17 big marketing trends for 2022: precision and persuasion collide

Brands supplanting governments, agencies merging with big tech, customers getting experimental – here are the bold predictions for performance marketers’ new year plans…

From the pandemic to privacy upheaval, making long term forecasts has been a fool's errand in recent years. But as the world, and the marketing landscape, realigns, is the path ahead becoming clearer?

Every year, Forrester publishes predictions reports looking at what might come to pass in the year ahead. These intentionally bold calls are designed to push the limits and challenge the market, rather than state obvious trends that are already in the works. 

This year, the consultancy is identifying closer alignment between big tech platforms and agencies, while brands and consumers will embrace an ‘all digital’ society. 

  1. The rise of the CMO in the C-suite

At boardroom level, Forrester predicts that a ‘great resignation’ will exacerbate the already short average CMO tenure while creating new opportunities for modern CMOs – those with data, tech, and financial acumen – to be choosy about their next role. They will favour an elevated span of business responsibilities, rather than being sidelined by an ‘alphabet soup’ of adjacent C-suite marketing titles crowding the boardroom. 

Data from Forrester’s August 2021 CMO Pulse Survey portends a critical 2022 for the B2C CMO, as data strategy and innovation rank as the top two marketing priorities.

CEOs who hire and empower the right CMO will have but one able and accountable marketing leader, who might also become a suitable successor. For example, in Q3 2021, Burger King appointed CMO Ellie Doty as an interim co-president, and Vail Resorts promoted company CMO Kirsten Lynch to the CEO post. 


  1. Agencies will outsource to “Big Tech” partner programs to fill the talent void

In 2022, it is anticipated that the ranks of agencies relying on partner programs will swell by 20 percent, in-line with digital ad revenue growth. 

  1. Intelligence fuelled creativity will shatter the line between “agency” and “consultancy.” 

A new form of creative partner emerges from the collision of precision and persuasion marketing strategies in 2022. The “performance agency” label will disappear as agencies pair creative skill sets with media/data expertise, allowing CMOs to pursue intelligent creativity and produce multidimensional creative experiences that connect emotional, functional and transactional marketing messages. 

  1. 10 percent of agencies will crack the code to monetise their creative and media tech

Agencies will monetise the outputs of people working with platforms, forever changing how marketing is created, executed, and paid for. The FTE model will start to shift to the human/technology equivalent model, permitting CMOs and agencies to produce effective, scalable creative outputs from the appropriate combination of employees and technology. 

  1. 4 in 10 in-house agencies will shift from supporting cast to taking the director’s chair

Interest in insourcing shows no signs of slowing, as 44 percent of CMOs intend to expand in-house teams by moving more marketing in-house over the next 12 months. 


  1. Consumers will seek brands that deliver instant happiness and comfort

In 2022, consumers will turn to uplifting, pleasing products and experiences that offer reprieve from the fatigue of on-going uncertainty. For some, this means feel-good products – from at-home spa kits to comfort food – while others will prioritise experiential consumption. 

  1. People will champion brands that act on consensus-building values more than contentious ones

In 2022 consumers will praise companies that lead with values that don’t obviously aggravate social divisions, but rather placate angst, establish a sense of community, and inspire consumers to play an active role in building a better future together. 

  1. Develop new rituals while integrating brands that lure consumers directly through anywhere-commerce

2022 marks a moment of unprecedented experimentation – consumers are more willing to try out unconventional brands, alternative ways to buy, and innovative systems of value (NFTs, for example) than they were at any point in the past 20 years. 

  1. People now see the world as all digital, with no divide

Since the start of COVID-19, more than six in 10 US online adults started making online transactions for the first time, and 44 percent upgraded their in-home technology. Consumers, by now, expect companies to be able to deliver a successful digital customer experience. 


  1. Ten Big Brands will step in where governments fail to act

Forrester’s March 2021 Global Trust Imperative Survey found that consumers in the US, France, India and the UK trust long-established companies and the company that employs them more than their government; they increasingly expect brands to use their platforms to lead change on issues affecting society. 

More online adults in the US, Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK said that they regularly purchase from brands that align with their personal values in 2021 than in 2020; the US saw the largest jump, from 40 percent in 2020 to 48 percent in 2021. Forrester expects this to surpass 50 percent in 2022, spurring brands to take action like never before. 

  1. Four in ten CMOs will bolster their in-house agencies’ remit from execution to creation

Forrester’s August 2021 CMO Pulse Survey shows that 44 percent of US B2C marketing executives plan to move more agency work to their in-house teams in 2022. Driven by cost and process efficiencies, CMOs will lean on their in-house agencies to take on more high-profile assignments as part of the blended partner management model. 

     12. Commerce will catalyse 35 percent of CMOs into CX leaders

In 2022, more CMOs will own or influence e-commerce. Forrester predicts that 35 percent of B2C marketing functions will be responsible for CX — a number that’s slowly risen from 24 percent in 2019 to 26 percent in 2020 to 28 percent in Forrester’s 2021 Global Marketing Survey. 


      13. Insights-driven firms will be three times more likely to outperform their competitors

 Firms that increased use of data insights for decision-making during the pandemic are expected to be three times more likely to beat their competitors’ key financial and customer metrics next year.  

      14. Chief data officers (CDOs) will become the new CIO for the CMO

Year after year, marketers cite data quality and access as their two biggest insight challenges. In 2022, CDOs will step in to help establish an enterprise strategy that governs data and analytics capabilities more holistically, enabling the entire organisation to tap into marketing’s treasure trove of customer insights. 

      15. Design researchers and data scientists will become BFFs in half of Fortune 100’s

 Despite ubiquitous claims of new normals, it is still unclear which new behaviors will settle and what will revert. Companies will seek richer consumer understanding by augmenting quantitative data science with qualitative research methods like ethnography. 

     16. Twenty percent of enterprises will rely on explainable AI for transformational insights

 While most organisations are adopting AI, many still struggle to get the full value from their investments due to the opacity of some AI techniques. In 2022, 20% of companies will rely on Explainable AI (XAI) transparency as a basis for transformational strategic decision-making. 

     17. The number of brands collecting zero-party data will double

 Data deprecation is limiting the breadth and richness of data that companies can collect across the web, so companies will use web analytics to identify appropriate moments to ask for zero-party data (ZPD) - information that consumers volunteer about their preferences and interests. But brands must deliver clear value to customers in exchange for ZPD.