We know, Labor Day feels like last weekend, and talking about 2022 feels…early. Our brains are still processing that somehow 2020 ended? And now somehow 2021 is almost over, too?! This has made many of us, marketers included, ask existential questions like, “what is time?!” So, if you just got your first pumpkin spice latte of the season, and this blog post feels a little early, just keep in mind that your local supermarket will start playing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer in approximately four weeks (six max). With that said, let’s dive into five marketing trends you should be ready to roll with in 2022 (or earn bonus points by adding them Q4 2021). 

#1. AI

AI and automation aren’t just buzzy, trendy topics to write about (spoiler alert, they are). More than that though, if you believe in a little less talk and a lot more results, that’s where they truly shine.

At G5, we use AI to make sure our clients’ digital advertising is dialed. G5 Intent Trends technology automatically allocates your digital marketing budget toward the highest-performing campaigns, every single day. It makes these decisions based on vast quantities of data, and machine learning. Read this blog to learn more about our AI-focused approach to digital advertising. 

#2. Chatbots + Virtual Sales Assistants

Asking for a friend, have you ever needed to cancel your online food delivery service order at 11:00 p.m. on a Saturday? That’s a totally normal time to need emergency help from a company, right? Right. And then, just when you thought all was lost, your request was granted by your fairy godmother the magical website chatbot or virtual sales assistant (VSA). 

The truth is, we all do things like this. We all live complex lives with unique needs. As such, we moved many of our personal buying and decision-making online and on our own time. This means if your team is only able to answer questions from 8-5, then you’re unlikely to connect with customers working standard office hours. However, when you add a chatbot or VSA to your website, you’re able to answer their questions and requests 24/7/365. 

And, you free up your team’s time to focus on nurturing relationships versus answering questions about XYZ policy fifteen times a day. Consider it like the diagram below, if the chatbot can’t answer the question, it refers it directly to one of your all-star team members to ensure that the question doesn’t fall through the cracks. And, over time, as a chatbot answers the questions over and over, it actually gets smarter. Chatbots aren’t just good in theory, they also drive results. In multifamily, we saw our chatbot drive 400 additional leases

Chatbots are also salve to a tough pain point for many of our clients: hiring and staffing shortages. If your properties and communities are operating with a skeleton crew, adding a chatbot or VSA to your website to answer redundant questions, and empower prospects to self-qualify, can alleviate some of the burden for your overtasked teams. 

#3. Changes in Data

Early 2021, we were all worried about the cookie apocalypse, aka Google eliminating third-party cookies. As a refresher, cookies are little packets of information (not chocolate chip goodness) created by websites. Third party cookies are created by websites other than the website currently open in your browser. They are used to track individuals across multiple websites, providing advertisers with detailed information that can be used for highly-specific retargeting ads. 

In June, Google announced that they delayed the timeline for phasing out third-party cookies. While the timeline has been extended, cookies are going away eventually. This shift represents a significant change for the advertising industry and it’s widely seen as a step forward for consumer privacy.

What does this mean for marketers? Simple, sooner rather than later, your marketing needs to be backed by first-party data and a Customer Data Platform (CDP). Translation?! This shift away from using third-party data will place more importance on businesses to use first-party data (i.e. information collected directly from a user who has given consent or opted-in to receive marketing emails from businesses). 

Many websites collect first-party cookies, which are used to enhance the user experience on a website. In fact, first-party cookies, which track basic data for your own website visitors, help improve the experience on your website because they remember data or preferences for future visits. A first-party, data-centric approach is essential to the success and long term stability of your marketing efforts. 

If all of this feels like coded new information, don’t worry, we have the deep dive version, too.  Check out our G5 MarTech Series Data + CDP Report. 

#4. Silo-less Solutions

While we’re talking about data, automation, and AI it feels important to bring up silos. The thing everyone loves to hate — and rightly so. Data that sits in either your backend or front-end systems and doesn’t ever reach the other side isn’t actionable or helpful. It’s just digital clutter. 

When your backend and front-end systems are integrated, marketing magic happens. Your team gleans insight into the full picture of the end-to-end customer journey, and you’re able to make data-backed decisions. When the right integrations are in place, your digital advertising can pull actual inventory and pricing, and automatically update advertising copy to reflect your actual vacancies. No need to advertise for two bedroom apartments, 10×10 storage units, or certain care levels if they aren’t currently available at your property or community. Instead, having an open platform solution allows you to provide more specific digital advertising messaging, and reach the right researching renters and residents, with the right message, at the right time. 

#5. Zero-Click Searches

The search for the perfect place begins the moment a renter or resident searches on Google. They might type in something like “Apartments near the Greenbelt in Boise.” For a long-winded question, online searchers want really succinct answers, and they don’t want to click around to different pages to find the right information. They want it on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) itself. 

We believe in meeting our researching customers where they are, online, on a SERP, with answers to their questions. The good news is, Google agrees, and this is why they have zero-click searches. As a refresher, zero-click searches appear at the top of a SERP, above even the organic results. They answer questions without needing the searcher to click through to your website, hence the name zero-click. This can be in the form of flight arrival times, Wikipedia snippets, photos, knowledge graphs, videos, the local map pack, and other above-the-fold SERP real estate. Zero-click searchers’ questions are often resolved in the SERP, which for quick information like name, address, and phone number, is great. Zero-click searches are rising, and your SEO strategy needs to align with this search behavior. Learn more about it in this blog

Stay On Ahead of Trend

At G5, we developed marketing automation, fueled by first-party data, that is two years ahead of industry standards. In our industries, we don’t catch up to trends, we set them. Learn more about the G5 approach to marketing