Trends to Watch in 2022 from ECS’s Functional Experts

We welcome 2022 and all the changes the new year offers.

Our team is often asked to provide advice and recommendations in our ever-changing environment. While we do not have a crystal ball to let you know precisely what tomorrow will bring, we can offer guidance by functional area and provide ideas of actions to consider in the coming months.

Feel free to reach out to any of our team members to find out more about their thinking that is presented below. And be sure to share your thoughts as well – we want to know.

Here’s to a prosperous 2022!

The Human Resources and Recruitment Arena
The way we do business has changed, will stay changed, and will continue to change.  It is time to stop lamenting about how things were and accept that change is here and will continue to happen at an accelerated pace.  You can fight it or you can plan for it and learn how to pivot.
Jason Fisher

In 2022, companies need to connect with their employees and truly understand their motivation and values.  Listen more and be prepared to be more flexible both in how/where work gets done and how that work is rewarded.  A cookie-cutter approach or an attitude of “this is the way we’ve always done it” is no longer an option.
And one more thing: say “thank you” … A LOT … to employees, customers, and clients.
Karen Butz

Entering 2022, hiring will continue to be extremely competitive as workers and candidates are in control. Employers offering flexible locations and schedules will win the best talent in 2022 and beyond. Candidates are considering where, how, and why they work, plus are seeking cultures and brands that align with their interests. To remain relevant and competitive, employers in ’22 will need to keep the lines of communication open with workers and candidates, and be willing to pivot as needed to attract and retain talent.
Laura Schlessinger

The Sales Arena
The manufacturing and industrial world has seen a shift from the Boomer generation to Millennials for some time now, but 2022 is shaping up to be the biggest move yet.  If your company is relying heavily on face-to-face brand recognition and tactics like traditional sales calls and trade shows, you may find yourself losing market share to your competitors.  Today’s younger generation makes decisions much differently than Boomers – and you must have a strategy to help in that process.  An educational approach to content on your website, active social media channels, compelling email campaigns, and video are going to be even more critical this year.
Bill Morrow

The recent pandemic and aftershocks have provided opportunities to expand how we reach our customers. We will continue to see the effects of this swing with more “virtual” approaches this year. However, I do believe that in some industries, regional/local competitors will cause national (and multi-national) company’s pendulum to swing back a bit as sales pressures mount.

So stay nimble, as flexibility will again carry the day!
Dave Posten

The Marketing Arena
I expect webinars to continue to be important components of the marketing mix, especially in light of our current environment. And as people still seek knowledge and information and the plight of in-person events will be hit or miss in the coming months (and perhaps longer). However, in ’22 the value of webinar content must be communicated more clearly and strongly than ever, as there is the onset of webinar fatigue. If you want to attract an audience to a webinar, you will need to be unique and provide very compelling (and hopefully unique) content. Remember to educate, enlighten and inform during webinars; stay away from the hard sell.
Laurel Cavalluzzo

In 2022 I expect the demand for personalized, targeted marketing will grow. With the recent influx of online advertising and more and more businesses turning to digital marketing, it’s easy to get drowned out by the crowd. I believe targeted, tailored, and unique content will cut through the noise.
Kelley Nelson

In 2022, make sure to leverage user-generated content (UGC) as part of your marketing strategy. Sharing consumer photos, videos, and posts that are authentic and not overly produced builds brand trust and inspires loyalty. It’s a scalable, cost-effective opportunity to showcase your brand in unique ways and engage with your target audience on a more personal level.
Erin Dalton

I think there are a couple of converging trends worth keeping an eye on.  First, watch for the continued move towards greater privacy regulations, which impacts many of the data analytics and AI tools we’ve become accustomed to using. Second, look for changes to algorithms around digital advertising and content. And third, observe the desire for people to find meaning again after a difficult couple of years – even when it comes to the advertising and content they consume. I believe all three of these factors are going to change the way we think about the role marketing can, and should, play over the next twelve months.
Michelle Cheney

I think we all recognize that the pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital and social media both across B2C and B2B businesses.  Today, customers expect a seamless experience, no matter where or when they chose to interact with a brand or service.  In 2022, I expect this to continue and expectations to grow. To be successful, businesses will need to put their customer at the center, offer a true omnichannel experience, and create a seamless and frictionless journey.
Penni Barton

In 2022 I expect custom report creation to continue to be an important component in marketing strategy. As budgets continue to tighten, companies more than ever seek tools that efficiently drive sales. The benefits from using automated custom reporting and analysis are vast, but at the bare minimum, those tools are a catalyst to building more successful marketing and sales campaigns and initiatives.
Kim Julian

The Operations Arena

In 2022, the labor issue will continue to plague businesses of every type. The best of companies will learn to adapt and not hold firm on “business as usual”. I know there are creative things that every business can do to level the playing field – and leaders must focus “on” the business and not “in” the business.
Chris DiMascio

The Sales Operations Arena
I have three predictions for Sales Operations in 2022:
(1) With continued uncertainty and market volatility, companies will rely more on data-driven insights to make decisions – making better use of tools that collect and synthesize organizational data including CRM, ERP, marketing automation, and sales enablement. Companies that invest in the right technology and talent will come out on top.
(2) The talent crunch will continue in 2022, and we expect a continued restructuring of sales and operations teams to optimize performance. The role of Sales Development Representatives, Account Executives, and Business Development reps have all evolved considerably given the changing nature of sales, and the old distinctions between inside vs. outside sales continue to quickly erode. Companies will be closely evaluating their talent and rethink what they need to be successful.
(3) Innovation in the business development function will continue. We will see creative approaches to drive lead generation at scale, the deployment of highly personalized and relevant content to build engagement, and new ways to identify and connect with decision-makers. Those who continue to adapt and evolve will be the winners in increasingly competitive markets.
Ajay Joshi

The M&A and Project Management (PMO) Arenas
With the advent of COVID-19 and all of its variants, companies are still struggling to maintain their workforces.  More specifically, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are on the rise and are predicted to increase in number in CY2022, due to the inability of many businesses to stay afloat.

From a PMO perspective, cross-functional training is critical in this landscape.  It allows teams/companies to expand their areas of expertise and bandwidth, without increasing headcount.
Britt Thomas

The Finance Arena
Attracting and retaining the right talent will continue to be top-of-mind for CFOs faced with the challenge of leading company-wide digitization and supporting the ensuing business model changes.  The automation of transaction processing, financial reporting, and control – now accessible to companies of all sizes – has facilitated the change.  Data analysis, business acumen, and risk management are now the highly pursued skills by CFOs across the board.
Ann Doerries