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The top 7 marketing trends for 2022

The top 7 marketing trends for 2022

A new year brings new opportunities. For marketers, new opportunities are their bread and butter, as they have to always stay on top of their game. Marketing trends for 2022 meet the needs and wants of clients, with digital marketing trends being at the forefront. Digital marketing has become an important form of marketing in recent years. This has been shown in employment statistics where over 60% of companies employ or plan to employ digital marketers to their marketing teams (Clickthrough, 2019). Here are the top seven marketing trends for 2022.

  1. Utilising the Metaverse
    Facebook has changed its name to Meta and has created the Metaverse while doing so. The Metaverse is a space for virtual and augmented experiences on the internet. Digital marketers should educate themselves on the Metaverse and utilise it before their competition does. Read more here:
  1. Using influencers’ influence
    According to Influencer Marketing Hub (Influencer Marketing Hub, 2021) influencer marketing was estimated to grow to close to $14 billion in 2021. This will only continue to grow throughout this year, which means more opportunities for digital marketers. The influencer is able to influence their fan base, which is engaged and interested. Therefore, partnering with influencers is one of the best ways to grow brand awareness. This applies to all brands, even B2B brands. Adobe, SAP, and PWC are examples of B2B brands that use this trend.  Read more here:
  1. Marketing skills development
    The marketing field is ever-changing which brings constant challenges and new demands. To keep up and thrive in this industry, marketers need to constantly sharpen their skills and stay up to date on trends and new information. To ensure you stay on top of your game, you should apply to The Institute of Marketing Management (IMM), South Africa. IMM offers its member’s education initiatives that aim to promote career development to ensure they are able to take advantage of every opportunity.
  1. Social Responsibility
    Important social matters such as global warming (LA Times, 2021), the COVID-19 pandemic (Al Jazeera, 2022), and a range of social injustices are at the forefront of public conversation. Marketers will utilise and invest in this in 2022 as this is important to many consumers. A study performed by McKinsey supports this, as they predicted that consumers would be more likely to support brands if they show that they care for their customers, employees, and important causes (McKinsey, 2020). This trend may not drive sales, but it will grow brand awareness and consumer loyalty. Read more here:
  1. Personalisation
    It is likely that consumers will support brands that invest in personalised marketing. Seeing that many people have an inbox full of ads that start with “Hi [consumer’s name]”, this form of marketing has become less effective and outright boring. Digital marketers need to ensure that their target audience receives a personalised marketing experience to ensure meaningful engagement. A way to do this would be to invest in AI technology. This would gather information from their online activity and social media which would allow insight into their needs and wants. Read more here:
  1. SEO
    SEO marketing strategies is not a new trend in 2022, but it remains one of the most important digital marketing trends as it results in short-term and long-term traffic returns. SEO stands for “search engine optimisation” and aims to improve site awareness to have higher levels of traffic (Search Engine Land). Seeing that this strategy is important and popular, its optimisation opportunities have grown. Now, many brands now need an SEO expert who is able to perform a range of tasks. Digital marketers should sharpen their SEO skills to meet the ever-evolving needs and wants of brands.
  1. Mobile optimisation
    Seeing that more than 50% of online website traffic comes from mobile devices and tablets, mobile optimization has become a priority for marketers (Hubspot, 2021). To utilise this mobile-based audience, marketers will have to invest and explore a range of different strategies which make the mobile experience smooth and inviting. Web design will be an important strategy to ensure this.

Make sure you’re prepared for the new trends

The trends for 2022 that we mentioned are sure to provide new challenges and new financial opportunities for marketers across the globe. To make sure you get your piece of the pie, you would need to stay up to date with the new trends and make sure your marketing and digital marketing skills are sharpened at all times. Visit the Institute of Marketing (IMM), South Africa website today to explore the wide range of services available to marketers in 2022. <LINK>

How has marketing changed over time? From traditional to digital, the big shift!

How has marketing changed over time? From traditional to digital, the big shift

The shift from traditional media marketing in the form of newspapers, television, flyers, billboards and pole posters, to digital billboards, social media, google ads and other major forms of digital media has been both quick and big.

With the advent of services like MySpace and Bebo back in the early 2000s already, celebrities and brands found themselves using these age-old social media platforms to post fun personal photos, snippets of their thoughts and little albums or movie spoilers.

