Why You Should Start Your 2022 Annual Planning Today

The idea of annual planning took a hit in 2020 and 2021 with the onslaught of COVID-19. Most organizations anticipated reopening their offices by fall or late 2021, but with the rise of the Delta variant, those plans now seem unlikely — at least in their initial form.

Nonetheless, the world is opening up more broadly for business amidst the uncertainty. Businesses will have to now deal with this “new normal” in which COVID-19 is a fact of life, but they can begin to strategize their annual planning in ways they couldn’t in early 2020.

Businesses are adept at getting creative and adapting practices, especially after operating on the fly in early 2020.  In fact, businesses should start annual planning sooner rather than later so they can apply the lessons they’ve learned over the volatile last year and a half.

In this article, we’ll highlight a few trends and predictions that you’ll have to account for in 2022. Being aware of them will let you move as fast as you need to in 2022 and thrive in the ever-changing “new normal”. 

Evolving Data Privacy Regulations

State and federal privacy laws are changing rapidly thanks to consumers’ demands to know more about how their data is being used. While these changes are currently haphazard, their direction is clear: consumers in states like California, for example, will be able to see exactly who is using their data.

Pressure from consumers and editorials is leading to irrevocable changes regarding the ways that companies can access consumer information, including the demise of the third-party cookie, once essential to marketing efforts. As a marketer, you’ll have to adapt to this new reality, deprived of the granular information you may have grown used to having easily accessible. 

DIVE DEEP INTO DATA PRIVACY: Download our free Marketers Handbook to Data Privacy Regulations 

Hybrid Strategies Are Part of the “New Normal”

Your workers have not only adapted to remote work over the past year and a half — but they also will now expect it to be a part of their lives in the “new normal” for a mix of safety, job satisfaction, and ease. While there may be benefits to being in the office, others think these are overrated or can be easily adapted to a remote work style. Other workers simply prefer working from home. You will likely have to find a way to accommodate your workers’ diverse needs and offer them a range of options that also work for you and the rest of your team.

The Use of AI to Mine Insights from Data

In place of cookies and technologies that you might have relied on in the past (which are now obsolete thanks to changing data privacy laws, as noted above), artificial intelligence (AI) can provide powerful tools to analyze your data. AI might have seemed exotic a year or two ago, but it is quickly becoming both ubiquitous and accessible.

AI can uncover trends that are invisible to the naked eye. It allows you to quickly build models, interrogate your data, and generate reports. It also allows everyone in your organization to access data that serves their specific needs and answers their unique questions. 

Increased Contextual Advertising

In lieu of tracking consumers with cookies, contextual advertising allows for ads to be aligned with web content. If someone has gone to a page whose substance relates to your business, you can take it they would be naturally interested in your product or service. Machine learning can help play matchmaker between content and ads to connect with consumers.

One challenge exists, however. Following a year plus of intense binging of content and video online, we have all become geniuses at judging media. We expect fun, sophisticated campaigns. Multivariate testing can allow you to see in almost real-time what’s working and what isn’t, so you can keep tailoring your campaign until it’s clicking with your desired audience.

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Increased Emphasis on Consumer Values

The social justice movements spurred by the pandemic are here to stay. Consumers will support brands that align with their values and harshly judge any copy that seems hypocritical, shallow, or tone-deaf. You will need to be aware of consumer beliefs — including an increased emphasis on the environment (driving the so-called green recovery) and racial justice — and your brand will need to show more discernment and empathy. This will need to be backed by substantial action, too, as consumers will demand you follow through on your promises.

Delta-Specific Pivoting

With rising infections in some regions thanks to Delta, but some stability and reliable protocols in other regions, content makers in areas with lower transmission rates will have a competitive edge. Your business should stay on top of the location of makers who can easily and safely create content for you. This could even be of aesthetic advantage for savvy marketers (think of all the increased production in Hawaii and Australia during 2020-2021).

IS YOUR BRAND READY FOR A REBOUND? Explore the changes that have occured in adland throughout the pandemic

Increased Use of External Partners

In-house and agency teams may still be understaffed following layoffs in 2020 and 2021. Your business will be better able to cope with the uncertainty of 2022 by leaning on external creative partners like QuickFrame so your content can scale at the rate you want your brand to grow

This can be especially helpful for shifting media budgets, as external partners can help fill the gaps left by more limited roles amid lingering staff shortages at your company.

Use of Multiple Platforms

Capturing your audience’s attention will be challenging as the world (however haphazardly) opens up again. Suddenly, there will be new competition for consumers’ attention. In a digital landscape saturated with content, you’ll need to run video advertising on multiple platforms with multiple objectives to effectively reach your target audience. These platforms could include various social media sites, streaming services, and the aforementioned contextual ads. Running ads on multiple platforms has the effect of building trust, as well as convincing consumers you are the right choice for them via sheer saturation (with entertaining variation, of course).


2022 Annual Planning: The Takeaway

We still live in very uncertain times. Much like at the end of 2020, an accurate prediction of what the next year holds is very difficult — if not impossible — to make. However, we know now that COVID-19 is not an easily (or rapidly) resolved phenomenon and that the “new normal” is here for some time. Strategizing today is important — in fact, crucial — to putting your business in a stronger position for you to achieve your top-line goals in the coming year.

Learn More: Social Media Video Ad Specs & Placements Guide

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