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Prognostications, Predictions And Hot Topics For 2022

It’s once again time for our annual tradition of asking our Consultants Collective member consultants and other Biznology contributors to share their reflections on the past year and predictions and prognostications for the new one. In 2022, we reflect on how COVID-19 has changed societal norms, resulted in the Great Resignation, and altered the top-of-mind agenda for C-suite leaders and boards of directors. Our contributors predict that data privacy, cyber security, social media, AI and voice will be areas of focus for business, marketing and more – and we reflect on why we make New Year’s Resolutions. We hope you find our thoughts and musings interesting, valuable and thought-provoking. We’ll continue to explore these and other hot topics and important trends in more depth throughout the year in our articles, podcasts, and Consultants Collective Conversations online events Stay tuned and welcome to 2022!  May it be a good one for all.  

The Great Resignation seemed to be most-used phrase last year as millions of Americans left their jobs in 2021. That trend will continue in 2022 as people strive for more meaningful work and the desire to continue to work outside of the traditional office environment to achieve better work-life balance, physical safety from COVID, and emotional safety at work (especially for women and people of color).  This exodus will continue to be a top concern for C-suite leaders. But that’s not all! A myriad other related concerns are also key, including attracting and retaining top talent, optimizing the employee experience and technology for remote and hybrid workforces, enhancing workforce culture and employee engagement, compensation and benefits, and paying attention to the mental and physical health of the employees who do stay. In addition, employers will need to invest in keeping their employees’ skills and competencies up-to-date in an era of continuously accelerating technological change. We hope that leaders will continue to focus on and invest in diversity, equity and creating truly inclusive workforces. We also predict that the minimum wage / living wage issue and demands from organized labor will continue to be top issues that C-suite leaders and boards will need to face, and hope that this draws new attention and action to the too-long-ignored issue of CEO compensation and the inequity with employees’ and workers’ pay. Other areas of focus for business leaders should include: environmental, societal and corporate governance issues (ESG), continued challenges with the supply chain, the changing demographics of consumers, increased competition from new business models and globalization, and all things related to digitization — cyber-security, data protection, automation, AI and robotics, and of course, the emerging metaverse and its impact on business, media, culture and society. In addition, we’ll probably continue to see lots of new companies going public via SPACs, and as businesses try to hold onto traditional models of work, we’ll see many mis-steps, crises and volatility as companies try to figure out how to navigate this new landscape of work and worker expectations.  

This year has, alas, been a year when the threads frayed. Human relations soured. People forgot how to act with their fellow human beings, forgot our common humanity, forgot the basics. Let’s not talk about politics; let’s not consider diplomacy; ignore, too, for a minute the million-dollar questions of business—think just about how your fellow citizens (surely not you or I!) treated service people in restaurants or behind the counter in stores or at the wheel of public transit this year. Two years of stress, of waves of illness, of personal tragedies, of on-again-off-again isolation, and it seems we’ve forgotten how to behave. My prediction for the 2022 winners: They will be those who can pull themselves together and then reach out to establish common cause and common ground. They will be the businessmen and women who create community with clients, customers, and staff in a way that other institutions in society have failed to do. They will be the true leaders who remember that humanity, human feelings, and solidarity come before mere profit. They will be the people who remember that how we act and react, how we plan and execute, and how we treat others are all choices. They are choices that should be conscious and deliberate, and choices that always, always have consequences.    

On the marketing privacy and security front in 2022, things are going to get worse – and better. That’s just the way technology seems to march forward. Progress isn’t always positive, but it is relentless and there are always people and organizations pushing to make that progress beneficial to consumers and marketers alike. Getting more specific in my predictions for marketing privacy and security issues in 2022, here are a few ideas to keep in mind for 2022:

  • Get your privacy policies in order 
  • Make digital security a priority 
  • Ask a lot of your digital vendors 
  • Remain resilient 

Read more guidance from Andrew here.  