But marketing on MySpace and Bebo was never as big as it is on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter and TikTok today, especially with the birth of the influencer (read more about influencer marketing here).

To really understand what marketing looked like before and how it has evolved with new media, we take a look at what marketing is, what it functions as and how the evolution of social media and digital platforms has forever changed the industry.

Social Media Image

What is marketing?

Dictionary.com defines marketing as, ‘the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.’

For those that work in a marketing, it is often not that easy to fully define its function and roll in an organisation. At the IMM we believe that marketing is business and business is marketing. Therefore, marketing in its full sense is present in all stages of the business, beginning to end, not just advertising and not just sales.

In this way, we can begin to understand that marketing itself is a very general word that can encompass many different roles. In noting this, we can begin to understand how marketing has changed over time in just two simple ways:

What is marketing Image

1. Roles and titles

With the advent of social media, marketing has seen a major shift within the industry. What was once a role that was easily defined has now led to greater sub-roles that make up teams to put together or manage specific types of content or channels. Unlike before, digital creatives have become a major new title especially amongst Millennials and Gen-Z’s entering the workforce. Roles of strategists and marketers have expanded to Social Media Strategist – a role completely dedicated to social media strategy, and Digital Marketers that oversee all elements of digital strategy for an organisation (read more about the importance of digital marketing here).

Both these roles have been created to establish a greater understanding of how to push communication through social and digital platforms ranging from social media to digital

billboards, google and more.

Before social media, the role of a Community Manager or a 3-D Animator were not common specifically for the marketing industry, especially as animators were previously known to work particularly in the film industry. Today, we have seen the migration of these types of roles and titles into the marketing space, testimony to just how much the world of marketing has changed in the past 20 years.

Before social media

2. Traditional media and Digital Media shifts

In the world that we are living in, traditional marketing has not died out, but it has shifted to becoming dominated by digital marketing simply because more people spend more time on their devices now than ever before (read more about it here).

When looking at what was available 20 years ago to what is available now, traditional marketing itself has progressed over time to accommodate all forms of media available. From radio, to television, to theatre, to cinemas, to flyers and newspapers and even at some point in time, mobile apps.

Fast-forward to now and we have so many more types of media available to us. Its not to say that we should be using all of them to communicate with our customers though. In many instances, marketing has stayed the same. Best practice still dictates that before any communication channels or tactics are selected, the business first needs to identify who the desired audience or customer is. Then and only then can the right media be selected based on where this customer spends their time. This is space in this strategy for both traditional and digital channels since not everyone is online.


Marketing has changed over time because the access to greater audiences and larger target markets has increased and changed with new forms of media tools. The change in marketing has also gone from consumer-based specific to buying, to consumer-based-loyalty and brand desire. Marketing will continue to evolve and change as new trends pick up and new ways of accessing the mass audiences arise. However, the traditional modes of marketing are not to be misunderstood as dead. Marketing is an incredible industry with the potential of growth in every sector for every type or market. We can’t wait to see where the industry will be in the next ten years!

Has the Pandemic Infected Marketing?

Has the Pandemic Infected Marketing Image

July 2020 – Is there a place for high-budget TV ads – the kind where crowds of hundreds clink glasses as they dance together in a small space? Or is the future of marketing looking a lot more low key?

Connection, connection, connection.

If there is anything that emerged out of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s the insight that humans crave connection above all else. It’s what makes them willing to risk their health, and that of others, in their pursuit of activities and pastimes that make them feel that they are part of a greater whole. That’s why the brands that have either reflected or sought to create connection are the ones that have done well during a period that’s been exceptionally trying for brands.

Inevitably, these trials have been passed on to their marketers. According to a Marketweek survey of CMOs, 65% of marketers are expecting to see their annual marketing budgets cut, and 86% predict that their marketing goals will be that much harder to achieve.

Digital marketers, on the other hand, must be enjoying a secret smile, if the survey respondents’ belief that SEO has become more important than ever is anything to go by. Indeed, since most consumers have little option but to bond with their laptops, social media is enjoying a boom, and many brands are taking advantage of this new captive market. There’s a caveat, however: consumers don’t want to be reminded of how things were. According to Forbes.com, they’re more likely to respond to an ad that reflects our current reality, no matter how second-rate that reality is. It comes down to the principle of authenticity: we can’t pretend that life is glamourous when most of us are sitting in our tracksuits – any brand that ignores this is tone-deaf.

