21 Digital Business Trends for 2022

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Digital business trends hero graphic showing a loading bar with 2021 on the left side and 2022 on the right.

In this post, we explore digital business trends in strategy, design, technology, and marketing that could impact purpose-driven organizations over the coming year and beyond. 

Machine learning, data privacy, ADA-related digital lawsuits, increasingly sophisticated website hacks, misinformation, etc.—the list of issues that could impact your organization this coming year and beyond is extensive. 

Plus, digital trends change constantly. Many opportunities lie in adopting or evolving new business practices, learning new tools, and keeping team skills up-to-date.

Our team looked into new products, technologies, legislation, and evolving practices to better understand trends that could impact our work with clients this coming year. There were a lot of them! We handpicked 21 rising and relevant topics.

We broke these digital business trends down to match the four categories of Mightybytes’ digital agency services:

  1. Strategy
  2. UX Design
  3. Technology
  4. Digital Marketing

Click any of the four links above for a deeper look into digital business trends related to that individual category. Otherwise, let’s dig in. 

Digital Business Trends: Strategy

As a Certified B Corp, Mightybytes regularly reviews good business and marketing strategies for purpose-driven organizations. The best strategies are those that incorporate a forward-thinking approach to technology while also folding socially- and environmentally-responsible practices into everything an organization does.

Here are several digital business trends that could impact your organizational strategy in the year ahead.

1. Data Sustainability

There’s a growing recognition of the impact of humans’ digital footprint on the environment.

— Wunderman Thompson Intelligence, The Future 100

With the pandemic, more and more organizations put digital transformation at the heart of their long-term strategies. Along with this came a greater understanding that the digital products and services we use can adversely impact on people and the planet. 

In their 2021 Future 100 report, Wunderman Thompson ranked data sustainability as the #13 trend to watch. Since its release in January 2021, more and more organizations have pledged to reduce the environmental impact of their digital footprints

As longtime advocates for more ethical, responsible, and sustainable digital products and services, we’re thrilled to see this topic gain broader awareness. 

Further reading: How to Design a Sustainable Data Strategy

graphic illustration of product management icons for strategy, user experience (UX) design, technology, and optimization.
ID: Good digital product management is equal parts (l to r) strategy, UX design, technology, and optimization.

2. Product vs. Project Management

Outputs are easily quantified things that we produce—number of products or features, number of releases, or velocity of development teams. Outcomes are the things that result when we finally deliver those features and the customer problems are solved. True value is realized in these outcomes, both for the business and for the user or customer.

— Melissa Perri, Escaping the Build Trap

More purpose-driven organizations, especially nonprofits, are finding value in transitioning from a project mindset to a product mindset when it comes to their digital strategy. In the long run, this saves them time, money, and helps them better and more quickly meet stakeholder needs without wasting resources building features people don’t want or use. 

For example, rather than issuing an RFP to redesign your website or digital product every few years, change is incremental and ongoing. Plus, effective product management helps organizations quickly and more efficiently address stakeholder issues as they arise. This has been especially critical during a pandemic.

Grounded in lean/agile practices, good product management requires an organization to deliver value in small increments over time based on continuous testing and learning. Common product management activities include A/B testing, user interviews, quantitative user research, conversion rate optimization, and others.

For many organizations, especially smaller nonprofits, this is a wholly different way to think about their digital products and services. However, the benefits of taking this approach are significant. 

Further reading: Product Management and the Build Trap

Side-by-side Venn Diagrams showing desirability, feasibility, and viability (left) with the addition of responsibility and sustainability on the right.
ID: Side-by-side Venn Diagrams: It is time to evolve Design Thinking’s criteria of desirability, feasibility, and viability (left) to also include responsibility and sustainability (right). [Image: Sebastian Mueller, link below]

3. Stakeholder Mapping

Customer centricity, sadly, is a problem rather than a solution. We know enough today, this far into the 21st century, to understand that we are facing systemic problems as a global community, the likes of which the world has never seen before. Looking at all these problems, we need our best and brightest minds to work on equitable, inclusive, sustainable futures and bring them into existence within a rather short time span.

— Sebastian Mueller, Stop Being Customer Centric.

