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The Marketer of 2022

What skills will marketers need to hone to thrive in 2022? Learn how industry professionals from organizations like Logitech, Wunderman Thompson, and LiveArea (a Merkle company) are adapting.

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REPORTThe Marketer of 2022
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Marketing is constantly evolving, and, with so much change in the past year alone, we wanted to discover the winning tools and strategies that will help organizations fire up their marketing initiatives in 2022. 

If 2021 was about recovering from the unprecedented shock of the pandemic and adjusting the course of action, 2022 is all about thriving in a ‘post-pandemic’ world and using technology and big data to do so.

In this guide, we’ll show how marketers can adjust their mindsets and invest in the right skills and tech to prepare them to do their best work in 2022.

We’ll draw on input from 63 respondents from Brandwatch’s network who were kind enough to share their thoughts on 2022.

Let’s start by looking at where we currently are.

Obstacles

How well do you know your customer?

We’ll start by looking at the challenges that must be faced in getting to know customers and target consumers in 2021.

With the rise of social media, targeted marketing has evolved and the importance of knowing your customers can never be overstated. We asked our survey respondents about their thoughts on how well their organizations know their customers on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being ‘not at all well’ and 5 being ‘extremely well’. 

As you can see from the chart, while 44.4% of the survey respondents think their organization knows its customer well, only 20.6% think that their organization has a great understanding of customers. 

When thinking about what great customer data is, Nick LaBran, Social Media Analyst at Cashmere Agency, wrote: “Understanding not just what customers are saying, but who are they? What other topics are of interest to them? How do they want to interact with brands? What drives them to buy?”

Clearly, there is work to be done to ensure organizations are understanding their customers in all these senses and more.

Team challenges

Next, we asked our respondents about the challenges their teams are currently facing. 

The ROI problem

‘Difficulty measuring and reporting on ROI’ turned out to be a major issue, with 57.14% of our surveyed respondents selecting this option. This goes hand in hand with other industry studies. 

A recent Allocadia’s survey studying how North American marketing leaders discuss a relationship between ROI and growth, reported that 61% of the surveyed experts don’t use ROI when making strategy decisions because they often “lack reliable data and insights needed to measure ROI”.

Another study revealed that an estimate of 40% of all media spend is ‘wasted’, and the reason for the waste suggested by the study was – surprise, surprise – that marketing professionals “couldn’t get accurate insights from data to measure the impact” of their initiatives.

The mysterious customer journey

Darren Wayne, Food Scientist aka The Food Guru at MealBetix, says: “Every good Marketer relies on social trends and analytics, but if there was data that showed us exactly where our target customers are online, for example, which groups, which sites, etc.. we would spend much less time searching and more time selling.”

That brings us to the second-biggest challenge reported by 39.68% of our surveyed respondents: ‘lack of insight into the customer journey/experience’. 

As a result of the pandemic, consumers are becoming increasingly digital in the way they do many things, from entertainment, to banking, to medical care, to shopping. Consumers also have access to more information than ever before and do their research before committing. This poses an opportunity as well as a challenge for brands trying to navigate new and fragmented customer journey insights in order to reach the right consumer at the right time. For many marketers, this is an ongoing top-of-mind struggle.

Meanwhile, ‘lack of bandwidth’ was one of the least popular options we offered as a challenge, with only 28.57% of respondents choosing it. 

This stat is promising, given that lack of bandwidth has always been a challenge for marketing and advertising professionals. The situation worsened during the pandemic because of massive industry-wide layoffs. Perhaps this data reflects that people are adapting as time goes on, or just that other concerns are more pressing.  

Outside the options provided, our respondents also reported their concerns about:

  • Finding a means of weighting the data they get from different sources
  • Attributing success stories effectively across different marketing channels
  • Getting past operational roadblocks and inefficiencies
  • Business strategy changes post-COVID 

Analyzing and managing brand reputation online

We asked the surveyed experts to evaluate on a scale of 1-5 how well they think their organization manages its reputation online with 1 being ‘not at all well’ and 5 being ‘extremely well’. 

While 38.10% of respondents selected 4 or ‘well’ in response to the question, only 20.63% thought their organization is doing an excellent job in managing its reputation online.

Digital consumer intelligence

Many of the challenges described above relate to digital consumer intelligence (DCI). 

When asked about what digital consumer intelligence means to them in 2022, our survey respondents revealed several common themes. 

Ana Allen Lima, Strategic Marketing Director, CUF, says: “It means gathering and analyzing data, providing important business insights, collected from all consumer digital journey data points.”

For Alex Gold, Social Media Strategist at Betterment, DCI in 2022 means: “social listening, trend watching, strategic implications from relevant data insights.”

For Lindsay Kurtin, Manager, Social Media Strategy & Planning at UnitedHealth Group, it means: “having a pulse on what consumers are talking about, care about, etc.”

And for Joe Sayers, Senior Digital Media Analyst at Manchester United, it means: “Having a complete picture of how people feel and act around any given product – or in our case how they feel and act around various elements of the football club.”