On the other hand, brands that point out that this is something we’re all affected by may well win. Forbes.com singles out Nike’s Covid-19 ‘Play inside, play for the world’ campaign as one which does this especially well. From a local perspective, who can forget the SA Tourism’s appeal to put the brakes on travel now, so that we can all travel later? If such a message is backed by an action to ease the collective suffering (like the offer of a payment holiday or donation to a cause), so much the better – but, again, only if it is authentic and transparent.

Since marketing budgets are a lot more slender than they were at the beginning of the year, marketers have to do a lot more with a lot less. That’s nothing new – in essence, they’ve been trying to make their spend go further and further since the recession of 2008 – but this time around, the need to create a connection is so much greater. The accent is on quality content that can add value to consumers’ lives: overseas, brands have found a way to interact with their consumers through interactive classes, videos and webinars on platforms like Zoom or IGLive, for example.

The ultimate takeout? The way we buy and spend has changed, probably forever. Of course we’ll reach a stage where consumers have greater freedom, but by then, online habits may have become entrenched. As always, marketers who have missed out on an opportunity to entrench their brands due to short-sighted cost-cutting will feel the brunt when spending returns to normal; those that have adjusted their strategies – by creating relatable, relevant content and serving it on a platform that speaks to consumers’ needs for convenience and efficiency – may hang on to their niche. It’s nothing new – we simply have better data at our disposal to help us choose where to feature that content, and how to execute it.

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The ethics of social marketing


The potential value of data inspired British mathematician and entrepreneur in the field of data science and customer-centric business strategies. Clive Humby to claim “Data is the new oil.” And in the right hands it is.

Here’s why.

Because by using data, people can be manipulated. And that constitutes power.
The recent scandal involving arguably the most powerful head of state and the largest social media platform is a perfect example of this.

In what is considered one of the biggest data breaches the world has ever seen, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had for many years allowed 3rd party apps to harvest its users’ data without their knowledge or consent.

In 2014, researcher Aleksandr Kogan developed a personality quiz app based on something similar created by the psychometrics Centre, a Cambridge University Lab where Kogan had previously worked.

The app, which Kogan had developed for Facebook, quickly went viral with around 270 thousand Facebook users installing it to their profiles.

This is where it gets interesting.

Kogan’s app not only gave him access to its user’s profiles but also the data of each user’s Facebook friend, allowing him access to around 50 million profiles.

Instead of deleting this information as per protocol, Kogan stored it in a private database and later sold it to Cambridge Analytica (CA), a British political firm working alongside Donald Trump’s election team.

From there, Cambridge Analytica used the data of these unsuspecting Facebook users to create 30 million “psychographic” voter profiles.

Trump’s election team allegedly used this information, along with a carefully constructed social marketing strategy, to create personalised political ads targeting specific American voters; essentially manipulating them into voting for Donald Trump.

How do we know all this?

In 2018, whistle-blower, Christopher Wylie, came forward with these allegations and exposed the alleged scandal to the world. Both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica denied any wrongdoing, but Facebook still lost an estimated 50 billion dollars in market value due to Zuckerberg’s involvement.

In March 2018, UK Committee approached Zuckerberg and asked him to testify. He did and in 2019, filmmakers Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer produced and directed “The Great Hack”, a documentary focusing on the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

Watch “The Great Hack” on Netflix here https://www.netflix.com/za/title/80117542

Trump is a wildly successful businessman, so it’s not surprising that he went the marketing route to win the elections.

Here’s how he did it –

Trump created not one, but two brands. One for himself and one for the competition. He then used social marketing tactics to portray his ‘brand’ as being superior to the competition. He painted each of his opponents in a negative light by giving each a condescending nickname such as “Crooked Hillary” (Hillary Clinton), “Little Marco” (Marco Rubio), and “Crazy Bernie” (Bernie Sanders). The goal was allegedly to negatively influence the voter’s opinion of his opponents

Digital Marketers use similar techniques to influence consumer buying behaviour.