From racist and gender-biased AI algorithms to “surveillance capitalism”, the environmental impact of cryptocurrency mining, and the rampant rise of online misinformation and hate speech—the adverse impacts of digital products and services on people and the planet are increasing. 

Digital product design generally focuses on target customers or users. However, compelling cases can be made for product teams to incorporate broader stakeholder-focused exercises into their processes. This could potentially help organizations create more equitable, responsible, and sustainable digital products, services, and programs.

Don’t know who your stakeholders are? Stakeholder mapping can help you identify the components of your business ecosystem and learn what their needs might be. 

Further Reading: Sebastian Mueller, Stop Being Customer Centric.

Graphic illustration showing seven principles of Corporate Digital Responsibility (CDR).
ID: The seven core principles of Corporate Digital Responsibility (CDR): 1) Purpose & Trust, 2) Fair & Equitable Access for All, 3) Promote Societal Well-Being, 4) Consider Economic & Societal Impact, 5) Accelerate Progress with Impact Economy, 6) Create a Sustainable Planet to Live, and 7) Reduce Tech Impact on Climate & Environment.

4. Digital Responsibility

Corporate Digital Responsibility (CDR) is a set of practices and behaviors that help an organization use data and digital technologies in ways that are perceived as socially, economically, and environmentally responsible.

— The CDR Manifesto

Digital is no longer just the design or IT department’s responsibility. Digital products, services, and practices touch every department within an organization. For most forward-thinking organizations, it’s just how business is done. 

The rapid growth of digital transformation—and the adverse consequences that can arise from it—require responsible, digital-specific governance practices. Think Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), but specific to digital business. 

Corporate Digital Responsibility, which includes economic, social, and environmental practices, can help organizations measurably improve the way they use and deploy digital technologies and the practices associated with them. As organizations expand their digital business practices, CDR will transition from emergent to must-have. 

Further reading: Seven Core CDR Principles

ID: The Impact Business Model Canvas can help you design an organization that generates shared value among key stakeholder groups.

5. Impact Business Models (IBM)

Many for-profit companies earmark a portion of their profits each year for specific causes or individual nonprofits. While there’s certainly value in traditional corporate philanthropy, its siloed approach can be challenging. 

Adopting an Impact Business Model (IBM) can help organizations operate more ethically and responsibly while also maintaining a profitable business model. B Lab, the nonprofit that certifies B Corps, weighs IBMs heavily in the B Impact Assessment. 

With an IBM, an organization’s ability to create impact is inextricably linked with its ability to generate profit. IBMs are not grounded in philanthropic “give back” programs. Instead, the business model itself drives both impact and profit. 

Good IBM examples include:

  • Fellow B Corp Greyston Bakery’s Open Hiring Model
  • Chicago’s own Bright Endeavors, which provides stable, living-wage employment and training for young moms ages 18-24 to fuel the organization’s candle business

While IBMs aren’t specific to digital business, technology can help you implement one. At Mightybytes, for example, we incorporate green hosting, digital accessibility, and sustainable web design into our digital agency services to achieve a successful IBM.

Most nonprofits already have purpose-driven financial models. However, they can learn from the IBM approach as well. Relying solely on philanthropic funding can be unpredictable at best. Crafting programs that create impact while also providing stable sources of income can help any organization thrive.

Related content: Our Corporate Philanthropy Practices

Digital Business Trends: UX Design

Here are several UX design trends that could impact your organization’s products, services, or programs.

Graphic showing an increase in accessibility lawsuits from 2018 (2314 lawsuits) to 2021 (4055 lawsuits).
ID: Image showing a graph in front of a building that depicts the rise in digital accessibility lawsuits from 2018 (2314 lawsuits) to 2021 (4055 lawsuits).  [Image: UsableNet]

6. Accessibility & Inclusive Design

In general, people with disabilities tend to boycott organizations whose websites don’t meet their needs. This is a lost opportunity for most businesses. If one online retailer has an accessible website while another doesn’t, guess who the disability community is going to support?

— Charles Petroff, Access Living, Improve Your Company’s Inclusion Practices by Doing This

In their 2021 year-end report on ADA Digital Accessibility Lawsuits for websites, mobile, and video, UsableNet reported that the number of annual accessibility-related lawsuits against organizations for their digital products and services crested above 4,000 for the first time ever:

  • Many organizations received more than one lawsuit.
  • Organizations that sell anything online comprise 74% of these lawsuits.
  • Many of these lawsuits list widgets and overlay features as barriers to equal access.

