cryptocurrency, NFTs and extended reality, we’re seeing an extension of the trends established in Second Life in the metaverse. Its relevance to real life grows daily.For example, Stanford University is the first to launch a program in the metaverse. Entitled Virtual People, students can join the class anywhere through a VR device.“Our class is the metaverse,” says Professor Jeremy Bailenson, initiator and director of the Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab (VHIL). “It is the perfect example of how to build the infrastructure – hardware, software, content and people – and to build a persistent virtual world of avatars and scenes that people actually use.”We can foresee brands taking advantage of the metaverse soon for enhanced personalized experiences. For example, rather than driving customers to use online banking through their app or website, financial institutions can interact with their clients virtually in the metaverse. Want to discuss your personal finances but don’t want to stop by a branch and meet a banker? Let’s teleport this meeting to the metaverse!To make it less intimidating (and by removing the barrier to enter the metaverse), Meta has recently opened simplified AR creation tools to more users as well. Learn more about the metaverse in OBI’s recent blog post on marketing in the metaverse.
  3. Understand NFTs.
    NFT stands for non-fungible token. Technically, it’s a “unique and non-interchangeable unit of data stored on a blockchain.” Artists, musicians, and brands are “minting” their art for sale as NFTs. Budweiser’s first set of NFTs was a Heritage Collection featuring 2,000 digital beer cans and sold out within an hour. While it makes sense for artists to monetize their digital work using NFTs, why are brands doing the same? As early adopters, brands such as Budweiser are gaining a first-mover advantage and becoming digital leaders within the industry.
  4. Prioritize your brand proposition.
    When we talk about brand proposition, we’re meaning the soul of a brand – what makes it unique? What distinguishes it from the competition and more importantly, what attractive quality draws people to make the brand part of their identity. A brand proposition is distinct from a logo or a tagline. It’s why your customers should trust you.If you don’t already have a clear brand proposition, stop what you’re doing and clarify it. Then, make it the foundation of your integrated marketing strategy. A clear and meaningful brand proposition must be central to your messaging and forms the rationale for your tactics. Without one, no brand can form an enduring connection with consumers.
  5. Deliver personalized messages to your customers.
    Sixty-three percent of consumers find generic advertising messages from brands annoying. Epislon survey polled 1,000 consumers and found that 80% of respondents are more likely to do business with brands that offer personalized experiences. Are you leveraging data to deliver personalized messages to your customers? Some brands are also using interactive content, including quizzes (check subscription service providers such as Winc for an example!) to gain insights into their clients and deliver individualized offers.
  6. Empower your staff members to recruit the best of the best.
    2021 was the year of the Great Resignation. Worker shortages not only affected the service industry, but all industries across the U.S. Retention and recruitment became a top priority for many brands. Apart from listing openings on job boards and hiring a recruitment agency, many brands also looked internally for ideal internal candidates for various openings. Can your rock-star employees be incentivized and empowered to be brand ambassadors, and help recruit more top talent? This trend creates a rise in employee advocacy programs, especially in heavily regulated industries such as healthcare.
  7. Grow your market through cross-disciplinary collaboration.
    Intra-industry cross-collaboration is nothing new. Strong brands have teamed up for each other’s mutual benefit for decades. However, we are seeing some cool applications emerge from new collaborations. The North Face teaming up with Gucci and separately, KAWS, comes to mind as a notable example of this “trend.” In both instances, the brand is teaming up with unlikely allies to expand its reach and introduce its products to audiences who otherwise might not have ever considered them. The collaborations illustrate The North Face’s understanding of the marketing law of attraction, and its ability to pull the right levers to make new, ideal audiences want its brand.
  8. Know the difference between influencer marketing and creator marketing.
    Social media platforms including TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram/Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Clubhouse continue to incentivize creators through features like Marketplace, Brand Collabs Manager, Tips and Creative Awards. We are seeing an increasing priority placed to push content from creators, rather than influencers, on these platforms. While nano-, micro- and macro-influencers can display your products and increase your brand visibility, creators can co-create with you and deliver an experience that speaks to specific buyer personas. For services and products with a longer consumer journey or a longer communication before conversion happens, partnering with creators may be an effective way to produce campaigns of high marketing value.

Where will you start?

What trends will you act on in 2022? If you’re not sure where to start, let the pros at OBI help you take the first step. Connect with us today to start a discussion about your marketing needs.