  A few things to focus on in 2022:

  • The rise of first-party data. Marketing use of third-party data has been under attack for a number of years with the “Death of the Cookie” and other personal data Armageddons seemingly always on the horizon. Well, the horizon is here. While some of the architects of the third-party data ecosystem have dragged their feet in restricting privacy data, 2022 is the year in which companies, vendors, and the digital ad business will get real about first-party data and perhaps even make the most of anonymous visitor data.
  • Conversational websites. Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and others have started making it feel natural to speak into phones and smart speakers as an alternative to pointing and typing. However, we’ve seen precious little innovation of this kind on corporate websites, especially B2B websites. But what if technology could consume all the content on a website and use that as a basis for conversation? Advances in Natural Language Processing and related AI technologies provide the possibility of such interactions. 2022 is the year the conversation gets real.
  • Reducing the “Google tax.” Google remains the most important source of traffic for most websites, especially for the generic terms that are critical to attracting people who don’t know you. But why are we content to pay the Google tax on branded search keywords? If people already know who you are and what you offer, why are they starting with Google? Why should your competitors get a crack at these folks who want to do business with you? 2022 will be the year when marketers start thinking about their sites as destination sites. After all, no one stops first at Google when they want to go to Amazon. Smart marketers will be thinking about how to attract existing customers directly to their site, with no stop at Google, with awesome customer experiences, unexpected value, and better engagement (especially good site search and personalization — those are Amazon’s secrets).

The last time I dared to compile a set of a year-end predictions was pre-pandemic, going into 2020.  Astonishingly, many of them turned out to be true, or mostly so.  Going into 2021, the world was upside-down, and the general uncertainty about everything in our personal and professional lives convinced me to lay low.  But now I am back, with a list of 10 trends that B2B marketers should watch as we enter 2022:

  1. Permanent COVID 
  2. The Trusted Relationship 
  3. Account-based Marketing
  4. Vendor Consolidation 
  5. Customer Experience as a competitive advantage 
  6. The return of live events 
  7. Video everywhere
  8. Social media as the #1 marketing channel 
  9. More complexity
  10. AI 

Read more predictions from Ruth here.     

As we begin a new year, it’s important to pause and take stock of what happened last year. Progress is integral to our successes and survival, but sometimes that inertia deprives us of both learning opportunities and savoring life’s best moments. Here are some suggestions for ensuring we grab onto both. Progress is integral to our successes and survival, but sometimes that inertia deprives us of both learning opportunities and savoring life’s best moments. Review and reflect. Many of us look at our jammed-packed calendars with resentment, all those little increments of time stolen. Often true! But our calendars also provide us with a record of what we did and did not do with our time. Find a few minutes to look through your 2021 appointments to remind yourself of what happened. Look for:

  • Accomplishments! Very important. Do not rob yourself of the pats on the back you deserve.
  • Areas of focus. What took up the bulk of your time? Which paid the best dividends and which investments of time were unwarranted?
  • Accomplices. With whom did you spend the most time? Were they the right people for the situation—both professionally and personally?

It’s important to not be too hard on ourselves as we go through this exercise of reflection. What’s done is done and we were—at each moment—no doubt doing our best. Review, reflect, and move on. Read more advice from Kevin here.    

And a final thought as we begin 2022, our member consultant Douglas Spencer asks, “Why a New Year’s Resolution?”  Does it strike you as funny the amount of pressure we put on January to start, re-start, or jump-start something we feel is lacking, missing, or behind schedule? Sure, the year just changed, but time changes literally every second. What makes the shifting of the year more important than the shifting of the moment? Nothing. In fact, if you apply the lens of mindfulness to it, you’ll see that focusing on January as the supreme agent of change robs us of any agency we have throughout the year to affect meaningful change. Every moment is important. It’s all we have. We no longer have the past and we certainly don’t have the future. So if you feel January and its promise of a new start already slipping away from you, fret not. Start now. In this moment. As Leo Tolstoy said: “Remember then: there is only one time that is important–now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power.” If you’d like to take a look back, check out our last three years of Trends, Predictions & Prognostications articles here:

Biznology Editorial Team

Biznology is JEM's digital media platform that highlights the insights and expertise of the JEM community, our Consultants Collective member consultants, advisors and executive coaches, our clients and partners. Biznology is focused on a range of topics that are top of mind for 21st-century leaders dedicated to improving, changing and ultimately transforming their organizations for the future.

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