Up to one billion people worldwide identify as having some type of physical or cognitive disability. For some, lack of access to information, products, or services could be life-threatening.

Similarly, truly inclusive design must be grounded in diversity. In addition to ability, design processes must also consider race, sociocultural background, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, language, and many other factors. 

With a 15% rise in digital accessibility lawsuits plus new content accessibility guidelines on the horizon, it is safe to say that digital accessibility and inclusive design should be priorities for any organization in 2022.

Further reading: What’s Next in Web Content Accessibility?

7. Mobile First (Again)

83% of people say a ‘seamless experience across all devices’ is very important.

Intechnics blog

We’ve been writing about mobile first and responsive design for a long time now. The range of devices and screen sizes designers need to create content for expands every year. This adds complexity to the design process as product teams strive to provide useful experiences. 

More importantly:

  • As noted above, lack of access to information can potentially be life-threatening. 
  • Plus, more than half of annual website traffic comes from mobile devices/tablets. 
  • Also, Google prioritizes mobile-optimized content in search results. 
  • 70% of customers abandon purchases because of bad user experience. This costs retailers alone more than $2B in lost sales.

So, why are there still so many crappy mobile experiences on the internet? Budgets, timelines, inexperienced teams, organizational priorities—all play roles in how people’s needs are prioritized in the design process.

The reasons to rank mobile high in your design process are compelling and multifold. If you’re planning a website or product redesign in 2022, be sure to consider mobile alongside accessibility, sustainability, responsibility, etc.

Further reading: Mobile First Design and Sustainability  

Graphic of Venn Diagram showing the overlap of SEO and UX in Google's Core Web Vitals
ID: Google’s Core Web Vitals, part of a 2021 algorithm update, puts user experience (UX) at the heart of SEO.

8. Core Web Vitals

The launch of Google’s Core Web Vitals in 2021 inextricably linked SEO and user experience (UX). Bad design choices that impede user experience now adversely impact search engine results on pages that employ them. 

Organizations that prioritize SEO as part of their ongoing digital marketing efforts will need to ensure that choices like popup windows and embedded advertising don’t get in the way of providing a great experience for users. Users want fast-loading experiences that help them answer questions or accomplish tasks quickly. Be sure digital products and services provide this or accept the fact that your search performance may suffer. 

Further Reading: Understanding Google’s Core Web Vitals

Sustainable Web Design homepage
ID: The homepage for Sustainable Web Design, a low-carbon website collaboration between Mightybytes and fellow B Corp, London’s Wholegrain Digital.

9. Sustainable Web Design

Moving to digital products may seem like a better, greener way to consume media—requiring less paper and transportation—but our digital technology use is now responsible for about 4% of global CO2 emissions and growing: As more people around the world move to digital forms of communication, with video projected to represent 80% of online traffic, that environmental impact will continue to grow.

— Christopher Marquis, Do You Know Your Virtual Environmental Footprint?

To account for the internet’s massive environmental impact, we need new strategy, design, and build processes with environmental conservation and performance-based web and usability standards at their core. Enter sustainable web design. 

Sustainable web design is characterized by a few key components:

These practices can help people measurably reduce their virtual environmental footprints while also improving user experience and performance. UI design trends such as “dark mode” and a continued focus on mobile/responsive design (see #7 above) also fall into this category.

Mightybytes has advocated for these practices since the early 2010s. We created Ecograder in 2013 to help people better understand their digital environmental footprints. Our 2016 book, Designing for Sustainability: A Guide to Building Greener Digital Products & Services was first-to-market on this topic. 

More recently, Tom Greenwood’s excellent book, Sustainable Web Design was released at the beginning of 2021. To coincide with its release, we collaborated with Tom’s team at Wholegrain Digital on the Sustainable Web Design website, increasing the online resources web designers and digital product teams have at their disposal to adopt these practices.

Related reading: Sustainable Web Design or The Sustainable Ecommerce Handbook

Digital Business Trends: Technology

Here are several technology trends worth considering as you explore new digital products, services, or practices within your organization. 

