What's new in 2022?

Last year I said “Only an idiot would try to predict the future!" Despite my own warnings I went ahead anyway, now I'm taking a look to see what I got right or wrong, and predicting the major trends of ‘22!

"I think I made a fairly good job of predicting last year and for better or worse I’m going to try again this year, but before I waste a moment of your time on my new predictions, how well did I do in 2021?"

Let’s start with what I got wrong.

I said we would party like its 1999! I was right in some ways but not others, almost everyone who likes a drink went to the pub if they could, even if that meant sitting in a windy tent in a car park! So, since Freedom Day, pubs, restaurant and bar takings have been up, but now staff shortages and uncertainty over the rules are causing havoc.

I was completely wrong when I said we would get an extra “NHS” Bank Holiday in August and that street parties would be held up and down the land to celebrate Freedom Day. During 2021, the Pandemic slowly ground on, without the sudden feeling of release.

Overseas holidays didn’t boom as I had predicted, mainly due to travel uncertainty and the ridiculous costs of the testing regime. Random red lists and misinformation kept overseas holiday numbers down. Cue incredibly popular, incredibly expensive, UK holidays.

I predicted mask wearing would become mainstream, there has been a bit of a backlash and some confusing advice, but as I write, we’re back to compulsory wearing in many places!


What did I get right in my predictions for 2021?

Exhibitions and Conferences exploded in the second half of ’21 from a complete standstill, F2F is the new Teams! And each and every one was a hybrid of online and offline content.

Last year I bemoaned the Retail “Crisis at Christmas”, this was less of a prediction, more of a request, I said much more money and time should be spent on retail websites, in particular generally poor user experience. Have the ecommerce retailers used the year to get their shops in order? No and that’s now compounded by lack of stock!

I made some other bold predictions:

  • Procurement systems and processes would improve  
  • Science and technology would grow in public trust  ✓
  • Digital marketers rule the world  ✓

My view of what's new in '22

Despite last years mixed bag of predictions, I’m happy to have another go for 2022, it’s only my opinion, but I think I’ll be about 75.01% right!


Public conversation about Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Is AI good or bad or even potentially evil? I predict two trends in 2022:

  1. There will be a massive increase in the use of AI and Machine Learning systems, AI will be everywhere. Even today the world cannot and will not run without the use of AI. In addition to the digital world, I think that will increasingly mean physical things, where the behaviour of real stuff, from the weather, aircraft and traffic will all be modelled, and in some cases, directed, by AI systems, a trend that will massively expand in ’22.
  2. There will be an increasing public backlash and widespread misunderstanding of AI, fuelled by almost deliberate misinformation and horror stories about mistakes and bias. Opinion, as pedalled by the print media, will be relentlessly negative! Remember “Nanobots” and “Grey goo”? Never happened. Never gonna happen!


Chastened social media?

2022 may be the year of the backlash for the big social media companies, we’ve already had the backlash in politics and targeting of messages by Facebook (Oxford Analytics)? We’re having it now on body image and bullying, and we will get more pushback over competition and the mergers of tech companies. Politically, hammering the Social Media companies will carry very little negative press, expect more legislation and regulation in ’22.

Increased investment in digital

Most companies will have to be digital or will be dead, there will be a significantly higher investment in digital transformation as the old guard invest in digital systems and marketing to keep pace with the disruptors.

Mountains of cash chasing a return

Both consumers and companies have spare cash burning a hole in their collective pockets, expect to see many more sales of UK businesses to overseas buyers, plus multiple mergers and buyouts as those with money look to get a return on their brass, consumers too will spend money on the things they can buy like cars, holidays and homes.

There will be some other, not quite so nice things in ‘22:

  • Inflation - around 5% at its peak (STOP PRESS – this has already happened!).
  • Shortages of people - drivers, waiters, shop staff.
  • Shortages of things - electronic goods, toys, spare parts, food.
  • Covid Mutations - already seen four but there are more on the way And in ’22 we will be getting our 4th Jabs, yes, after April…
What does this all mean for digital marketers?

Four things to have or do in ’22:

  1. Agility: - change, change and change again, react to consumer trends and the public mood.
  2. Pivot: - don’t fall for the “Sunk cost” fallacy.
  3. Test and learn: - take the time to review and reflect on your digital marketing efforts, remember it only has value if you can measure it.
  4. Champion your customer or user: - If you make their digital experience paramount, you won’t go far wrong in your marketing or your career.

There’s plenty more I’m predicting for ’22. I’ve not even mentioned the Metaverse, or the strong possibility we are all living in some sort of virtual simulation, or the continuing changes to other areas of technology that will impact us in the coming years. Too much to include but watch this space…

Let's work together to help shape your 2022.



Managing Director