Flux and Flow - Thoughts on 2022 for Marketers
As a marketer, I have been thinking a LOT about what 2022 will hold as I put pen to paper on next year’s marketing plan.
Most every marketer I know is in the same mode.
And as I look forward, I always try to take some time to look back.
To reflect on…
How far have we come?
How far do we have to go?
How have we adapted?
How will we need to adapt further?
The last 20 months (or what I call the never-ending 2020/1 year) have driven break-neck digital transformation, massive changes to digital experience, supply chain issues, and the great resignation. All having significant impacts on B2C and B2B businesses alike.
As I look back, I realize two themes rear their heads daily that I believe will have a big influence on how 2022 marketing strategies take shape.
- The Buddhist teachings on impermanence, and
- The need for connection.
What do these have to do with marketing?
Let’s start with impermanence. During the past 20 months, I feel like we have been smacked in the face with the fact that everything –and I mean EVERY thing—is in a constant state of flux.
It is the resistance to this reality that causes self-inflicted stress on people and organizations.
So, what is the alternative?
Embrace the flux. Lean into the changes with the mindset that whatever you just figured out how to embrace or adapt to is going to adapt again or disappear altogether.
An article I read recently put things in perspective in a not-so-subtle way. Essentially, it claimed that this pace of change we are experiencing right now—in this moment—is the SLOWEST it is ever going to be.
With that in mind, one of the most important things we can do is help our teams and organizations be “change-ready”. Lean into being flexible, agile, and resilient in order to flow with whatever comes next.
In the words of Bruce Lee:
“Be water, my friend.”
How are you going to embrace the flux next year?
Now to the theme of connection… I have to admit, this is a hard one for me and is one where I am struggling a bit at the moment. Most people I know are also struggling with this one in some way, shape, or form.
I miss people. I miss “togethering”. I miss bumping into people I haven’t seen in a while—because you don’t just “bump into people” in video calls.
I miss meeting customers. I miss meeting partners.
I even miss networking (and being an ambivert, I have never loved networking).
This great isolation experiment has left us all a bit depleted. Our tanks are running low and we need CONNECTION to help put the fuel back in the tank. I feel this way, and my team feels this way. What must my customers feel? My prospective customers?
As I look ahead to 2022—I am constantly thinking, “how can we find new ways to create authentic connections with each other? With our teams and across our organizations? With our customers and partners? And how can we create connected digital experiences?”
Whether its digital, virtual or physical, we have to try harder to make those connections meaningful.
The amazing Maya Angelou is quoted having said:
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
This will be a critical component of our strategy: Creating meaningful connections and connected customer journeys.
So, as I look ahead to 2022... it's going to be all about finding the flow amidst the flux and creating deeper connections. And as I write this, it occurs to me that this is probably not just the right strategy for marketing, but also life.
What themes do you see taking shape for 2022?