Happy New Year! If you’re certain it’s a new year, but not totally sure exactly what year it is, you’re in good company. It goes without saying that these last two years have been.. weird. With seemingly everything else on your plates right now, we figured we’d help you cross at least one item off your to-do list as you prepare for the new year: your promotional marketing strategy.
We polled our team of promotional marketing consultants, who have over x years of experience administering award-winning promotional marketing campaigns for some of the world’s most recognizable brands. Together, they’ve identified trends and strategies you must be aware of for your 2022 promotional marketing strategy.
With all of the shifts, new technologies, changing opinions, and various consumer motivations, staying on top of the latest trends in promotional marketing can be overwhelming! Maximize your brand’s return on investment and ensure your promotional campaigns are supported by best practices with our expert advice!
New Technology Making Waves in 2022
According to our team, there are two super exciting emerging technologies that we think will play a particularly important role in promotional marketing this year.
Looking closely at Blockchain and Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs) has some unique potential with promotions as consumers get (even) more involved with their digital personas. Various social media apps have been teeing this up for consumers for quite some time now. Apps like Snapchat and Instagram allow users to customize filters for their images and even create personalized avatars to reflect their real-life self (or who they want to be, or a cat, or an ogre, fairy.. there are lots of options here) in the digital world.
Previously assumed to be a “fad,” reserved exclusively for only the savviest of tech savvy young users, this desire to create a digital representation of yourself has permeated all demographics. Because of this, we may start seeing consumers take a stronger interest in their avatars and unique, digital items that they can show off to friends and connections. Enter Blockchain and NFTs.
Our team is certainly on to something here. NFTs have absolutely exploded in popularity lately. NFT trading volume surged in the third quarter of 2021 to $10.67 billion, up 704% just from the quarter before. That level of growth is insane.
In terms of promotional marketing, we may begin to see brands offer prizes and rewards in the form of NFTs.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Similar to the rapid increase in NFTs, our team predicts that augmented reality will take off in 2022. As augmented has become easier and cheaper to implement, more and more brands will turn to it to offer an exciting and cutting-edge experience for their customers.
Not only that, but more people are carrying around the hardware (mobile devices) that can more seamlessly and easily display different augmented reality content. With this opportunity so widely available to brands, why not leverage it?
As marketers, we’ll want to start creating experiences that immerse our client’s consumers into their brand. While augmented reality has been around for a while now, the next 12-24 months feels like it’s going to start becoming more significant.
As brands start thinking of ways to make their products and services stand out from the competition, the savviest brands will turn to AR to take that smaller step into the trendy concept of the Metaverse.
Which Types of Promotional Campaigns Will Dominate 2022?
Your brand really can’t go wrong when it comes to deciding which type of promotional campaign to run this year. However, staying mindful of the latest trends and consumer motivations driving purchase decisions, our team predicts that loyalty programs will have an even greater impact in 2022.
Over the last few years, our consultative work with brands has revealed that more and more brands are prioritizing developing deeper relationships and personal connections with their consumers. We’re also noticing brands striving to create two-way communication between them and their customers. This “conversation” allows brands to extract valuable information from their loyal advocates to serve them better, and customers enjoy a more personalized experience.
Particularly true for retailers, in 2022, brands will want to better understand what motivates their consumers to buy their products, what may keep them coming back, and what is the main factor for choosing their brand over another. For a deep dive on the psychology behind customer loyalty and motivations, check out our full guide.
Our team believes that brands will also want to make sure they have a way to reward and generally “thank” their consumers for staying loyal to them. Customer retention has always been important, but lately, it’s even more critical.
Since the pandemic has reared its head yet again forcing more of us to stay at home, consumers are yet again inundated with products, ads, and opportunities to purchase from a seemingly endless list of brands vying for their attention. Once your brand captures a customer, it’s in your best interest to keep them or risk losing them to a competitor.
Loyalty campaigns can take time to launch, build, and gain adoption from consumers but they can result in an increase in customer lifetime value, generate excitement, and give customers a reason to continue to spend their money with your brand. Explore some of our award-winning loyalty programs to learn more.
Best Practices for Holiday Promotional Marketing Strategy in 2022
There’s no denying that holidays are a fantastic time to run a promotional marketing campaign. Capitalize on the season and all of the hype surrounding it and give your brand a marketing boost at the same time? It’s a no-brainer.
If your brand is considering a holiday-themed promotional campaign in 2022 (and you should be), our team of consultative experts has you covered! Depending on your brand’s budget and goals, we suggest two general strategies for planning your holiday promotional marketing strategy in 2022.