10. Interoperability

There’s a burgeoning, global understanding that the internet doesn’t have to be five giant websites, each filled with text from the other four…By changing the law to make it easier for users to walk away from Big Tech silos, we change what kind of technology can be built, what kinds of businesses can be operated, and what kind of lives digital users can make.

— Cory Doctorow, author of How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism

You can’t leave Facebook but still talk to your Facebook friends. You can’t switch from iPhone to Android and expect your apps to work. You also can’t port your iTunes library to Spotify or Kindle titles to other e-readers. This is all by design. 

However, what if you could? What if you had the ability to port your personal data, apps, or media from platform to platform? There is a growing call for interoperability between platforms, for new services to plug into or piggyback on existing ones. Interoperability based on open standards empowers people to innovate, to collaborate, and to fulfill their own self-determination. 

Frustrated by existing tech platform policies yet don’t feel you can leave? Emerging legislation that promotes interoperability could let you migrate to alternate platforms that actually care about their users. These might even be run by nonprofits or cooperatives versus public companies required by law to maximize short-term shareholder value (which can lead to big problems). 

Further reading: The Future is in Interoperability Not Big Tech

graphic security icon
ID: Cybersecurity badge graphic. Billions of online accounts have already been hacked. It is beyond time to take cybersecurity seriously.

11. Cybersecurity (Again)

No one could have predicted the sheer chaos the cybersecurity industry would experience over the course of 2021. Record-annihilating numbers of ransomware attacks, SolarWinds’ supply-chain havoc and most recently, the discovery of Log4j by…Minecraft gamers. All of it would have sounded too wild for real life a short year ago. Yet here we are.

— Becky Bracken, 5 Cybersecurity Trends to Watch in 2022

Every year, ransomware, phishing scams, website hacks, and other cybersecurity risks pose increasing threats to us all. Plus, as government agencies and larger companies shore up security measures to address these threats, small to midsize businesses (SMBs) and nonprofits—most of which are ill-prepared for these sorts of attacks—become new targets.

What’s more, hackers produce increasingly sophisticated threats to breach the security measures of most organizations. A recent study by Stony Brook University and Palo Alto University discovered at least 1,200 “phishing toolkits” distributed online to aid in cyberattacks, specifically to phish and steal two-factor authentication (2FA) data. While phishing attacks are not new, the fact that they are distributed online for anyone to download means their use increases exponentially. 

You probably don’t need another compelling reason to increase cybersecurity efforts within your organization. These threats are everywhere. However, if you feel your organization is at risk (and it probably is), now might be a good time to take action.

Further reading: Hackers Are Getting Better and Better at Defeating Your 2FA Security

ID: Illustrated description of how “Web 3.0” works with three separate layers for interaction, computation, and information. [Image: Deloitte Insights, link below]

12. The Splinternet

There is no single definition for Web 3.0, the computing era that follows our current, mobile-powered Web 2.0. Many people identify Web 3.0 with the Semantic Web, which centers on the capability of machines to read and interact with content in a manner more akin to humans. Recently, definitions of Web 3.0 have begun to include distributed ledger technologies, such as blockchain, focusing on their ability to authenticate and decentralize information. Theoretically, this could remove the power of platform owners over individual users.

— Deloitte Insights, The Spatial Web and Web 3.0

An ideological battle on the internet’s future is taking place right now. One side is centralized, authoritarian, the other free, open, decentralized. 

We’re already neck-deep in the former. A small number of Big Tech companies control how we use the internet, what information we see, and how new products and services are presented to us. Plus, that just scratches the surface. 

Blockchain and cryptocurrency, which have been around for over a decade now, drive much of the latter. This Web 3.0 vision of a decentralized internet with open, peer-to-peer protocols is grounded in autonomy, new social structures, and dispersed governance. It gives us the opportunity to redesign how we work and reimagine how we solve problems or drive social innovation

However, it is worth noting that Web 3.0 is also known as the Spatial Web, the Semantic Web, the Metaverse, etc. and includes, among other things, artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR, respectively) in addition to blockchain. No single definition has yet encompassed it all.

Regardless of what you call it or which technologies you include under the umbrella of Web 3.0, the ramifications for how we conduct business, collaborate, finance projects, own property, conduct research, etc. will be major. The potential for driving social change is massive.

