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  • Helen Pritchett

Goodbye 2021, What’s New in 2022?

This time last year we wrote a blog about our great excitement and anticipation for the year ahead. We discussed the challenges and struggles we had faced in 2020 and our expectations that the new year bought new hope and new enthusiasm with aspirations and opportunities for a better time ahead. We had reasons to be hopeful. Therefore, it is with some disappointment that I sit here today to write a review of 2021 and have many of the same feelings in mind. 2021 didn’t see the freedom from COVID we had all yearned for. Our liberties were still curtailed somewhat, a new variant struck us just prior to Christmas and life – both personal and business – did not get back to the normality we hoped.

Nevertheless, CPB UK had another good year in 2021. I am glad to be able to report that we faced the challenges with confidence and self-belief. Our directors further developed belief in the business and its capabilities, and our senior managers maintained high levels of team productivity whilst working from home when required. Not only that but we continued to develop mutual support strategies and to focus on wellbeing as well as the bottom line.

Congratulations are due to the whole CPB UK family, and to all our business associates and partners, who delivered another outstanding year in trying circumstances. We achieved great things in terms of client revenue wins and pipeline. As a result of hard fought and won CPB UK generated opportunities we created over £6.6m worth of pipeline for our customers. We delivered more campaigns, made more calls, sent more emails, had more decision maker conversations, created more digital marketing campaigns, and supplied more data intelligence for the IT channel than in 2020.

In comparison with 2020 we saw significant growth across the business:

  • An 11% increase in new business

  • A 58% increase in the number of leads generated

  • Telemarketing campaigns saw an increase of 3%

  • Digital advertising and content syndication saw a 10% increase

  • Demand for accurate data intelligence increased by 17%

2021 also saw increases in the number of clicks from TechKnow sends and in the number of emarketing campaigns sent out from CPB on behalf of our clients.

So, what’s ahead of us in 2022? Can we expect more of the same? How will new variants affect our strategies? Will the new business model continue or are we facing a perfect storm of budget cuts, unexpected variants, and operational disruption?

Gartner states that “extended pandemic-related quarantine and isolation have permanently altered customer behaviours and expectations of companies and brands.” Its 2022 marketing predictions are all about digital: considering the consequences of digital’s ascendance on privacy, workplace flexibility, employee advocacy and other key components of commerce. This year, Gartner says marketing leaders are shifting their digital focus from enhancing customer relationships to building new connections across the full spectrum of stakeholders.

There is no doubt that the pandemic has altered how we engage with one another, particularly in business but also on a personal level. For many, digital is now the preferred channel for social and business interactions.

2022 stands out as the year when marketing leaders must advocate for, and deliver on, strategies that embrace digital as the foundation not just of existing relationships but also new connections with and between customers, employees, business partners and social influencers.

A few key trends for 2022:

Privacy is a key focus this year with organisations focused on having to provide customers with compelling reasons to trust them with personal data. People are ever more concerned with protecting their privacy and organisations must use a customer-first approach; for example, rethinking methods for measuring and reaching audiences so customers feel in control and able to manage the data they share. It takes time to build trust, but the effort is worth it, and keeps you on the right side of the law.

2022 will also see a growth in employee advocacy. Gartner expects that by the end of this year, 90% of B2B social media marketing strategies will incorporate scaled employee advocacy programs because, according to LinkedIn, when employees share content, the content achieves a 200% higher click-through rate than when the company shares it. Employee advocacy is seen as the personal touch and organisations can leverage this to build brand trust and drive commercial outcomes. A side benefit of this activity is that employee advocacy programmes also increase employee engagement and productivity.

There will be further adoption of the growing maxim that people will buy brands, not products. Brand awareness and loyalty is not new but Penry Price, a vice president with LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, suggests that in 2022 and beyond “we will find consumers are less focused on buying a specific product and more so looking to invest their dollars in a brand they trust, believe in, and that aligns with their core value.”

Teach, don’t sell. A focus on value and authentic purpose is what will differentiate your brand within the crowded online purchase journey. Create a clear value proposition that customers can emotionally invest in. Customers need to easily understand what your brand stands for and what experiences/services are offered. In every engagement with consumers, have a point of view, and express this to potential buyers across all touch points. Consistency through clever multi-touch marketing will be crucial to success in this area.

Data-driven marketing will continue to deliver the best campaign results. Once again, our sister company’s data scientists are hitting the ground running, continuing their vital work of gathering, expanding, and cleansing data to ensure we have access to the absolute best UK IT industry contact data.

The Hybrid working model is here to stay; a recent report predicts that 47% of workers will work remotely in 2022, compared to 27% pre-pandemic. This rise in hybrid working has intensified the cyber security concerns faced by organizations, as there are new demands to manage more data with more endpoint devices residing in different locations.

In addition, the shift to the “work from anywhere” culture is also driving up the volume of ad hoc, on-the-go conversations over text, phone, video, social platforms, or chat, with workers using a variety of different tools to communicate among themselves or speak to different contacts. However, what is driven by convenience for knowledge will result in data management complexities for companies.

Machine learning and artificial intelligence are set to be mega-trends, like mobile phones and cloud computing before them, ML and AI are on an inexorable march to widespread adoption. The pandemic has magnified ML/AI’s appeal to businesses on several fronts – whether it’s understanding customers better, automating supply chain functions, or eliminating repetitive internal processes – as they aim to digitally transform faster. What is more, AI and ML driven tools are continuously learning and improving on their own at much faster speed than humans could hope to achieve, enabling them to anticipate and counter the much-expected AI-led attacks in a machine versus machine battle.

Let’s embrace the future with confidence

We work in an inspiring, cutting-edge industry and there is a lot to be excited about. 2022 deserves the same high expectations and hopes that we granted 2021. The world changed for everyone in 2020 and we must all embrace the changes that are required for successful business development goals in 2022 and beyond. Let’s make 2022 a year of further innovation, embracing operational growth and further strengthening all aspects of the B2B demand creation ecosystem.

We should be positive and enthusiastic about the future and continue to work hard to make the next 12 months the best it can be, whatever is thrown at us!


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