The Brandwatch DCI Maturity Model is a framework that helps organizations streamline their workflows and focus their efforts on getting the most out of their data for better business decision-making. By maturing within digital consumer intelligence, organizations can begin to solve some of the challenges for marketers that are outlined above.

Current tools and techniques

Tools

When asked about the tools and technologies that help get work done, the majority of our survey respondents cited social media analytics, with 80.95% of respondents selecting this option. 

Interestingly enough, the second most popular response was ‘team collaboration and PM tools’, selected by 53.97% of the respondents. This stat suggests that collaboration is much more than just a buzzword – instead, it’s at the heart of a successful organization. 

When discussing the skills needed to work with consumer insights in 2022, Daniel Brocklebank, Social Media Team Lead at Wunderman Thompson, shared, “(1) Automation - to allow for more time to extract valuable insights. (2) Social listening - some team members' skills are lacking in this department.”

Michele Sewart, Sr. Communications Manager at Scoliosis Research Society, also added that while historically the company relied on simple metrics like “website hits and social media stats...This year we are hoping to dig deeper into social listening and determine what information topics are being discussed in our field and then provide the articles or research topics of interest.“

While social listening was the most popular data collection method our respondents cited as being part of their company's insights set up, other methods reported included:

  • In-depth interviews
  • Focus groups
  • In-person
  • Phone
  • Webcam

Among other data collections methods, the respondents also mentioned the following:

  • User journey tracking technology
  • Word of mouth
  • Community platform information gathering (eg forums, social media groups, etc)
  • Virtual events

Bridging the skills gap: The top skills and tools for marketers in 2022

Skills

We asked our respondents what tools and skills would be most valuable in supporting their marketing initiatives in 2022.

To help us analyze qualitative data and open-ended answers, we used our own Data Upload API in Brandwatch Consumer Research. This topic cloud visualizes the most commonly used phrases related to the top marketing skills for the next year.

Our survey showed that several skills were top of mind for the respondents. Here are the top five:

  1. Digital insights
  2. Methods of collecting consumer data
  3. Understanding consumers and consumer behavior

A theme that cropped up in custom replies to the skills question was about collecting and acting on the data. The actionability of insights is key – otherwise, what’s the point?

To thrive in 2022, marketers need...

When thinking about skills needed to thrive in 2022, Juliette Legrand, Communications Director, Global Commercial Organisation at Logitech, shared that marketers need “technical skills to know better how to configure our tools (such as boolean language), analytical skills to know how to gather insights from data, then education skills to demystify reporting and analytics and democratize the usage of analytics with our stakeholders.” 

Chris Hogue, Head of Strategy & Product at LiveArea (a Merkle company), echoed the sentiment with: “A mix of analytical and quantitative analysis skills. In my experience, the hardest skill to learn is to make meaning of data. I call this the, "so what". You've given me a bunch of data; "so what?". What is the meaning behind it and what action should I take as a result of it.”

To put all those analysis skills to the test, marketers can take a look at the following resources and tools that are likely to be popular for insights generation in 2022.

2022 Wishlist: Marketing resources and tools for success

Of course, all of the above come with their own pros and cons, and a mix of methods will lead to more context and a better understanding of the overall picture of consumer behavior.

2022, here we come

To summarize, there are several areas and ways to improve highlighted by this research. 

Information flow: Streamlining workflows and eliminating operational inefficiencies will help advance cross-divisional collaboration, enabling the better channeling of efforts to reach more consumers faster and in ways that resonate.

Data, skills, and tools: Adapting to and capitalizing on changes is much easier when an organization is equipped with the right skills and tools. 

Customer journey: Brands need to search for opportunities to break down data silos, whether that means updating an enterprise’s old structure or enabling access to more depth when it comes to sharing data. 

Consumer insights: One of the biggest discoveries is that the majority of the surveyed experts don’t think their organization has a great understanding of its customers. Organizations that deeply understand their customers can address their needs faster and more accurately while securing not just a transaction, but a relationship.

Reputation management and insights: Learning from consumer feedback online is absolutely crucial as part of gathering consumer insights for a better data-driven marketing strategy. Only 20.63% of the surveyed experts thought their companies are doing a great job when it comes to online reputation management, which means there’s a lot of room for improvement.

We’d like to thank everyone who’s contributed to these insights, including the folks we’ve included throughout this piece:

  • Juliette Legrand, Communications Director, Global Commercial Organisation, Logitech 
  • Joe Sayers, Senior Digital Media Analyst, Manchester United
  • Alex Gold, Social Media Strategist at Betterment
  • Ana Allen Lima, Strategic Marketing Director, CUF
  • Daniel Brocklebank, Social Media Team Lead, Wunderman Thompson 
  • Lindsay Kurtin, Manager, Social Media Strategy & Planning at UnitedHealth Group 
  • Chris Hogue, Head of Strategy & Product at LiveArea (a Merkle company) 
  • Nick LaBran, Social Media Analyst at Cashmere Agency
  • Darren Wayne, Food Scientist aka The Food Guru at MealBetix
  • Michele Sewart, Sr. Communications Manager at Scoliosis Research Society 

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