Further reading: The Web 3.0 Revolution, Discourse Magazine

Graphic illustration showing the process of creating web content for multiple platforms using the Headless WordPress approach
ID: Headless WordPress: A potentially useful process for web teams that need to create lightweight content for multiple platforms, such as wearables, large displays, and mobile devices.

13. Headless WordPress

WordPress’ market share is 43% of all websites.

— Kinsta, WordPress Market Share

Headless WordPress—the process of using WordPress’ API to create lightweight, static sites—can improve performance, cut down on page size, improve security, and dramatically reduce server requests, making for potentially happier users and a smaller digital footprint. We’re all about that. 

With this approach, a website’s content database is decoupled from its display (hence the term “headless”). This provides more flexibility and the ability to scalably distribute your content across multiple channels—like mobile apps, social networks, websites, smart devices, or virtual assistants. To end users, it means faster digital products. Also good. 

With all this said, a headless CMS setup isn’t for everyone. Since your content and its display are now separate, you have to manage multiple systems instead of just one. For organizations that publish a lot of content, this simply might not be viable. Plus, it requires teams with good front-end development skills in languages like JavaScript. Not every organization has those. 

However, if you’re building multiple products with similar content needs and good performance requirements, headless WordPress might be for you.

Further reading: Headless WordPress, Explained for Beginners

Graph showing a significant rise in webpage size over the past ten years.
ID: Graph showing a 345.4% growth in average desktop webpage size over the past ten years. [Image: HTTP Archive]

14. Prioritizing Performance (Again)

Page weight is not only important but arguably the most important factor affecting creators, hosting providers, and consumers…In the past decade, average web page weight has grown a whopping 356 percent, from an average of about 484 kilobytes to 2,205 kilobytes.

— John Teague, HTTP Archive Web Almanac 2021

Most of the internet is slow, clunky, and performs poorly. For those with high-end smartphones and high-speed connections, this might not be something you notice. However, if you live in an area with spotty internet connectivity, use an older device, or have a slow 3G or 4G data plan, this can cause serious problems and even put lives at risk during emergencies. 

Poorly designed digital products and services often don’t consider the needs of all stakeholders (see stakeholder mapping above). Plus, over time, poorly managed digital products and services can accrue what is known as technical debt. Often, this manifests itself in poor performance: mobile apps don’t respond when they need to, pages don’t load or load slowly, and so on.

However, it doesn’t have to be this way. The fixes for poor performance are often simple, like compressing images, minifying code, or removing flashy (and heavy) video backgrounds.

It is critical that we create an internet that works for everyone. Prioritizing performance in our digital products and services is one way to do this. If you’re looking to improve your website, app, or other digital product in 2022, consider improving technical performance and existing functionality before pursuing new features.

Further reading: Technical Debt, Agile, and Sustainability

Digital Business Trends: Marketing

With so many marketing options available today, organizations can get stretched thin or focus their efforts on areas that don’t provide good returns. Here are several trends that could impact your digital marketing efforts this coming year. 

graphic illustration of a lock and several computer screens meant to communicate data privacy

15. Data Privacy (Again)

Societal choices about privacy will influence how political campaigns are run, how corporations earn their keep, the power that governments and private businesses may wield, the advancement of medicine, the pursuit of public health goals, the risks we are exposed to, how we interact with each other, and, not least, whether our rights are respected as we go about our daily lives.

— Carissa Véliz, Lit Hub

The reasons for prioritizing data privacy are compelling. Billions of online accounts have already been compromised by data breaches. Plus, millions of websites all over the internet already collect your personal information every day. In the wrong hands, this information could be used against you. We’re all at risk. So, what is a responsible organization to do?

Emerging legislation makes data privacy a bigger priority in many countries. While the U.S. lags behind Europe in enacting laws that protect people’s data privacy, the writing on the wall is clear: respect data privacy and give users control over their data—including when it is deleted—or face stiff penalties. 

There are a world of things you can do to improve your organization’s data privacy efforts:

  • Add an SSL certificate to your website
  • Update your cookie and privacy policies
  • Create practices for withdrawing consent
  • Make payment gateways Privacy Shield-compliant

These are just a few examples. 

Further reading: Download our Data Privacy Checklist for a more comprehensive list of things you can do.