This might make you wonder what marketing has to do with politics. Marketers also use cookies and various analytical tools to track and gather data on consumer behaviour and preferences. This data is then used to create personas of their ideal customer and to create personalised messages to these prospects. Sound familiar?

This data is also used more subliminally to influence consumer opinion using a strategy known as social marketing. Social marketing (also known as behaviour change marketing) is a marketing tactic designed to prompt social change, rather than benefit a business directly. It’s most commonly used in the health, safety and environmental sectors to encourage people to change their (usually malicious) behaviour.

In short, instead of promoting a product, social marketing “sells” a behaviour in order to get the desired results. Instead of showing why a product is better than the competitor’s, social marketing takes a psychological approach by competing against undesirable thoughts, behaviours and actions or associating the product with positive, desirable behaviours or lifestyles

The Bottom Line – is it ethical?

In the Facebook Cambridge Analytical Scandal, personal data was allegedly used to create voter personas and influence voter behaviour. Marketers use data to create buyer personas and use this to influence consumer behaviour. So is there a difference, and is it ethical? To try and answer this we need to look at two factors – intent and transparency.

In the case of the voting scandal the data there are major questions around how the data was gathered, firstly many people were not aware their data was being recorded and almost certainly none of them knew their data was sold to Cambridge Analytical to be used for political campaigning. Add to that the argument that by creating over 30 million psychographic voter profiles they were able to manipulate voters by building a campaign on perception rather than facts. And finally there is a big difference between influencing a person on which washing powder to buy and who will be your next president. All of these factors bring intent and transparency of the Trump social media presidential campaign into question.

While there are obvious benefits for marketers using data to create consumer personas and developing personalised marketing communications, in order to remain ethical the intent should be to create a better experience for the consumer rather than to manipulate them into making a purchase they normally would not. Also the data should be gathered in a transparent way and be given voluntarily. It should be noted that by far the majority of marketers support the ethical use of data and understand that the downside of being accused of unethical marketing far outweighs any advantages they could bring.

At the IMM graduate school we believe that ethical marketing is beneficial to both the consumer and the marketer and aids in building strong customer relationships based on trust and as such we instil ethics as a theme in all our programs and courses. To find the right learning option for you browse our many options on our website.

The scope of a Digital Marketing Career

Marketing is an integral part of any business, so it makes sense that only the best of the best would be tasked with the responsibility of creating awareness and promoting a brand. It’s a highly lucrative career, but only if you have the right skills and training. Of course, there’s no shortage of guides and how-to’s online that promise to make you an expert in the marketing world – but these only scratch the surface. Industry experts like Neil Patel, Rand Fishkin and Jeff Bullas have all dished out a lot of articles explaining key marketing techniques and trends, but we wanted to find out why digital marketing specifically is a good career path. Sruthi Veeraraghavan addresses the question

“Why Choose a Career in Digital Marketing?” – we have summarised it here for you: 

The digital marketing industry is always advancing

The marketing industry frequently adapts to new strategies and best practices which means that marketers need to stay up to date with the latest trends. Because digital marketing has so many moving parts that are always changing along with technological developments and changes in consumer needs and demands, it’s hard to list every aspect of the industry. Some of the key components of digital marketing include:

  • Email marketing
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Social media marketing
  • Copywriting
  • Design
  • Apps
  • Mobile marketing, including SMS
  • Content marketing
  • Web analytics
  • Growth hacking

Each of these can become a specialist area for a digital marketer to branch off into. However, a common trait of good digital marketers is the ability to communicate with people and get their online audiences to listen.

Digital Marketing Is the Future…

Digital marketing is here to stay, it’s the way things will be done from now on. One of the reasons for this is that digital marketing is more affordable than traditional marketing techniques. Another is that, instead of doing customer surveys and or research, marketers can track user response rates and measure campaign success in real time. This will ensure that your next campaign is planned effectively. Businesses that cannot adapt to the new marketing climate won’t make the cut. This highlights a need for digital marketers that have a feel for numbers and statistics. An essential requirement in any digital marketing role.

 Digital marketers are in high demand

With both large and small industries moving away from traditional marketing methods alone, digital marketers are becoming highly sought after. Digital marketers should find it easy to get employment and/or freelancing positions in their area of specialisation.

