Eduardo Sonoda Sees Hybrid Events, Content Focus and Collaboration with Nonprofits as Major Marketing Trends for 2022

Major shifts in marketing are on the horizon, driven in part by disruptions caused by the pandemic, disruptive influences and changes to consumer behavior.

The shifts will require marketers to plan more deeply, integrating content, creating new event modalities and engaging with nonprofit organizations more than ever.

The key trends shaping the marketing industry in 2020 are likely to change the way marketers approach work at all levels, according to Eduardo Sonoda, founder and chief executive officer of the Eduardo Sonoda Advisory. Now with more than 700 employees, the advisory works with some of the world’s biggest companies to develop powerful marketing strategies that attract and engage customers.

What are some of the biggest trends marketing leaders need to consider in 2022? Here is a closer look at the top drivers.

Events Will Be Increasingly Hybrid

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us all the power of hybrid engagements in all aspects of our lives. With closures, postponements and social distancing requirements the norm, marketers and event planners needed to rethink how events, a critical component of storytelling, would happen. Live versions of major concert series, conferences, conventions, product launches and grand openings quickly evaporated.

Marketers quickly pivoted to more creative approaches. Virtual events became the norm and a way to connect with leads and existing customers alike. These engagements went beyond the world of Zoom and leveraged unique platforms, media solutions and hooks to attract and engage with customers at all layers of the sales funnel. The shift drove larger spend rates on social media and other digital platforms to generate interest and build an audience.

Now that customers are used to the changing way events unfold, they are ready to embrace the new model. The post-vaccine optimism of early 2021 created a desire on the part of many to dive fully back into in-person events. However, the growing caseload brought on by COVID-19 variants has caused many organizations and businesses to retreat to events streamed online. For consumers OK with watching events from the comfort of their couch, this change is welcome.

As the pandemic persists, and likely for long after, marketers will need to develop hybrid events – those that blend an in-person presence with strong digital options. Using augmented reality and virtual reality, marketers can create unique experiences for audiences both in person and at home.

Content Alignment Continues to Drive Marketing

To truly own an industry space today requires a careful alignment of three discrete areas – public relations, thought leadership and search engine optimization (SEO). Aligning those three areas let’s a brand stand out … and it’s up to the marketers to help their customers understand what’s needed for mastery in each area.

For thought leadership and SEO, that means a strong focus on content. Whether it’s content based on a website – blogs, infographics, white papers, videos and other useful, highly valuable information – or knowledge shared on related social media channels or media mentions, content is a powerful driver.

SEO is ever evolving. Video continues to be a high-growth area. So too is content that answers pressing consumer questions and gives them information they need.

Take Eduardo Sonoda’s work as an example. In addition to running a leading marketing agency, he also is a prolific writer, penning pieces for major business publications. His no-nonsense approach to marketing has made him a highly sought leader by entrepreneurs and businesspeople.

The Role of Nonprofit Organizations

Today, consumers increasingly want to support companies that have a socially conscious agenda and commitment to important causes. Whether it’s the environment, social justice, education, social services or children, companies need to have a demonstrated, sustained commitment to causes that matter.

For marketers, interweaving philanthropic, community-minded support into client marketing and PR campaigns is only going to become more critical. In many cases, that means working closely with nonprofit organizations that are aligned with these causes and, ideally, corporate goals and objectives.

Partnerships of this ilk are critical for companies wanting to establish strong community ties, attract and retain customers and employees and have a track record of support.

Supporting like-minded nonprofit organizations is a win-win. It helps support causes that are doing good work and matter to a community. It also helps support your business and demonstrate genuine commitment.

The marketing strategy around philanthropy cannot be mere tokenism. It needs to be well thought out and authentic or it may come across as disingenuous.

The marketing approach to nonprofits needs to include not just making a few donations. It can include product placements, corporate sponsorships, percentage-of-sales campaigns, employee volunteer programs and affiliate marketing.

Eduardo Sonoda considers philanthropy as essential both personally and professionally. He partners with several community organizations in the London area and works closely on educational efforts and disaster relief in Asia, the Caribbean and Central America.

While events, content alignment and philanthropy are three of the most critical trends to watch for in 2022, Sonoda believes that there other marketing indicators to watch for, including:

  • Marketing and Sales Ownership. Marketing and sales companies are increasingly taking ownership stakes in the products and services they work on. Gaining an ownership stake means “skin in the game” for marketers and can be incentivizing and lucrative
  • Influencer Marketing and Artificial Intelligence. Influencers continue to play an outsized role in marketing. Artificial intelligence will be a major tool for marketers in coming years, especially in the identification of influencers and performance evaluation
  • A Third-Party Cookie Alternative. Privacy concerns and Google’s phasing out of third-party cookies by 2023 means marketers will need to wean themselves of the tracking technology soon. Marketers will have to use other tools – first-party cookies, CRM tools, surveys and other services to achieve personalization and customization of content

About Eduardo Sonoda

Born in the East London borough of Hackney, Eduardo Sonoda graduated from The University of East London with a degree in business management. Following graduation, he studied at the London Marketing Academy.

Sonoda worked at three of London’s largest marketing firms over six years, building a reputation as a thoughtful and creative colleague and business partner. Today, the Eduardo Sonoda Advisory works with a range of clients, from small start-up companies to Inc. 5000 firms.