For brands with slightly larger budgets, and for which a longer campaign is advantageous, we recommend beginning your brand’s strategy towards mid-late summer for a winter holiday season launch. This allows those brands to fully flush out an effective campaign and get budgets approved by all necessary stakeholders. Giving any promotional campaign this much room to grow before it even launches allows brands to supplement their campaigns with other elements Optical Character Recognition, geofencing, microsite development and more.
That said, our team notes that oftentimes, towards the end of the year clients want to stay top of mind and keep the momentum going into the next year with smaller budget programs, sometimes it may be a surplus marketing budget that didn’t get spent throughout the rest of the year.
Whatever the reason, when brands come to us and this is the case, getting a promotional concept mapped out in November for a quick and relatively simple promotional campaign, for example, a 12 Days of Giveaway (always a hit!), is doable. Our expert tip: Consider digital prizes or items you already have on-hand to avoid any supply issues towards the end of the year!
In general, we recommend a 5-6 month time frame for strategizing longer, more complex campaigns. On the other hand, it is certainly possible to whip up a fun and effective holiday campaign with only about a month’s notice. Regardless of your brand’s marketing budget or goals, we have the expertise and experience to guide you through a successful holiday campaign.
When Brands Should Run Promotional Marketing Campaigns in 2022
For the most part, a majority of marketing promotions run from spring to fall. This aligns with the major buying seasons that drive retail. It’s pretty cyclical each year. Brands compete tirelessly for their customer’s attention around the summer, back to school, and holiday shopping seasons.
From a participation perspective, we generally see higher participation in these months, usually because – in the US – this is the time period people are outside, getting out and about, and spending more time at gatherings (we’ll go ahead and call 2020 the exception).
If you’re thinking “Gee, thanks MRi, you’ve narrowed it down to more than 75% of the year. What am I supposed to do with that?” bare with us. Yes, promotions do oftentimes run throughout the entire year.
Rather than identifying a particular time of year that should trigger the launch of a promotion, our team suggests determining to run a promotion based on your brand’s purpose and goals. If consumer behavior does not appear to be getting your brand where it hopes to be, then it’s time to consider launching a promotional campaign.
Oftentimes, we have clients or brands see slower periods of activity come to us and we help them identify their brand’s purpose. Maybe sales are down, or their site activity slows down and doesn’t garner as many visitors or leads, or participation in certain events takes a dive. We then use promotional campaigns as a way to increase activity, whatever that may be, for the brand during slower time periods. Sure, we always want to run promotions when we feel people will participate more, but sometimes we have to get creative and create a program that drives people to do this.
A great example of this is the Raising Cane’s One Love on-cup game. This ran for 7 years in January through early March as sales were typically slower during this time and they wanted to get people making more restaurant visits, and buying more frequently (which it did. Not to toot our own horn or anything but– it really did. You can check out the full results here).
What Is the Most Exciting Thing Coming to Promotional Marketing in 2022?
While 2022 is sure to bring a number of exciting new promotional campaigns, our team is eagerly anticipating the absolute explosion (in both popularity and significance) in one element in particular.
Can you guess what it is?
Crypto? Automation has been taking the world by storm the last few years, maybe it’s that? We’ve all been hearing about voice search, too. Could it be that? Nope– it’s online gaming!
Online gaming platforms, at this time, most specifically, Roblox, offer a gaming experience that’s branded and a delight to users. Some of these partnerships not only feature attractive in-game branding and messaging, but also give gamers in-game bonuses like extra lives or equipment. This creates an even deeper and more positive connection with the partnered brand.
The opportunities for brands to partner with online games will be such a hot topic in 2022 largely due to its seemingly endless opportunities. Think of it as the latest iteration “product placement.” These online games are microcosms, with robust economies and bursting with opportunities to advertise your brand.
An example of this is that Chipotle ran a campaign giving free items to their restaurants within their Roblox game, and it was a great way to tie both the physical and digital worlds together.
Similarly, Nike recently built their own world in Roblox, featuring their lavish headquarters.
At MRi, as industry leaders, we’re making sure we are up to speed on the details and intricacies of managing promotions within these types of online gaming platforms, and all other emerging technologies.
Your 2022 Marketing Strategy Partner
The new year is always an exciting time, albeit a stressful one. Between determining a strategy to tackle your marketing goals, approving a budget to support that strategy, and then executing on it all, things can seem pretty daunting. Hopefully, our promotional marketing trends and predictions for 2022 assist as you determine your brand’s strategy.
For even more expert advice, schedule a free consultation of your brand’s promotional marketing strategies today.