Marketer’s Toolkit 2022, which launches today, includes a series of reports aimed at helping marketers identify disruptive trends, and adapt swiftly to exploit the opportunities being created. Aditya Kishore, WARC Insight Director, explains why its bigger than ever. 

Given the turbulence of the last two years, most businesses are hoping for a return to normal in 2022. Unfortunately, it looks like Heraclitus got it right when he said “No man ever steps in the same river twice – for it is not the same river, and he is not the same man”.

New years bring new rivers to cross

With high vaccination levels in most developed countries, consumers are venturing out again and confidence is building. However, even as aspects of daily life are seemingly returning to normal, it's clear we’re not simply stepping back into the same “river”. 

An overwhelming 97% of respondents to a survey for Marketer’s Toolkit 2022 were concerned about changes in consumer behaviour following the lockdowns – the most widely held concern amongst respondents by a sizeable margin.

Lengthy lockdowns have changed perspectives and habits, and people are discovering new interests and priorities. Industry structures have also changed; some as a result of these consumer shifts, some simply because they were pending and have been accelerated. The rapid surge in online behaviours, for example, has businesses scrambling to adjust. 

Nearly eight out of every ten respondents expected to increase spend on e-commerce in 2022, and accelerating digital transformations to reach customers across channels was the highest-ranked challenge. 

For businesses, there’s an unfamiliar new balance that they need to find. On one hand, they must cater for the “normal”, pre-pandemic customer, but on the other hand they must also make adjustments for very significantly transformed new behaviours and market requirements in important areas. 

The 2022 Marketer’s Toolkit series

Given the complexity of the market, we decided this year to create a Marketer’s Toolkit series: a set of reports offering a selection of different “tools” to help navigate the coming year.

The first of these – the Global Trends Report – comes out today, providing research, analysis and insight into the five key trends that will shape marketing strategies in 2022. 

Forthcoming reports will provide regional perspectives, quantitative analysis on global ad trends, and a review of emerging concepts and metrics that could help maximise marketing effectiveness.

We’ve weighted our analysis more towards economies that are opening up, as that is where businesses will need to make the most rapid adjustments. We built our base case scenario on the IMF’s global economic outlook, anticipating steady recovery in vaccinated countries but with significant inconsistency worldwide, and recognise overhanging concerns around inflation, labour shortages and supply chain interruptions, as well as the threat of new coronavirus variants driving another round of lockdowns.

We’ve spent the past few months working to identify the most important global shifts, looking at queries, concerns and areas of engagement for WARC clients. We’ve layered on a significant amount of desk research, fielded a proprietary survey of 1,500+ marketing and advertising executives and conducted lengthy interviews with more than two dozen marketing leaders at some of the biggest brands worldwide. And then we’ve utilised all the subject matter expertise that we have in-house at WARC, with analysis from our team around the world, to create this report. 

Uncertainty brings opportunity

One of the most important findings from our survey was that industry optimism is high worldwide, with approximately three out of four respondents expecting improvements to their business in 2022. 

That’s an important finding, because even though there are significant adjustments that need to be made urgently for 2022, these disruptions are also pockets of opportunity. Savvy marketers can benefit from identifying, adapting and targeting these opportunities – and the Marketer’s Toolkit 2022 can help. 

The full series is available to WARC subscribers. A complimentary copy of the Global Report, including full trend analysis, CMO commentary, case studies and proprietary survey data, is available to read here.