According to a report by Burning Glass Technologies (2017), four out of 10 jobs listed in marketing now call for digital marketing skills. In addition, the report states:

  • The demand for digital marketing skills almost doubled between 2011 and 2016.
  • Demand for content marketers rose 450 per cent during that time, while demand for digital analytics skills increased by 152 per cent.
  • Forrester Research predicts digital marketing will account for 35 per cent of all marketing spending by the end of 2019.
  • Digital marketing positions take 16 per cent longer to fill.

Digital marketing branches out into various categories, so take your pick – there is something for everyone.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is a push messaging and outbound marketing tactic that consists of sending emails to customers as well as prospective customers (leads). The goal of these emails is to interact with the recipient of the email and advertise a product or service. Campaigns constantly need to be planned, conceptualised, developed, implemented and measured.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is the practice of optimizing web pages to rank well on search engines. SEO professionals analyse, review, and implement changes to a website and its content so they are optimised for search engines. SEO specialists are tasked with generating traffic and increasing the number of organic visitors to a website.


A Copywriter writes promotional text with the purpose of advertising a product or service as well as other forms of marketing. Their responsibilities include writing advertising and marketing copy, public relations copy as well occasionally editing and ghost writing. Sometimes they also write taglines, direct mail pieces, web content, online ads and email and consider the use of keywords and keyphrases so as to improve SEO.

Content writing

Copywriting and content writing are two different things. Content writers are tasked with producing interesting, engaging content with the purpose of drawing readers to a website, turning them into loyal followers and keeping it that way. Professional content writers have extensive knowledge of the internet as well as different writing techniques and are well versed in writing various forms of web content.

These are just a few of the fields you can pursue with a marketing qualification from the IMM Graduate School or by upskilling yourself with an online short course. At the moment the IMM Graduate School offers five Digital Marketing specialisation courses online. In just 12 weeks you could be steering your marketing career in a whole new direction. Find out more information here: https://www.immsc.co.za/online_courses/marketing-advertising-short-courses/

Finding a balance between volume, cost and quality

Finding a balance between volume, cost and quality 

How often have you heard the Sales Manager screaming for more high quality leads, while in the background the Financial Manager is demanding cheaper leads and higher conversions? For Digital Marketers that have bravely ventured into the world of Search Engine Marketing (SEM), it would appear that the greatest challenge of all is finding a balance between volume, cost and quality. Here’s why…

The market size is only as big as it is

Most, if not all of big businesses in SA now have an online presence with multiple search engine strategies at play. This has led to a highly competitive online environment where each has to outbid or outsmart the other in order to be the first to respond to the customer’s needs. Segmentation and targeting the right audience is key to success and each of these businesses understands exactly who their perfect customer is and where to find them. Unfortunately, the market size of these perfect customers is limited and over time online competition for this perfect customer segment becomes fiercer and more expensive. In order to maintain any forecast growth these companies are forced to find business in other online market segments outside of this highly competitive ‘perfect fit’ customer segment.

Volume comes with hidden costs

As Marketers begin to open up their narrow segmentation strategies to a wider online audience their ability to effectively manage lead quality is compromised. New segments require much more focus and attention than the ‘perfect fit’ segment. The wider Marketers cast their online net, the higher the lead volume and the lower the cost per lead. At face value this appears to be great until the real cost to the business is reviewed; additional resources to manage the higher lead volumes and lower sales conversion rates. It may just be that the expensive ‘perfect fit’ leads were actually more profitable to begin with.

It’s time to tell your bosses they can’t have it all

The reality is that it’s impossible to achieve high volume, low cost and great quality all at the same time. There will always be a trade-off.

Monkley’s Model of Opposing SEM forces illustrates the trade-off between Cost, Quality and Volume objectives for Search Engine Marketing. This model suggests that insisting on high quality and high volume at a low cost is unrealistic and that Marketing Managers have to choose one of these three objectives while carefully balancing the other two. The online market of ‘perfect fit’ customers in any industry is not limitless. The role of Marketing is to know which of these three objectives to prioritize and how much weighting to apply to each objective in order to sustain ROI objectives.

Interested in learning more about Search Engine and Content Marketing? Check out our 12 week short course here