16. Social Responsibility in Marketing

Although 31% of marketers say social responsibility is ineffective when it comes to campaign engagement or performance, 45% still plan to invest in it throughout the next year. Why? Because with the current state of things, social responsibility, ethics, and transparency matter to the modern consumer.

— Hubspot, The Marketing Trends of 2022

Traditional brands are finally learning what Certified B Corps, nonprofits, and other social enterprises have known for years: prioritizing social and environmental responsibility in marketing can drive community and bring many benefits across an organization’s value chain

Socially responsible marketing saw a big uptick during the pandemic, which laid bare many inequalities in our economic systems and throughout society overall. By highlighting the good they do, companies can improve brand awareness and brand integrity. However, if the stories you tell aren’t matched with clear action, your socially responsible marketing efforts could backfire in catastrophic ways. 

Related reading: 7 Pitfalls to Avoid in Your Sustainability Story 

17. Media Misinformation

Even when the fight is an uphill battle, we must do the hard work of exploring what it takes to tell stories and share information rooted in truth. To build stronger institutions and confident, transparent leaders, we can’t become comfortable dabbling in partial truths. We must tell the whole truth.

— Justin Belleme, A Comprehensive Guide to Ethical Marketing

There are two types of false information on the internet: 

  1. Disinformation is a deliberate circulation of false information intended to deceive the audience. 
  2. Misinformation is based on human error or bias as an inadvertent sharing of inaccurate information without premeditation. 

Both can negatively affect your organization. As social media and other external touch points become harder to control, many companies suffer a decline in trust:

Maintaining (or reclaiming) customer trust should be at the top of an organization’s priorities when it comes to media misinformation. To support this, be prudent about your communication strategy and where content is being placed. Tips to protect your brand include: 

  • All content produced for your brand should be based only on facts.
  • Use Google’s Disavow Tool to discount the value of bad links from external sites.
  • In addition to your social accounts, you should audit the affiliate partners that promote your brand on their own network.
  • The risk of partnering with an affiliate or influencer with a huge following might seem advantageous. However, it might not be worth misrepresenting your brand and you should associate only with credible partners and networks.

Further reading: Amon Fearon, Impact of Fake News on Digital Marketing, LinkedIn

Image showing various Google search results
ID: In addition to ads and standard listings, Knowledge Panels (left) and People Also Searched For (PASF) (right) are just two of many contextual search features Google now uses to display more relevant results.

Search has evolved a lot over the past few years. Contextual search provides users with a more efficient and hopefully more relevant search experience. Knowledge panels and other search components attempt to provide direct answers to search queries versus the traditional list of ads and clickable links. 

Contextual search results use various parameters, including the search terms, geographic location, search history of the computer being used, and user attributes. 

As in traditional SEO research, to determine how search engines use contextual search, start with a search. This should provide some insight into how a search engine attempts to answer a user’s question. Search engines with contextual results use semantic technology, artificial intelligence, and natural language processing to return personalized search results. 

Organizations can take advantage of contextual search by adding structured data to their websites. Structured data has been around for a while. However, many organizations still don’t take advantage of it. 

Search engines use company-specific structured data to determine which results to display. Website content is still written for your specific target audience. However, adding structured data to a post is like adding a separate language that provides information about a page and classifies the content. By using structured data, your content can be read and better understood by search engines. 

The message here is clear: To perform well in search engines, create content that solves target user problems and employ structured data across your site. 

Further reading: Why You Should Use Structured Data

19. Personalization & Automation

Companies that fail to show customers they know them and their buying preferences risk losing business to competitors who are more attuned to what their customers want. And the ranks of those competitors are growing. In a new survey of more than 600 business executives by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, 47% say their organizations are already executing tailored customer communications successfully across all channels.

— Harvard Business Review, The Age of Personalization

Smart Content, aka adaptive or dynamic content, allows companies to tailor messages in emails, ads, and webpages to individuals based on their behavior, and increases engagement with users. Properly implementing a successful personalization program requires a few things:

  • Planning: Your efforts must be properly resourced with the capacity for long-term success.
  • Understanding: You need to clearly understand who you’re trying to reach and why. 
  • Insights: Do you have the right amount of data from those you’re trying to reach? If not, how do you get it? 

