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Most of us agree that change is the only constant for marketers, and adapting is part of the job.

In 2020, the start of the pandemic transformed the way we work and handle business, from rapidly shrinking budgets to events' going virtual to the newly hybrid workforce.

Expect the difficulties to persist and perhaps even morph into new hurdles in 2022.

CMOs will continue to face higher rates for digital media buying, challenges in recruiting the right talent, and difficulties engaging increasingly digitally savvy buyers. Higher customer expectations will become the new baseline.

As the goal posts continue to move in the digital marketing environment, marketing leaders will need to enhance their skill sets to improve their team's effectiveness without creating burnout. Raising marketing budgets to pre-COVID levels—if not higher—will be crucial. Highly personalized, multichannel tactics will be the norm. Events will become hybrid, which can mean twice the cost (and work). Employer branding efforts will level-up.

Considering all that, CMOs need to stand firm on internal budget negotiations and come prepared with an unbeatable business case. Moreover, a close and ongoing relationship with the CFO will be necessary for marketing leaders to be the most effective.

All that touches on only a few of the changes in store for marketers in the year ahead.

Marketing connects to various departments within an organization, so I reached out to several other leaders to gather their thoughts on 2022 marketing predictions.

Shift to topics, not keywords

With Google's continuous focus and improvements in NLP [natural language processing], optimization for exact keywords will be less of a priority. Sites may notice decreases in rankings for keywords with higher search volumes, but actually notice more overall traffic from related long-tail keywords. So, content should be focused on a particular topic, and the goal should be the satisfaction of the searcher's intent for the different queries for the topic. These improvements in NLP will also influence the way people phrase their search queries, which may also lead to decrease in volumes for previously high-searched terms.

-Ola King, user researcher at Moz

Data from Sales and Marketing can no longer be siloed

Traditionally, marketing and sales departments have been siloed and haven't shared metrics, creating a divide in understanding attribution, sourcing, handoff, and lead scoring. While this structure worked in a nondigital world, the modern customer path isn't linear, and metrics have to converge to get the results and customer experience you want.

-Nirosha Methananda, VP of marketing for Influ2

Call-tracking needs to focus on analysis of outcomes

Advertising is more expensive now than ever before as traditional channels, such as in-person conferences, are no longer an option. Therefore, digital ad spend is increasing. More digital advertising means a greater need for brands to track how ads are performing. In 2022, I expect we will see an increase in the demand for performance metrics as brands will be more concerned with how their ads are performing and as budgets remain of utmost importance.

-Laure Fisher, COO and a co-founder of CallTrackingMetrics

Communication between marketing and IT has never been more important

Data security has become more critical than ever in 2021 due to recent regulations such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which state that companies that inadvertently share consumer data will be punished. Brands have become cautious about data for this reason. As a result, ad tech and martech have become controlled and in-house to allow for a more secure environment. This year [2021], we've seen more IT professionals join marketing calls to ensure teams purchase tools that protect consumer data. Marketers are not experts in data privacy, so I believe we will see more IT professionals involved in the purchasing decisions for ad tech and martech tools moving forward.

-Diaz Nesamoney, founder and CEO of Jivox

Use event data as a marketing strategy

Brands use event data to inform their marketing strategy and budget. Due to the significant uptick in virtual events, we've realized the vast amount of data available. This sea of new data—and the ability of savvy marketers to find the most valuable pieces—will dictate the big debate about the return to in-person events. It's time to take a step back and understand which data matters and how to use that data to impact overall marketing strategy. Those data points will ultimately help companies decide whether to resume in-person events or stick with virtual or hybrid.

-Alon Alroy, a co-founder and the CMO of Bizzabo

More Resources on Digital Marketing Predictions

The Great Compression and the Future of Marketing Post-Pandemic: Mitch Joel on Marketing Smarts [Podcast]

The Future of Marketing Organizations Post-Pandemic: Top 5 Predictions

Eight SEO Strategies to Consider for 2022 [Infographic]

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2022 Marketing Predictions for an Increasingly Digital World

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image of Isabelle Papoulias

Isabelle Papoulias is the CMO of Mediafly, a sales enablement solution provider. Having started as a sales director, Isabelle quickly transitioned to marketing to build Mediafly's marketing engine from the ground up.

LinkedIn: Isabelle Papoulias