Three important shifts in consumer behavior to guide your 2022 marketing

Smart marketing strategy is about shifting from transactional selling and interruption to meaningful connection and relationships

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Like many marketers, we’ve been reflecting on – and imagining – what 2022 might look like for our industry. The good news? We’re seeing signs that the future is bright as marketing continues to move from an old world order of transactional selling and interruption to meaningful connection and relationships.

Case in point: Check out these three important shifts in consumer behavior that will impact how the best marketers will meaningfully interact with their audiences, from recently published research in The Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice:

What’s ahead?

The future holds many new opportunities in marketing – the article outlines three new frontiers in consumer behavior that will inevitably impact a marketer’s overall strategy and content strategy. These frontiers include rising consumer focus on:

  • Transactions → relationships. Consumers are not just buyers focused on the point of purchase. Rather, they are increasingly complex users who have heightened expectations when it comes to engaging with brands, pre- and post-purchase. These audiences are increasingly relying on brands for community, empathy and useful information – not simply transaction.
  • Mindless media → mindful consumption. Audiences will be pickier about what they choose to consume in both physical and digital worlds. With the rise of the attention economy, audiences feel overwhelmed, time constrained and simply unable to devote time to every marketer who wants to reach them.
  • Proclaiming → earning. Communicating product value is just one part of the marketing equation. Marketers should look to extend the value of their brands beyond the products they sell through service (creating relevant, expert content, building communities of like-minded people, and providing unique experiences for audiences, to name a few).

Why should I care? 

If marketers and organizations fail to make inroads into these emerging frontiers, they risk their brand becoming irrelevant in the eyes of their audiences.

What should I do now? 

  • Continuously collect and analyze data to curate the best user experience. Consider using collected data to inform your brand’s content efforts. To gain a holistic understanding of your audience, focus on gathering both qualitative data from your analytics platforms and qualitative data from exercises such as surveys and social listening. After all, you can’t have an optimal user experience if you’re not learning about your target audience.
  • Strategically expand your content offerings. Your audience will appreciate this and your organization might even generate leads as a result. Just remember that while free offerings need to serve your audience, free offerings must also support your conversion funnel. Consider recycling or upscaling your brand’s existing free and gated content. Brainstorm new ways to repackage old content formats or explore new ways to offer free content experiences to your audiences, such as online events, webinars, or original research studies.
  • Stop creating content for content’s sake. Don’t waste your or your audience’s time by creating purposeless content. With audiences becoming pickier about what they choose to interact with online, consider why they’d want to interact with your brand or your content to begin with. Be thoughtful in your content creation, ensuring you provide value to specific audience segments.


TL;DR: There’s no stopping what’s ahead —audiences will demand to be served above and beyond the transaction and will be even more discerning about the content they consume. As an organization, you can prepare by implementing an agile content development and distribution process and being even more audience-specific with content creation by studying what keeps them up at night, what they need to do that day, and what they aspire to be someday.


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