Also, companies must be mindful of how data is collected and used in order to maintain trust with customers and comply with data privacy laws.

Marketing automation software is available for a variety of these tasks: email marketing, lead generation, social media posting, ad campaigns, etc. Companies often struggle with audience data collection and data management. Automation software allows marketing departments to work more efficiently, while providing a more personalized experience for customers. 

There are a variety of automation tools available to meet your marketing needs. A consolidated list can be found in Neil Patel’s post, Marketing Automation: What is it, Examples & Tools.

The better the relationship between brand and customer, the more likely people are to share personal information, including email, location, preferences, and so on. This data is paramount to a successful personalized marketing strategy. 

An online survey conducted in 2018 of 1,000 consumers aged 18-64, found 80% of respondents are more likely to do business with a company that offers personalized experiences and 90% find personalization appealing. 

Further reading: A Guide to Personalization Marketing

20. E-A-T Your Content Marketing

Because it lacks a quantifiable metric and cannot be measured, the concept of E-A-T is a perpetual challenge in SEO.

— Search Engine Journal, 10 Content Marketing Trends to Watch in 2022

E-A-T, which has been around since 2014, is one of many guidelines Google recommends content creators use to ensure high-quality standards. It includes three components: 

  • Expertise: Does the content creator know their stuff?
  • Authoritativeness: Are the website, its content, and creator authoritative on the topics they cover?
  • Trustworthiness: Are the content, website, and creator trustworthy sources?

Essentially, this means that articles and other content should be created with a journalistic level of professionalism. Posts should be fact-checked, resources cited, editorial guidelines followed, and ideas presented with clarity to help users better understand topics conveyed. 

However, because E-A-T is a set of content guidelines and not necessarily quantifiable via specific metrics, it might be challenging for digital marketers who focus on the more technical aspects of SEO. 

While E-A-T isn’t new, it continues to remain relevant for content creators in 2022 for a few key reasons:

Related reading: Improve Content Consistency with Editorial Guidelines or How Story Structure Improves Content Marketing

Graphic illustration of a sales and marketing funnel next to a customer flywheel.
ID: The traditional sales and market funnel (left) is linear while the customer-experience focused flywheel (right) is cyclical and offers better ways to attract, engage, and delight customers. [image: Hubspot]

21. Flywheels Over Funnels

Today, customers are skeptical, knowledgeable, and have bigger expectations than ever before. And one of those expectations is that businesses should care about more than transactions. When companies make short-term decisions that sacrifice long-term relationships, compromise their values, and mislead, customers use their influence to share that information quickly and widely.

— Hubspot, How the Flywheel Drives Customer Growth and Delight

When designing sales or marketing strategies, many organizations employ a traditional funnel approach: 

  • Awareness: A potential customer learns about your brand for the first time.
  • Interest: The prospect becomes interested in your organization. 
  • Desire: The prospect becomes a warm lead who is interested in your products or services.
  • Action: They become a customer by taking some sort of action, such as purchasing a product or service. 

Some funnels also include a step for retention. However, the funnel is generally a very incomplete approach to defining customer value. 

First, funnels are linear, meaning there’s an inevitable dead-end. Plus, customer service, customer experience, and customer engagement are left out of the mix, undermining an organization’s chances for repeat business and customer loyalty. This is a significant missed opportunity. 

Enter the flywheel. By creating cyclical processes and removing friction in internal customer service and experience you get happier, more engaged customers. If your customers are also advocates because they have a rewarding experience with your brand, they are more likely to provide word-of-mouth referrals, the most powerful form of marketing. 

Because of this, flywheels can help you identify the biggest chances for growth within your organization. Not sure how to identify those opportunities? Start with a customer journey mapping workshop to identify touch points in the customer experience and where customers might be feeling anything other than delighted.

Further reading: What is a Customer Journey Map? [Free Download]

Design, technology, and marketing change quickly. Each change impacts the business strategies you need for success. What’s a “best practice” today could be outdated tomorrow. 

In this post, we shared 21 different digital business trends that are most relevant to our purpose-driven work with clients, in the B Corp community, and as a digital agency based in Chicago. We also left out dozens more. If you’d like to discuss any of the items in this list, please drop us a line. We’d be happy to start a conversation.

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