The A-Z of digital marketing trends

Digital marketing has never been so exciting. Or so daunting. With so many new ways to promote your products and brand, learning your CX, DX and EX can feel like going back to school to learn your ABC. And that’s before you’ve considered AI, AR and VI.

Fear not! Cognition24 is here to help you decipher the latest digital marketing trends in CX. First up, here’s a quick breakdown of the acronyms:-

  • CX – customer experience
  • DX – digital experience
  • EX – employee experience
  • UX – user experience
  • AI – artificial intelligence
  • ML – machine learning
  • AR – augmented reality
  • VI – virtual influencer
  • CD – compact disc (nothing to do with this article at all, but reassuringly familiar, like a comfort blanket, for us older marketeers!)

So now you’ve got your acronyms nailed, let’s look at the current trends.

Taking responsibility of your CX

A recent report by Forrester predicts that 35% of chief marketing officers (CMOs) in B2B companies will be responsible for CX in 2022. This continues the trend for growth from 28% last year, 26% in 2020 and 24% in 2019.

Its all about the EX

The same Forrester report indicates that EX is going to become more important to brand planning. The report predicts that employee experience budgets will grow this year, as many CMOs plan to make EX essential to brand planning, and suggests that CMOs partner with human resources in determining EX strategies.

The reason for this focus on EX is that marketers are in big demand. A LinkedIn report detailed a 63% growth in marketing jobs. With so many opportunities out there, you need to engage and value your staff or they’ll move onto a more fulfilling role elsewhere.

As well as retaining staff, giving them a more involved role will improve your CX and therefore benefit you too. With a skillset including web analytics, link-building and off-page SEO, your staff are a coveted asset. Use them or lose them.

Work in-house

These two trends inevitably lead to an increase in businesses bringing their marketing in-house.

According to Forrester, more than 44% of US B2C marketers will move their work away from agencies to manage in-house instead, with CMOs using their teams for more high-profile work.

Gartner predicts that employees will play a critical role in marketing, particularly the B2B market. The US research firm has found that 64% of companies credit employee advocacy for new business wins and will continue to build on this success.

Using this information, it predicts that by 2023, employee advocacy programs will be part of a whopping 90% of social media marketing strategies.

Good influence

It’s not just our friends and peers we go to for advice when making purchasing decisions now. Increasingly, we’re putting our trust in the opinion of influencers, so they can be valuable assets in your marketing campaigns.

For the uninitiated, influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing involving endorsements and product placement from influencers, people and organisations who have a purported expert level of knowledge or social influence in their field.

Influencers currently have the most impact on consumer purchasing decisions in Germany, Brazil, China and India, according to Gartner’s survey, which is representative of the countries’ online populations. The French however are not so keen, with only 12% of consumers considering influencer’s opinions.


Gartner’s report found that VIs (virtual influencers) are increasingly popular in marketing plans, with almost one-third of influence and celebrity budgets spent on virtual influencers.

A VI is a computer-generated fictional character that can be used for a variety of marketing-related purposes, most frequently for social media marketing, in place of a human influencer. Barbie is a particularly well-known VI, with 1.8 million followers on Instagram, 10 million subscribers on YouTube, almost 300,000 followers on Twitter, and more than 200,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. She uses her power for good too – her Instagram post in support of the Black Lives Matter movement received over 40,000 likes.

Despite the popularity of VIs, think carefully before you use them. Depending on your offer, a VI may not be right for your brand or your audience.

Something to chat(box) about

AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning) technologies are increasingly being used as part of DX (digital experience) strategies.

Virtual events and ecommerce are one area, but they’re also being used in customer service, customer relationship management and learning initiatives. According to a report by Statista, the AI worldwide software market revenue is expected to top $247 billion dollars, and the global AI market revenue is predicted to be $327 billion this year.

Among the ways that AI is being employed by companies is with chatbots for “live” customer service interactions. Unlike the first generation chatbots used on websites since the early 2000s, the new AI chatbots are able to interact with customers in ways that create personalised, human-like discussions. They can also be used to assist live service agents as they interact with customers.

AI and ML are also used for data extraction and analysis, providing deep, contextual, and automated insight into digital experiences. Through the use of AI-enhanced data extraction and analysis, brands are able to more effectively leverage all of their consolidated data.

Natural language processing (NLP) is a component of AI. Put simply, it’s the ability of a computer program to understand human language as it is spoken and written – referred to as natural language. Using NLP, business applications can understand the many different forms of communication a company uses, facilitating real digital transformation.

It’s safe to say that AI is here to stay, and companies should be using it to play larger and greater roles in their DX strategy.

Digital Marketing Tops 2022 Investment Plans

Digital tools are the trend to watch out for in marketing technology investments, with digital commerce, digital experience platforms, marketing analytics and attribution platforms, and customer data platforms leading the way. Customer data platforms are also expected to help deliver improved CX by helping marketers measure the return on their technology investments more accurately.

With so many new, innovative trends in digital marketing, the question is which do you incorporate first. If you’re struggling to decide, you could always try asking Barbie!

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